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200 Miles From the Citi


November 17, 2009 7:00 AM

LIFE IMITATES MADDEN

Madden.JPGWatching the NFL action on Sunday, or the highlights thereof, I was reminded of something.

I couldn't quite put my finger on it right away, and then it hit me....like an open-field power stick hit.

Week 10 of the NFL season played out like a page from a Madden video game.


*First, the Patriots going for it on fourth down deep in their own territory - it was like I was playing my brother twenty years ago.  He never punted.  Ever.  And this one instance is the first and last time I will ever compare my brother to Bill Belichick.  They are nothing alike.  For starters, my brother has a soul.  (I so want to tear apart Belichick for going for it in that situation.  I want to write something that rips him apart.  That was my first reaction anyway.  The more I think about it I can't blame him - 9 times out of 10 [actually a friend came to me on Monday and said the stat is 76% of the time since 2001 the Patriots have gotten first downs in similar situations, or something like that ] he converts that play and wins the game.  And if Faulk doesn't bobble the ball, Belichick is a genius right now for not giving Manning back the ball at all.  So as much as I can't stand him, I can't write anything bad about that decision.  I do love how Patriots Nation is tearing apart the guy who led the team to three championships, though.)

*Second, staying with my brother's unorthodox style of play - when he did line up for a punt in Madden, it was inevitably a fake.  Let's put it this way - if my brother actually punted the ball, that was the gadget play.  So the Redskins-Broncos highlight I saw was another Madden flashback for me,  And that wasn't your-run-of-the-mill fake punt - how about a 4th and 20 across-the-field pass kind of fake punt?  Love it when it works.

*The third instance happened in my very own Jets game, and it brought to mind more recent events against friends (I don't think my brother ever pulled this stunt)....and I admit I may have tried this against the computer more than once.  At the end of the Jets game, with the Jaguars in position to run out the clock and win the game with a field goal, the Jets pulled up on Maurice Jones-Drew's last run of the game, letting him score so they would get the ball back.  Except Jones-Drew slid to a stop at the one yard line.  It was a game-saving move - who knows if the Jets would have scored, but Jones-Drew's move kept the Jets from even getting a shot.  And immediately when I saw it I thought, "Maurice Jones-Drew learned that move playing Madden."

Every so often I'm brought back to my video game days with a surprising play on an NFL Sunday.  Rarely does it happen that there are three such games on the same day.

And these memories that were brought to mind were much more pleasant than the video game strategy employed by my friend Steven growing up.  On the (somewhat rare) occasions where I was actually beating Steven late in a game, he would "slip", fall forward, and hit the 'reset' button. 

I would have liked to have seen Rex Ryan pull that one at the end of a few of the Jets' recent losses.

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