Maurice Jones-Drew grew up mowing John Madden's lawn. These days, it's John Madden giving MJD a call to congratulate him, not for his mastery of the hedge clippers, but for his mastery of his video game as MJD crushed the competition on his way to winning the biggest pro athlete video game tournament in the world, Madden Bowl XVI.
"Back in the day, I used to cut his grass for real," said Jones-Drew after receiving his first place trophy and gold-colored Xbox 360 for beating all comers at Madden NFL 10. "So it was destiny that I win this tournament tonight. You can't fight fate."
And by watching MJD devastate every opponent from Chris Johnson to Santonio Holmes to Patrick Willis using the polygonal Jets, I also learned that you can't fight Gang Green … at least virtually.
"I like the Jets gameplan, the way they play defense, they run the ball well, and the offensive line is amazing," said Jones-Drew as he broke down his screen-heavy gameplan. "I like to use everyone on the field, I like to show everyone love. Tony Richardson is a great fullback, Mark Sanchez played exceptional, and Darrelle Revis locked down all receivers."
But in the end, it really came back to Richardson as MJD utilized the fullback dive and fullback screen to perfection, then when the defense played in to protect against the short plays, MJD made them pay with touchdown strikes downfield to a guy who is not even on the Jets anymore, receiver Chansi Stuckey.
"It's all about putting players in positions to make plays," Jones-Drew told me with a laugh, sounding more like an announcer than a guy who just won a video game tournament.
"I'm a guru at this game," he continued. "It doesn't matter who I face, they're losing straight up."
For more on MJD and his gaming habits, check out this extensive interview where we even reveal MJD's Xbox 360 gamertag.