I was lucky enough to be invited by EA Sports to interview Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons tight end, about NFL Training Camp, a game that uses motion sensing technology to put players through real pro NFL training camp drills like dropping back and passing, or cutting from side to side while sprinting.
I shot video of the whole interview, but there’s a lot of background noise and it simply isn’t that exciting of a video. It’s just Tony and I sitting on a couch talking. Once in a while we laugh. Not the most thrilling video in the world. I recorded audio and I’m not going to transcribe it word for word.
We talked about a bunch of stuff and I really enjoyed meeting him. He’s a nice guy, very personable and friendly. I started the interview by telling him that I remember playing as him when my friend Mike and I played a season of Madden 99 as the Kansas City Chiefs. He laughed and said that was over a decade ago and then asked if we won (which we did) and then he high fived me and said it was great that we had a better season.
We talked about the NFL Training Camp game from EA Sports Active. It uses a heart rate monitor and wireless motion tracking to provide a workout designed by NFL strength and conditioning coaches. He said that he’s played around with it and thinks it’s a good thing. It got his heart rate up and he could see how it would improve timing, agility, and other skills like training camp.
I shot some video of someone playing at the event. It looked to me like this guy was working hard and afterwards the game reported he burned 400 calories or so.
I had fun talking to Tony. At one point I said that I thought he is the best TE to ever play the game. He said that was a bit much, like he wouldn’t agree to being the best. So I said, you have the most TD’s, most receptions, and most yards of any TE in the history of the league, surely you must agree to top 10. He agreed then thought a moment and then said, “That puts me in some good company.”
We talked about how he likes to play TE because he likes to be involved in more aspects of the game than just catching. If he wanted to run and catch he would have been a WR. He likes to block and feels it’s an under appreciated skill. I appreciate a good block and I mentioned that I did and he said that even with all the TD catches he’s had it is still most exhilarating when he blocks a linebacker and sets up the run. That’s pretty cool.
He recently wrote a book about nutrition so we chatted about that for a while. He’s into eating lean and high-quality protein and vegetables. I believe it’s based on some vegan principles. He looks like he’s in great shape but that probably goes without saying. He is a professional athlete. We laughed for a bit because I pointed out that what we eat becomes more important as we get older and the body can’t bounce back as quickly from something like a burger and fries.
Tony had some advice for young football players. Eat right, train, and build for the future. Learn everything you can about the game and improve your body and skills. Sounds pretty solid to me. Practice and improvement are two good things.
EA Sports Active NFL Training Camp seems like it can help improve football related skills. It’s in development for PS3, Kinect for Xbox 360, Wii, and iPod touch by EA Canada in Vancouver. You can find more info at EA Sports Active.