CHICAGO – NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice is among 27 players and seven coaches playable in Madden NFL 13 from Canton. Rice can reteam with Joe Montana and Steve Young back in their prime. Even a young John Madden is featured in the new Connected Careers mode. Rice took to the field recently in the NBC telecast EA SPORTS Madden NFL 13 Pigskin Pro Am in Chicago. He talks about Madden in this Prima exclusive interview.

What was it like to get back on the gridiron in the EA Sports Madden NFL 13 Pigskin Pro Am?

It’s great. EA SPORTS and Madden football, it doesn’t get any better. You get so many celebrities and athletes to come out, and you have great fans to also come out and support. It’s a lot of fun. I’m not very good with the video game, but I feel like the game is just the way we played it. The graphics are unbelievable, and it’s like you’re sitting right there in the stadium while you play the game.

One of the new Connected Careers features of Madden NFL 13 allows players to take guys like you through an entire career and into the Hall of Fame. What are your thoughts about that?

That is so cool, man. Like I said, it’s a game that we love. Anything that we can do to enhance it and also help people to almost relive it through us, it’s amazing. I’m glad to be a part of it today.

At what point did you realize that Madden had evolved beyond a video game and became a part of pop culture?

I think when my kids started to play it, and they just couldn’t put it down. That’s real cool. It’s just like being at an actual football game. I think it’s a testament to Madden that these players come out and support it.

When it comes to the video game, do you get a sense of how popular it is amongst the NFL players when the player ratings time comes around?

Oh, man, they play it all the time. They play that more than they want to practice and also play the football game. It just shows that it’s a great game and that you can get consumed by it. You’ve got to be smart, make decisions, and do all of that stuff, but it’s an unbelievable game.

This new game will have all the playbooks from the real teams. Can the rookie class use this video game as help for their preparation?

I don’t know if that’s going to benefit them, because I’m sure they’re going to have playbooks, but it’s not going to be the legitimate playbooks. That way, the advantage would probably go to the opposing team, or you have people just going through all the different teams to get information about that team; what they like to run, their strategies, and all of that. I’m sure they’re going to have some plays very similar to a team like Chicago might run, but it’s not going to be exact.

Do you have a favorite Madden memory back when you used to play video games?

I’m sorry, buddy; I’m not a Madden player. I don’t play games. I sit there and watch my kids do it, but I’m not very good at it. That’s probably why I don’t play as much.

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