Venice, Ca.— Last month’s Super Bowl XLVI featured two of the NFL’s most prolific teams when the favored New England Patriots clashed against the New York Giants. And for the second time in five years, the under-dog Giants won in the final seconds.
Assuming many players and fans alike would love nothing more than a timely grudge-match, rest assured that such a match did take place…on a Tuesday afternoon…in Venice…on an X-Box.
The developers at ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Content Collection’ were able to pair up Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw and Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski into their own Super Bowl-tastic re-match to see who is the NFL’s best at the video game.
“I gotta say man, I’m pretty good. I’ve never had no one that literally kills me all the time,” said Bradshaw before the rivals squared off. “He [Gronkowski] wants that rematch…get back at me a little bit for taking his super bowl ring…all I gotta do is play my game and I think I’ll be fine.”
Gronkowski was mostly smiles before the match, but still didn’t seem as certain as his Giant opponent. “I’m an alright player… I’m not professional, but I’m above average. I’m pretty confident I can definitely win this game.”
Another cool aspect facing the players at this Super Bowl-video game rematch was that they, along with the press at the event (including myself; I know, lucky right?), were the first to play the ‘downloadable content’ game that was released on Tuesday.
The newest ‘Content Collection’ features new maps that include an eerie battleground in the midst of Central Park, New York City, and an even more perturbing war scenario in which you find yourself surrounded by a downed Air-Force One in the middle of a Los Angeles neighborhood.
Needless to say, the epic game franchise keeps improving exponentially, and everyone has been jumping on board, including athletes.
“The franchise itself has sort of transcended entertainment in a way that’s really remarkable,” said co-developer Michael Condrey at the grudge match event. “Everyone is either playing it or knows someone who is playing it…Chad Ochocinco offered up via tweet, ‘I’ll give my season tickets to someone who can get me an early copy of Call of Duty.’ It’s pretty remarkable.”
Condrey also explained how all of the developers do everything in their power to make ‘Call of Duty: MW3’ as authentic as possible by consulting military personnel.
“We work with active and retired members of the Marine corps, Delta Squad, Navy Seals…they are all super invested and passionate. They play and want to see us get it right. They helped us with script, setup and scenario. There is a real drive for authenticity and so it’s really rewarding when members of the military–who are actively putting their lives in harms way for us–send e-mails and say, ‘we love your game, thank you for having my squad included.’ That’s about as rewarding as anything.”
But who is it more rewarding to when it comes down to Bradshaw vs. Gronkowski?
For 2012, it appears the rewards will continue pile up for Bradshaw and the Giants. The running back–who scored the winning touchdown in February’s Super Bowl– defeated ‘Gronk,’ 3-2 in a best of five head-to-head match.
Still, both players acknowledge that the experience of playing in the Super Bowl is without a question the best thing that’s ever happened to them.
“[It’s] number one. I think the first one was the best, because it was my first year in the NFL…but that’s the best part of it (being an underdog)…it was the best time of my life. A blast,” said Bradshaw.
And even though he fell just short, Gronkowski expressed the same sentiment towards the Super Bowl. “It’s unbelievable. It’s definitely number one…Going out there and playing after all the hype for two weeks. It’s crazy.”
After falling just short once again, one has to wonder if Gronkowski and the rest of the Patriots are counting down the days until another grudge match occurs on the field.
When asked about the final play of this year’s Super Bowl—a ‘hail Mary’ pass from quarterback Tom Brady which he nearly caught in dramatic fashion—Gronkowski was still visibly upset at the thought of the play.
“[I was just thinking]…I gotta get this….it just didn’t happen,” said the tight end.
Until the on-field rematch happens, both players will find the time to play Call of Duty: MW3 on their downtime.
“I get off my feet, I’m on the couch, and my game’s on. I got a big screen in my attic…we call it the dungeon….got two big-screens with ESPN on one and ‘Call of Duty’ on the other. I love the game,” said Bradshaw.
Gronkowski had a similar testimony. “After practice, your body is beat down…you just sit down on the couch, get hydrated and play some call of duty.”
With both All-Pro caliber players still in their early to mid twenties, we can not only rest assured that we haven’t seen the last of Bradshaw vs. Gronkowski, but that we’re just as sure to see that on-field grudge-match battle between the Patriots and Giants.
Until then, you can call Bradshaw the champ.