Ok, I'm on a rant now. I coach a youth football team, ages 12-14. I've been doing it for a number of years now and enjoy teaching young men to play the sport I love. I've noticed a growing problem with the youth of this nation and in discussing it with my fellow coaches I found that its not just me that have observed this problem. Madden football is ruining the youth.
Yeah maybe I'm picking on Madden because he's the biggest thing out there in the football gaming world but here is the problem. First when I was growing up my friends and I would play football by actually going out in the street or park, or lot whatever and playing with a football. Today kids play football in front of a television screen with a joy stick. Whether its great weather or raining the kids don't go outside to play the real thing. They take turns pushing buttons on their keyboard instead of actually running, tackling, throwing the football. They think that it applies to what they can do when they come to practice. Currently I have 18 kids playing for my team. 4 of them cannot run a single lap around the field. worse then that I have 2 12 year old boys that weigh over 200# each. 200# 12 year olds. Other coaches tell me at the high school level there are 300# 14 year old kids that are in danger of having heart attacks then sacking a quarterback.
When I was growing up we had Pong, you can look it up on Wikipedia. Its a tennis game and it held our attention span for about an hour if we were lucky. After that we had to do something. Hell, my parents would lock me out of the house in the summer so I wouldn't dirty up the house my Mom was cleaning. No one plays outside and when they do they play the game like they see it on the Xbox or Ninetendo. So many kids that have some great speed and talant for running the ball continue to try and spin like they see Barry Sanders do. For them they know that if they hit the spin button enough they can avoid tacklers. This doesn't work in real life unless you are Barry Sanders or the reincarnation of the same. Over and over we try and teach would be running backs that they have to run up field, and over and over again they stop running and try and dodge/spin their way from being tackled. Usually there are 2-3 tacklers converging on the runner and the spinning only allows the runner to expose his back for the tackler to hit. After that crushing the runner no longers wants to play football or run the ball.
So you can see my frustration is not really with John Madden himself. I actually enjoy listening to his ramblings in comentary but I wonder if he realizes that the game he loves so much has really been damaged by the game he shills for. I don't know where the next Emmett Smith is going to come from but I bet it will be from a rural farm where there is no such thing as video games.