John Gaudiosi
Saturday October 4th, 2014

Seattle Seahawks defensive back Earl Thomas III is part of the Super Bowl Championship “Legion of Boom." Thomas was in Seattle with Activision and local game developer Bungie for the launch of Destiny, which went on to become the biggest original game launch in history in its first week. The All-American was able to play the sci-fi online-shooter early with the Bungie developers, who had early success in the game industry with Halo. ET3 talks about his own video game skills on Madden, Call of Duty: Ghosts and Destiny in this exclusive interview.

How do you take advantage of living in Seattle where the big game companies like Bungie and Microsoft are located?

Well, you just try to sell yourself.  You let people know who you are.  When you do that and value yourself, people place value in it.  And if you don’t value yourself, how should everybody else value you or put some stock into you?  I just try to show everybody my personality, show everybody who I am and some people are not going to like you, but some people are going to love you and that’s where you have your breakthroughs at.

Getty

What do you think about this new game Destiny?

I think it’s very futuristic.  If you like to explore space and planets, this will be your type of game.  You get to visit different solar systems, you get to go to Venus, Mars.  You have a chance to be a legend.  I like stuff like that.

Were you a fan of the Halo franchise?

Not really, but I’m a big Call of Duty fan, just because that’s the only game I was really interested in. My cousin is a big game freak, and that was the first shooting game that he introduced me to.  So of course I kind of naturally gravitated to that.

Are you a big fan of gaming online with Call of Duty?

Yes, because the thing I love about them is you’re playing somebody else somewhere else, and you get to see how they think and their little strategies.  And that’s how you get better.

Earl Thomas plays Destiny at the game's launch in Seattle, Washington, on September 8, 2014.
Getty

What are your thoughts on how big online games like Destiny have become?

It just gives you the ability to play everybody around the world.  It’s very good for the social media, for the social life itself, just the interaction between everybody.  I think it’s great.  It’s a great expansion. 

What do you feel Xbox One and Playstation 4 has opened up for games?

It’s just the future.  Just the 2.0 of the previous model.  I think you get better in everything you do.  Why would you stay complacent?  Those two networks are doing a good job.

What do you think of eSports and the fact that kids can win millions of dollars playing video games today?

I think it’s great.  You know it’s a win-win situation.  Kids like to play video games.  I think video games get talked about in a bad light, but you got to look at the pros and the cons of the situation.  It also keeps a lot of kids from getting into trouble, and it keeps kids busy.  It keeps your imagination going, and you got to have that.  I think video games give a sense of hope.

If eSports was around when you were a kid, do you think that would have affected your life at all?  Would you be playing video games professionally now rather than football?

I don’t know.  I love the path that I’ve been on right now.  It’s been a little rollercoaster, but there’s been a little light just enough to see those couple of steps that’s right in front of me.

As a pro athlete, what are your thoughts on professional video gamers playing as teams in games like Call of Duty and League of Legends?

I don’t care what you do.  If you work hard at it, you deserve all the credit you get.  When you soak the seeds, you’re going to reap the benefits of it every time. Just like they take their job seriously, that’s how it should be and I respect everything that has anything to do with that.

Who’s a better gamer on your team when it comes to Madden NFL 15, you or cover athlete Richard Sherman?

Me.  Me.  I said that quick.  You didn’t even have to finish the sentence.  I’m the best at Madden.  I’m the best out there actually.  I love the challenge, man.

What’s your take on the so-called Madden cover curse?

We’re 1 and 0.  We have another championship opportunity playing the San Diego Chargers, but the curse is myth.  This is what great players do.  You kind of elevate and leave out the little stuff that gets on everybody else nerves.  We don’t sweat the small stuff.  We’re just having fun and enjoying each other.  This is a great ride and what a story we’re writing here in Seattle.  We’re writing our own story.  It’s incredible.

Getty

What do you feel about your player ratings in Madden 15?

I don’t really worry about that because I think I have great user skills.  So my man is Earl Thomas 29, ET3 is always 99 because I’m controlling him, you know.  If you beat me it’s by mistake.  That’s just how I am.

Does the Legion of Boom play any Madden 15 in the Seahawks locker room?

Not in the locker room, but we play a little ping pong.  We play a little ping pong, but that’s about it.

What advice would you give to someone playing against the Seahawks in Madden 15?

Don’t throw it deep in the middle of the field.  Watch out for Kam Chancellor and don’t throw anything near Richard Sherman.

What strategies do you use when you’re playing Destiny?

I really only play the team mode.  The thing that was crazy was something that’s called Chaos Mode.  You’ve got monsters flying at you and you got the little wizards and it’s hard to kill them.   So when everybody is coming  and attacking, I’m just running back in the corner and just shooting and shooting. It’s hard to communicate and that was the thing I was trying to do is try to communicate with the other guys that I’m playing with.  That’s the biggest thing that kind of set me back.  I was too busy trying to shoot and it was hard for me to control my gun. I was having a couple of difficulties.  I’m not the best yet.

Do you have a favorite video game memory you can share from when you were growing up?

Just my dad at Christmas, he would bring us a Nintendo 64, then a PlayStation.  As the games evolved and new models came out, that’s what I loved about it.  Just the excitement of that first time you turned it on and you see whatever slogan they have on the screen.  I love it all.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.