In Saturday’s NFL pre-season game against the Cleveland Browns, St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, Cherokee, tore his ACL for a second time and will miss the entire 2014 season.
But for Madden fans, Bradford is still in the game.
When Madden 15 is released on Tuesday, it will feature Bradford, who is rated in the top 10 of NFL quarterbacks for short-throw accuracy. “He’s currently sitting at an 85 overall rating with 88 throw power,” EA Sports Ratings Czar, Donny Moore told ICTMN. “His short-throw accuracy is one of the best in Madden 15 at 92, which is tied for sixth with Aaron Rodgers.”
Madden 15 is expected to be the most well-rounded Madden to date. Visually, the game is better than ever with more accurate player faces. The game uses plenty of close-up camera angles as part of a more TV-like presentation. And this year's NFL video game will dazzle gamers with stunning new looks, impressive depth and more consistent action on the field.
Bradford, who is 1/16th Cherokee and listed as an official citizen on the Cherokee Nation tribe's rolls, has a unique story. He is the first person of identified Cherokee descent to start at quarterback for an NCAA Division I university since Sonny Sixkiller, a full-blood Cherokee, who played for the University of Washington during the 1970–1972 seasons. Bradford also holds the distinction of being the first Native American to win the Heisman Trophy.
He has been the starting quarterback for the St. Louis Rams since being drafted first overall out of the University of Oklahoma in 2010, and was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in his first season.
Now, Bradford is the first Native American player to be in one of the most popular ootball video games ever. “Everybody in the league plays Madden. It’s something we all grew up with,” said game-play designer Clint Oldenburg, who is the only former NFL player on the EA Sports staff.
“I do all the interactive design for offensive and defensive lines. So in terms of the Rams, we don’t currently support team-specific protection schemes. All teams use the same pass protections. The customization really comes in the form of the playbooks: route combinations, run blocking schemes, formations, etc. Basically, if the Rams have done something specific over the last 2-3 years, we reflect that in our playbook. Since Brian Schottenheimer is the offensive coordinator and he’s a West Coast coach, their system is reflected as a West Coast offense with a lot of short, quick passes, which coincide with the strengths of Bradford.”
At one point, Bradford was the only Native featured in Madden. He’s since been joined by Kansas City Chiefs backup quarterback Tyler Bray, Citizen Potawatomi, and Philadelphia Eagles backup quarterback G.J. Kinne, Creek.
“All NFL rookies go into Madden immediately upon being drafted,” Moore said.
“I don’t play Madden, but I think Sam’s a cool role model. I was a big fan of Bradford when I was in high school. I took some visits to Oklahoma and got to meet Sam a few times,” said Cherokee quarterback Nathan Stanley, who led the San Jose SaberCats to the Arena Football League conference championship game. “It’s something that a Native American kid can look up to. It’s cool to say he’s [one of three Indians] in the Madden game, that’s for sure.”
Where Stanley doesn’t spend a lot of time manipulating video football players, Coeur d’Alene tribal member Tucker Louie-McGee is definitely a gamer. The former Lake City (Coeur d’Alene, Idaho) star played quarterback in high school and has now shifted over to slot receiver as a redshirt freshman at Idaho State University.
“I’m more of a NCAA football guy. But every time I play Madden, I usually trade for Sam Bradford because he’s my favorite quarterback and he went to my favorite college,” McGee said. “I think it’s cool to be able to play a guy [in the game] that’s another Native.”