It is the dream of many NFL players to someday be on the cover of a Madden video game, and at least one rising NFL star learns about his opponent's coverage from the famed game franchise. Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith told reporters on Monday that he is familiar with the New England Patriots team he faces in this weekend's AFC championship game largely through playing the game.
Who needs all that time in the classroom, dissecting film of the Patriots? Just fire up the Xbox 360 and toss that game plan out the window.
"The biggest thing I know about New England is my brother always picks them in Madden," Smith said. "They pretty much always have the best offense for some years in that game."
Perhaps it isn't a surprise that Smith's first exposure to the Patriots was through Madden as it remains one of the top-selling games on the market. The 22-year-old Smith is among a generation of NFL players who grew up playing football video games as much as they did watching the sport in person or on television.
It has been a strong rookie season for Smith, who has become a favored target of quarterback Joe Flacco. In his first year in the league, Smith has 50 catches for 841 yards, including seven touchdowns. He even earned the trash-talking attention of the New York Jets prior to the Ravens' emphatic Week 4 win. But Sunday afternoon in Foxborough, Mass., will clearly be the biggest challenge of his young career.
So get the fingers and thumbs ready, because Smith has some scouting to do.
"I would be lying to you if I say I did not know their names before we play them," Smith says. "I mean, my brother plays with them all the time. It does not fail."
Which, given little bro's love for head coach Bill Belichick's team on his console, Smith already has some familiarity as to how this game will play out on Sunday. Ever since being taken in the second round of last spring's NFL draft, he has been playing the Patriots with the place he now calls home.
"I play with the Ravens all the time now," Smith said.
Just remember, no cheat codes this time.
Follow Kristian R. Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer
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