Richard Sherman might be on the cover of Madden NFL 15, but that doesn’t mean he still doesn’t have beef with the game’s producers over his 52 overall rating as a rookie.
“I was the worst cornerback in the entire game,” Sherman tells Extra Mustard as we talk video games mere moments after EA Sports announced the Seahawks corner had beaten out Cam Newton in this year’s Madden cover vote. “[EA] made a mistake my rookie year. They were very stupid. I wasn’t just the worst corner on my team, I was the worst corner in all of Madden. There were undrafted guys ranked higher than me. They were very stupid.
“I want to talk to whoever made those ratings. I’ll never forgive him.”
Extra Mustard: When you sign your contract with EA Sports, do they also make you sign some insurance contracts because of the infamous cover curse?
Richard Sherman: [laughs] No, it doesn’t. That’s hilarious. To be honest, I never even heard about the curse until this year. I don’t think anybody who plays the game really believes in that. I think that former players who had the covers got complacent.
Recent cover guys like Megatron and Adrian Peterson actually had great seasons, so maybe now EA Sports has figured out a way to reverse the curse.
Yeah, I think Calvin even broke the record when he was on the cover, so things are looking good for me. What’s incredible to me, though, is remembering back when I was a kid and how much I idolized these players who were in the games and on the cover. To be the person who is on the cover now is a really good feeling.
Are you a big Madden gamer?
I am, I am. I’ve been playing since (John) Madden was on the cover.
What type of Madden player are you?
I like to do exactly what I do in real life. I like to make picks. Then after I pick the ball, I like dodging tackles and trying to make it to the end zone. That’s so hard to do in both real life or in video games, it’s so rare, that when you do it, it’s like you’re the champ.
Who was your favorite team to play as growing up?
The Houston Oilers with Warren Moon.
How about now, do you play as Seattle?
When I was younger, I always told myself that if I ever made it on Madden, if I ever made it in a video game, I’d never play as anybody else. It worked out pretty well for me. Everyone should want to play as Seattle, though. We have The Legion of Boom. Marshawn Lynch is one of the best running backs in the game and is Beast Mode. There’s Percival Harvin. There’s Douglass Baldwin. There are enough weapons on this team to start another world war. Only thing missing are virtual Skittles. We need to talk to EA about that.
Madden 15 promises the most defensive upgrades since The Hit Stick was added. As a defensive star and a gamer yourself, what aspect of this are you most looking forward to?
Sometimes the defense, it’s not that it’s unrealistic, but if you’re a person who plays the game and you’re making the necessary adjustments to stop plays and those plays still aren’t being stopped, it’s kind of frustrating. That’s when it seems more like a video game than real life. If they want to make the game more realistic, they need to improve the defense more than anything … what the defensive line is doing, how the defensive backs play, what the linebackers actually do on a specific play. If they can fix these, that will go a long way. In the last game, there were just so many glitches that players found, so people were scoring like 50-60 points, and there was no defense you could pick to stop some of these plays. If they fix the defense, it will force people to be more creative on offense, and that will take the game back to its truest concept, where people need to really be strategists in order to win.
How about cornerback play? What would you like to see improved?
I would like to see Iso Cam. Madden’s My Player, their one-on-one Superstar mode needs to step up. Being a quarterback, it works well, being a running back, it works well, but if you’re a defensive back, it’s hard to even see what you’re supposed to be doing half the time. I would like to see them improve that. I want a game where I can play wide receiver versus the DB one-on-one. They had that in the past, but then they changed it up. If they can improve Superstar mode, that would be huge.
The most frustrating route to stop in Madden is the curl route. If I’m playing as virtual Richard Sherman, what advice would you give me on stopping that play in real life that maybe I can bring to the game?
You need to jam them up pretty nicely. If you do that, the quarterback will generally turn the other direction. If you do that, by the time the receiver comes out of his route, the quarterback is looking to the other side. Get a good jam on him, keep your eyes on him and have such great seasons that they don’t want to throw your way because they know you’re going to intercept it.
How about if I’m playing as the 49ers? What’s the likelihood I throw a touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree with you defending in him the game?
It hasn’t happened in real life, so … [laughs] It’s a zero-percent of it happening in real life so far, so it doesn’t get better than that.
What’s your video game setup like at home? Do you have a PS4 or Xbox One?
I got both. I play some Titanfall. I play NBA 2K. I love MyPlayer, but when I play MyPlayer, then I jump on and play Madden’s superstar mode, it really leaves something to be desired.
What were your favorite games growing up?
Super Mario Bros., Sonic … the classics. I was a poor kid, but when you take it back to Nintendo, we had Tecmo Bowl. You know about Tecmo Bowl, all you have to do is get the ball to Bo Jackson and nobody was going to catch you as you ran up and down the field. Another cool game was Ken Griffey for Super Nintendo. You either hit a popup or a homerun. There was never really anything in between.
How about on the flip side, what’s the worst video game you ever bought?