You know that friend who thinks because he's good at Madden, he'd make a good quarterback? He might not be a stupid as you thought. One of the teams in the BCS Championship tonight actually uses a specially designed video game in order to train its quarterbacks to read defenses.
The Associated Press reports that part of the LSU quarterbacks' training regimen is playing PlayAction Simulator, a game developed by sports technology firm XOS Technologies with help from EA Sports. The game looks and plays like a stripped-down version of EA's popular Madden games. The quarterbacks practice running various plays from the team's playbook, and in doing so learn to anticipate defenses and make split-second decisions. The game can also be tuned to a quarterback's specific experience level.
"You can make it faster and harder for my experienced guys; more experienced people running the offense and more experienced guys who know how to play the games," said LSU offensive coordinator Gary Crowton.
Tennessee and LSU used the game to train its quarterbacks this season and gave positive reviews. "It definitely helps you make the right reads and get to the right spot," second-string LSU quarterback Ryan Perrilloux said. It's expected that other Division I football programs will incorporate the game into their own training regimens in the coming years.
I'm sure most coaches will find their quarterbacks willing to give the simulator a shot. Madden and NCAA Football are hugely popular among college students. Those games have a lot of loyal fans at the pro level as well. Every year EA Sports hosts the Madden Bowl, a single elimination Madden tournament for NFL players. "They might have fun with the simulator but it actually make them better at football?" you might ask. It's obviously not going to help these quarterbacks with the physical aspect of the game at all but it probably helps them absorb their playbook faster.
I'm curious to see how extensively this video game ends up being used, and if it catches on in the pros. I like the idea of a simulator being put in the hands of people who have extensive, real life experience with the simulated activity. Maybe the work EA Sports and XOS puts into making PlayAction more realistic and more suitable for the needs of these football teams will give them some new ideas for refining Madden and NCAA Football in the future.