Could Madden Pros Coach Pro Football? NFL VP Won’t Rule it Out

In a recent interview with NFL Vice President of Business Operations & Strategy Natara Holloway to discuss the NFL’s commitment to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and the upcoming Feb. 6 inaugural Madden NFL 21 x HBCU Tournament Finals, The Esports Observer threw a hail mary question at her: Should the NFL hire expert Madden NFL players as coaching staff? The question comes from a recent interview with John Madden, who suggested that expert players of the football game that bears his name would be excellent additions to any NFL team’s coaching staff.

Surprisingly, Holloway said that the question made her laugh because the NFL is already using the game for training purposes, though not to the extent that Madden suggested:

“In my world of business ops and strategy, I also have innovation within football. When I saw your question, I laughed because we just had an innovation session with our consumer products group in EA around this very notion. Coach Madden has always said that he believes that [his game] has a place in teaching the game, and we tend to agree, to the extent that that is, each coaching staff is different and they’ll figure that one out, but I think you don’t say no to most things. 

“I always tell people don’t think ideas are far-fetched, because we’re using analytics right now that people 5-10 years ago would have never dreamed of using because they said it wasn’t authentic to coaching.”

Holloway goes on to point out that it would be hard to find a coach who isn’t using analytics these days to figure out “players to rest, which players to play, how their schemes are being run against other teams.”

“Those things evolve and as Madden continues to get as exciting and realistic as the game is, it does lend to cognitive learning,” she continued. “And that’s where our young people are right now, so we have been testing it with youth groups, we have been testing it with youth coaches. It’s not as far-fetched or a ‘hail mary’ as you think. It is a great tool to learn and have fun with the game [of football] on at the same time.”

Holloway adds that the NFL has a lot of open-minded coaches who are really coming around when it comes to finding new ways to enhance coaching. “They want to have that authentic coaching experience, and you will never take that away from a really good coach, but it’s also about finding the tools because at the end of the day you want to use the best resources possible.”


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