If you haven't checked in with the WWL lately, prominently featured on the front page at ESPN.com today is a thorough retrospective on the "inside story" behind the creation and success of Madden football. Being a fan of the series since '93, I found it interesting to read about the game's origins, how John Madden came to be attached to the project, and just some of the back story that previous histories didn't delve into. Recommended, if you're into that sort of thing.
There was one particular detail of minor-importance to the scope of the article, but with some hometown relevance. We've heard of players jockeying for higher Madden ratings before, and we usually like to have a little fun by posting the ratings ourselves. However, we've never heard of head coaches requesting a more flattering figure... until now.
Need an in-game ratings boost, what Madden (the man) calls "more juice"? Call Sandoval, as quarterback Byron Leftwich once did. Jonesing for an advance copy of the game? Call Sandoval, as Carson Palmer, Chad Ochocinco and dozens of other players have done. Need to drop a few pounds, albeit digital ones? Consider it done. Last year, Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid asked Sandoval to slim down his in-game avatar, a little quid pro quo for introducing Sandoval to former "Madden" cover athlete Brett Favre.
Reid has always been fairly positive about his weight, often choosing to joke about it during interviews or when speaking to players. That said, we know Big Red has tried to keep the pounds off through the years.
Requesting to be slimmer in a video game though? First of all, I didn't figure Andy to be a PlayStation guy. I'm guessing he must've caught a glimpse of the game while some of his players gathered, or perhaps at home with his sons.
I suppose these are the kinds of favors knowing Brett Favre will get you.