Adrian Peterson, Devin Hester, Ed Reed: Gods of the (Virtual) Field

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Adrian Peterson, Devin Hester, Ed Reed: Gods of the (Virtual) Field

It's fourth and 21, your quarterback was just sacked for a 17 yard loss on third down, and you are obviously not too happy about it. In a fit of anger, you make a very bold decision to go for it—in the hurry up offense nonetheless.

You are the New England Patriots after all, so the logical play in this situation is to send Randy Moss deep and throw him a jump ball 25 yards away from the line of scrimmage.

The play works perfectly. Randy, because of his superb jumping skills, jumps over the triple coverage the other team brought over to his side of the field before the play even starts.

You've just converted what others would think is an impossible first down.

Obviously this is not a real story. This is what I, and many others, would do if I were playing Madden '08. Unfortunately for the person who was on defense, this story is not fiction.

In my countless hours playing Madden, I've noticed a few things that cross over between my TV screen when I'm holding a controller, and my TV screen when I'm holding a remote: Some players are just unstoppable, no matter what precautions you take.

Just so you think I'm not going to be a homer this entire column, I'm won't use any New England Patriot again.

I'll start with Adrian Peterson, the second year running back of the Minnesota Vikings, 2007 NFL Rookie of the Year, and Pro Bowl MVP. His video game character happens to be the single most unstoppable NFL player in Madden.

It's not worth trying to tackle him with the first linebacker because it doesn't work. Maybe, if you're having a good day you'll get him with the second or third, but I doubt it. In Madden you can win a game with the Vikings and not throw the ball more than five times, if any.

If only the real Vikings were that smart. (Side note: Vikings, please draft a QB this year. I really want to see Peterson if he doesn't go against 10 man fronts.)

The "God" figures behind putting player ratings together must have looked at "All Day" and decided they were going to make him unstoppable.

Oh, I forgot to mention, these ratings come out before the season starts, so they didn't even know what he was about to do during his rookie campaign. Every expert knew he was going to be good, but did they know he was going to be unstoppable?

For those of you who are not familiar with the game, 99 is the highest rating a player can get for any particular skill. Devin Hester received a 100 in the speed category. If there was such a feature in the game, I would simply have him line up 20 yards behind the line of scrimmage and snap him the ball back there for every play.

(Bears, read over what I just said again. You know it's safer than having Benson run or Grossman throw.)

He runs away from every player like they were fans in the stands rather than professional football players. Unfortunately for other teams, virtual and real alike, this is not an exaggeration of what he does on the field. Much like in real life, when facing him in the video game, I'd much rather give the Bear's offense the ball on the 40 yard line by kicking it out of bounds than give Devin Hester a chance to even see the ball inside the lines.

Let me introduce this final player by saying that I am a much better Madden player than the CPU that plays against me. I win those games by 50 or more points, even if I'm playing against the "All-Madden" difficulty. I'll throw into the most ridiculous coverage just to see how many times they bat the ball down instead of making an easy interception.

I will not throw to Ed Reed's side of the field. He's not controlled by the CPU—he is controlled by God himself. Much like in real life, the virtual Ed Reed takes away every deep route on the field, even if it's not on his side.

He is the most ruthless predator on the field at every given instance in the game. You throw a ball near his side, it's going the other way (probably for six). You run a toss to his side, your running back is fumbling (unless, of course, it's Peterson—then he's just tackled).

He is the one defensive player that strikes fear into the hearts of every virtual quarterback.

Most of you will probably read this and wonder "Where is he going with this?" I do have a moral to this story. People who don't watch football on a constant basis or follow the sport closely, notice who the best players are.

They don't know what formations are, what routes receivers are running, or what blitz the defense used the last play, but they can always identify the standout players.

I was watching the Vikings game against the Lions later in the season with my cousin who is nine years old. During a run up the middle in the fourth quarter, Adrian Peterson broke a tackle, hit the hole, and was faced with a one-on-one in the open field at about the 10 yard line.

He implemented a juke so vicious that the strong safety fell down onto the turf, and AD high-stepped into the end zone. Look it up on YouTube if you think I'm exaggerating that description of the play.

My cousin's reaction was simply "Wowwww, he's good. Is he the best player on his team?" My only response was a simple head nod, because I had been rendered speechless.

Later on when Peterson (controlled by a nine-year-old girl who had never played the game before) broke a 96 yard touchdown run against me (a stereotypical 20-year-old football fan who plays Madden close to 20 hours a week), my cousin's reaction was again "Hey, is that the guy we just saw on TV. He is DEFINITELY the best player on his team!"

I simply nodded, again...speechless.

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