There’s a lesson here for all of us. If ever your parents or your partner ride you about playing too many video games, just remind them that K.J. Wright earns a whole lot of money from playing Football, and he owes his Football I.Q to years of Madden.
In a recent interview with ESPN, Seahawks Linebacker K.J. Wright explained how years on the controller translated to knowledge on the field.
“I’ve been playing Madden since 1995, so over time it just sunk in my brain, and I figured it out… Teams have to run certain concepts. They can’t put two guys in the same spot, so you just know when the flat route comes, something else has to come in. So it’s kind of simple.”
It makes a great deal of sense. While a game is created for entertainment purposes, sports sims often try their best to replicate the tactics seen in real life. The ability to know how space unfolds, and to see plays before they happen is invaluable, and takes a very long time to learn. So why can’t Madden play a part?
There is research that suggests that playing shooting games in reasonable doses can increase certain brain functions, such as special awareness and reactions. (Here’s a Ted Talk, if this interests you)
Also, Wright used to play Madden as a young child. In those early years of development, your brain creates neurological pathways that allow for greater cognitive processing in practiced areas later in life. A child who plays piano will be better at learning music, a child who learns a second language will find it easier to learn a third later on, and a child who plays Madden will more than likely develop a high capacity for reading the game.
So when people describe K.J. Wright as one of the smartest players around, he may well have Madden to thank. Or natural talent, genes, hard work, and coaching. Maybe.
But mostly video games.
Maybe Madden 17 will give him a in-game little boost as thanks for the shout out.