BackTalk: John Madden Page 2

What do you watch in your downtime?I usually watch tapes of the most recent game of whichever two teams we'll be covering on the next Monday Night Football broadcast. And I watch a lot of ESPN.

Do you ever take a break from the whole sports thing and just watch a movie?No.

So it's all sports, all the time?Yeah, that's it. I never take a break from it.

What's the best football movie ever made?It hasn't been made yet.

[laughs] One of the editors told me you'd say that. Where do they go wrong?Well, the closer you are to something, the more you realize that the way it's portrayed in the movies isn't real. Football has been my life. I went from being a player to a coach to a broadcaster - it's all I've ever done. So when I see it portrayed in a movie, I just don't buy it.

What have you done to make Madden NFL more realistic?We started on this before there even were videogames. It was going to be a computer program for teaching football at high schools and colleges. So the first thing was that the game had to be real - 11 guys on each team and 22 players out on the field. I didn't want five guys playing against five guys.

Now you even have features like Storyline Central where decisions made off the field can have a big impact on what happens during the football game.We're trying to include everything that goes on around an actual football game. So now you can do things like be a general manager and put a team together, deal with salary caps - things like that.

What was it like hosting the tailgate show on Sirius's NFL Radio?We'd pick the six or seven biggest games of the upcoming weekend and talk about them, and then we'd do a preview of the Monday-night game. The great thing about Sirius is that you get all the games. With local radio, you have to talk about the one game the listener's going to be able to hear. But when someone has the freedom to pick any game, you can talk about which ones will be good and help people decide what to listen to. Maybe someone doesn't know much about Pittsburgh or their rookie quarterback. So I talk a little bit about it, and they think, "Geez, maybe I want to listen to a little of the Pittsburgh/New England game" even though they're from, say, Dallas.

Do you have a Sirius radio at home?Yes, and I also have two in the Cruiser - one up front for when I'm driving and one in back.

Last question: "Just win, baby" or "Commitment to excellence"?Commitment to excellence. Your whole life should be about committing to be the best. Just win? Well, you're not going to win every game or in everything that you do. But you can commit to being the best all the time.