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Madden 2003 Transcript


The below is a transcript of EA's Conference Call announcing the addition of Al Michaels to the Madden franchise. Operator: Good day everyone and welcome to the Electronic Arts Madden NFL conference call. Today's call is being recorded.

For opening remarks and introductions I would like to turn the call over to Miss Wendy Spander. Please go ahead.

Wendy Spander: Good morning. I want to welcome everyone to the call and I'm now going to turn it over to Chip Lang, our Vice President of Marketing for North America with Electronic Arts.

Chip Lang: Hello everyone. Thanks for joining. I would especially like to send a big thanks out to John Madden and Al Michaels for spending some time today to announce this exciting piece of news.

As you know we're here to talk about John Madden Football, which historically has been the number one football title over the last 13 years. I've been working on it myself that entire time with John and I can tell you there's no better person and there's no better product to be working with.

I think it's easy to say that this is a game that defines interactive sports gaming. It's defined the category. It actually started the category with a lot of John's insight years ago and is consistently on the leading edge of what we're doing from a technology and from a sports side.

And bringing Al Michaels into our mix is just another piece of evidence that nobody can do a sports game like John Madden Football and EA Sports. And if you're looking for the most authentic representation of what you're going to see in the NFL, you go to NFL, you go to EA Sports and you go to John Madden Football.

So we're thrilled with this announcement that we're going to make today to have John and Al working together in our game in John Madden Football 2003 and we think it's going to be a big win for the interactive gamers out there in the world.

Just a couple of points to make on the Madden franchise, again last year the number one sports franchise in the business, we sold over 4 million copies of the game. This is clearly the sports game that's being held as the definitive standard in gaming.

It's what everybody shoots for when they look for excellence and we can't do it without John and now without Al's help on the overall mix of what goes in the game and how it gets presented.

I was just speaking with the people who are working on the game down in Florida. It's developed at our Tiburon Studios in Orlando.

And synchronizing very nicely with Al's introduction into the product is a brand new audio engine that's going to make the play-by-play and the color commentary of these two legends in the sport come to life even more so than it ever has.

Some examples of that, historically for those of you that have spent time with Madden Football you realize that what we're doing with our play-by-play and our color is really reacting to what may have just happened on the actual game.

What we're going to be able to do with the engine this year is Al and John are going to be actually able to play off each other with this new engine and they're actually going to react not only to what just happened, but often what John is so good at doing is putting out what should have happened. Why did they just run that play on third down when something else should have happened?

That's been a piece of technology that's been in development for years. It's finally coming to fruition this year. The introduction of both Al and then the continuation of John in the product makes for a great tie-in with this new feature.

We're calling it the audio dream team - a combination of Al, John and this new technology and the gamers of the world are going to be thrilled when they hear what they're going to be able to hear in the product.

We're going to be debuting this technology at our E3 convention at the end of May. Hopefully everybody will be able to take a peak at what we're going to be doing there and actually take a listen.

And with that I would like to talk for just a little bit about the timing and the history because I realize there are some questions on that.

We've been working on trying to get Al in our product for months now, since we heard about the retirement of Pat, and it's just exciting to be sitting here today to welcome Al to the product and, you know, to talk a little bit to John about what this product means.

It's always a thrilling conversation. We hope everybody enjoys it.

So I'm going to turn it over to John to talk a little bit about the product and about the exciting introduction of Al into the booth.

John Madden: And I would like to welcome Al. I mean this is really something that I'm looking forward to is working with Al on Monday Night Football and then working in the game with him.

One of the things, when I started this game years and years ago, in fact it was before they even had video games, we started with (Trip Hawkins) and it was going to be for computer games and ((inaudible)) take years and years, and we finally got in to it. But the one thing that I wanted it to be is as real as it could be.

And you know, the saying, “if it's in the game, it will be in the game.” I mean that's the thing. If it's in the game of NFL, we want it in the Madden game and that's been our philosophy forever.

So a big part of that is Al Michaels and a big part of that is working with Al and that makes it real.

And it was funny; when we first started this we were always trying to make the game look like television. And the things has kind of evolved 360 degrees where now television is starting to use some of our graphics to make it look like a video game. And so that's, you know, I think we're getting where we always wanted to be.

You know that anything that changes, and we have changes all the time; I mean it was good - we were part of the draft. And, you know, I'm just thinking that, you know, there are so many NFL players that play Madden Football and you think of how long they've been playing it.

And, you know, I was thinking as I was watching the draft this weekend and they had, you know, the players who were being drafted talking about it and I was thinking that, you know, these guys started playing the game when they were seven or eight years old.

And now, you know, they've played through grammar school, played the game through grammar school, through high school, through college and now they're coming into the NFL. And seeing themselves, you know, in the game that they've been playing for a heck of a long time is something that is special too.

And as I said, you know, as Chip was talking about, you know, where there is going to be more interaction between Al and I and the plays and so on, that's a great addition. And again being able to adjust to whatever the game does.

I mean, we never want to be where they're playing one game, you know, on television, the game you see on Monday night, and then you play a different game. We want to be playing the same game that you're watching on Monday night and that's why this whole thing is such a big deal.

And with the movement, you know, all the time, that's what makes 2003 different from 2002 different from 2001, is that there's so much movement, there's so much change. I mean, you know, you're not going to play a game a year from now where Drew Bledsoe is quarterbacking the New England Patriots. Bledsoe is now Buffalo and I mean you have to make those whole changes or all those changes and just to, you know, keep up.

And that's what Electronic Arts and Tiburon and, you know, we've done so well, is we always keep up with the game as it's being played on the field, with the people that are playing it on the field, with the team that they're playing with.

And as I was saying, and then my team that I'm on is now ABC Monday Night Football, which I'm proud to be a part of, and to be a partner with Al Michaels. And I would just like to welcome Al to this as he has welcomed me to Monday Night Football and I can't wait for both of them.

Al Michaels: John, thank you very much. I'm very excited to be a part of your game and obviously we'll manifest this on the air beginning in August with the Hall of Fame Game.

But this is very exciting and I guess in a way we can look at this as a rehearsal. Because I know that our producer and director are talking to John and to me about the necessity or lack thereof of having to do a rehearsal game before the season. And we just decided that we've both been in this business for so long, we knew each other's styles even though we've never worked together and that we would probably be better served just to do it very spontaneously and go on the air on I think it's the 5th of August for our first game and let it fly.

But this actually gives us a little bit of an opportunity to work together before hand, so I'm looking forward to that and I'm looking forward to being part of a game that I've had a chance to take a look at very closely over the last few weeks.

And I can't tell you have impressed I am. As a kid when I was growing up of course we didn't have anything like this, but I did play a game that was called APVA Baseball, which was a phenomenal game and then they had a football version. But all it amounted to is a set of boards that would give you game situations.

For instance, in baseball there would be a board that would say, “A man at second base, or runners at first and second, or bases empty” and then each individual player would have a card with numbers on that card that would correspond to dice. And you would throw dice and take a look at what the corresponding number was on the card.

And by the end of the season, if you played a whole year, if you had let's say Stan Musial; he would wind up hitting about 330 so it was as close to realism as anything I had seen. And I remember growing up and being very excited about that and introducing that to my son when he was growing up and loving baseball.

And now, of course, we've come a couple of generations down the line to something like this, which as John says has reached the point now where television is beginning to imitate the video game. It's unbelievably realistic.

I'm very excited to be a part of it and I think that it really appeals to all ages. I'm fascinated when I sit down and put it in and take a look at all of the things that you can do.

And what's very exciting for me on a personal level is the fact that I have two young nephews who have been playing this game for a number of years and the fact that I will be announcing the real Super Bowl for the fifth time this year means absolutely nothing to them, but the fact that I'm a part of the Madden 2003 Game is everything. They think that's the coolest thing in the world.

So I'm very happy to be a part of it and can't wait to work with John on the game and obviously on Monday Night Football.

Wendy Spander: Thank you very much. We're going to turn it over to question and answers now and you can ask anyone of the three here. And Jeremy.

Operator: Thank you. And today's question and answer session will be handled electronically. If you would like to ask a question today, please respond by pressing the star key followed by the digit one on your touchtone telephone. Once again that's star one on your telephone to ask a question today.

We'll go ahead and take a moment to assemble our roster and we'll take as many questions as time permits.

And our first question today comes from Bill Fleischman with the Philadelphia Daily.

Bill Fleischman: Hi John, Al. I wonder John if you could just give us I guess a capsule summary of the recent draft, teams you thought did real well and maybe teams that didn't do too well?

John Madden: Well, you know, I watched the whole draft both days and, you know, I really didn't know all the players.

And I don't know that you can say, you know, who did well in the draft. I've never believed that because it's, you know, it's such a projection. I think it's something you look five years down the road from.

I mean it's like, you know, I was saying the other day someone asks the day after someone gets married, “How do you like your husband?” or “How do you like your wife?” Well you liked them or you wouldn't have married them. And it's the same thing here.

You know, they come out of the draft and everyone's saying, “Well how did you like your draft?” Well they liked the player they just took and they had them rated higher and they were happy to get them there and of course they were happy because they just took them. But then you go back five years is when I think you evaluate it.

You know, I mean when you've got the question marks, you know, Detroit if Harrington is really an NFL quarterback, you know, had a great draft. And you know, and then, you know, if you draft early Carr they had a great draft, you know, if he's the guy, I mean if he's the Payton Manning. You look a Buffalo. I think Buffalo has really helped their team, you know, in getting Drew Bledsoe. I mean, you know, put Drew Bledsoe on that team and they're a lot better.

So San Diego I felt improved themselves. I thought Dallas did some good things. The Raiders got a couple of, you know, players that they needed. You know, so I think it's something that, you know, you have to see, you know, how they do in the minicamps now, then you have to see how they do in the season and maybe two or three years from now.

And I think it would be an interesting thing, you know, instead of evaluating the drafts, you know, what they did this weekend, go back and look at the drafts five years ago and evaluate how those teams did in the draft then.

Bill Fleischman: Okay. Thanks.

Operator: Thank you. And our next question comes from David Barron with the Houston Chronicle.

David Barron: For either gentleman your first game will be the Hall of Fame Game, which will include the Texans. I'm curious if either of you kept up with what they've been doing with their organization, their draft thus far? Just your thoughts on where that organization stands relative to other expansion teams as they prepare for their first season?

Al Michaels: Well I, you know, clearly - I'm sure John has too - I have followed - have followed this ever since Bob McNair was granted the franchise three years ago. I think he's done a very nice job putting together a very good front office, a very good coaching staff.

It's, you know, it's easier these days to have a lot of success earlier than was the case before let's say Carolina and Jacksonville came into the League. Maybe they made it a little too easy for the Panthers and the Jaguars to have that success, because of course each went to its conference's championship game the following season.

I think that the - I don't see the Texans necessarily having that much of a benefit in that regard. But in other words I'm not predicting that they'll windup in the conference championship game following the 2003 season, but I like what they've done, you know, they established the fact that they wanted to go out and get Carr as their franchise quarterback.

And you know, if he pans out and again as John said, you know, we'll look down the line in five years, they're off to a tremendous start. I love the coaching staff and I think, you know, the Texans what they'll do this year? Who knows? It could be anything from I suppose eight and eight to one and 15, but short-term I like their future.

John Madden: You know, and I agree with Al that, you know, in the old days when you used to have expansion you would talk about, “Are they going to win a game?” And now there's a possibility that they could be eight and eight, because they have so many more tools to work with.

You know we just saw this weekend the draft and, you know, David Carr and, you know, what he is and then, you know, before that there was the allocation draft and before when they allocated you would never get a Tony Boselli. That type of player, I mean if he's healthy, you know, heck he's one of the top three offensive linemen in all of football and that's a pretty good base starting with a guy like that.

But, you know, having the tools of a draft and then an allocation draft and then free agency as we know it today, gives them an opportunity to be a pretty good team quickly. I mean I don't think they're going to ever look anything like an old expansion team like we used to know.

David Barron: I assume that they will be in the game. And how do you format the variables involved in putting a completely new team together in the programming that you run for putting a game like this together?

John Madden: Well, you know, you take the players - of course, you know, we have the players from the other teams so we put them in that uniform. And then you have Chris Palmer, offensive coordinator, you have his offense, I mean you know what that is from where he's been, Jacksonville, you know, Cleveland, that type of thing. You kind of know what they do. Dom Capers, you know, defense you know what they do.

I mean there's not a - I think the only team that played the three-man line a year ago was the Pittsburgh Steelers, but Dom Capers comes from that school, that Pittsburgh, that three-man line. So you know you put them in that defense doing the things, you know, he's a big zone dog guy, you know, three-man line, bringing different people all the time.

You know, so you just put that in the game, the combination of the head coach and the coordinators and then the players that, you know, have been in the League plus, you know, the players that are drafted.

David Barron: Thank you.

Operator: Thank you. And once again if you would like to ask a question, please press star one on your telephone now.

And we have a follow-up question from Mr. Bill Fleischman with the Philadelphia Daily.

Bill Fleischman: Hi. I suppose Al and John I think a lot of people are wondering how you think Steve Spurrier is going to do with the Redskins?

Al Michaels: Well I know one thing, we're excited to have him on the second week of the season because obviously there's a lot attentive interest in the fact that Steve has decided to cash his lot on the National Football League.

For us the Redskins have always been a great draw and of course John has done a lot more Redskin games than we have on Monday Night through the years because we've been limited to three and the Skins have been so successful that while John was at Fox that they would windup on the primary game, you know, very, very often.

So they're one of the teams I think Bill that people always keep an eye out on and look at very, very carefully. And of course Dan Snyder has helped to increase the profile for better or worse I suppose in the minds of their fans. But one thing is that he does attract attention, they do things a little bit differently.

And of course, getting Steve Spurrier to come in and to give them the type of deal that he got and with the type of offense that he provides, we're excited. We're very excited to be doing the Redskins the second week of the season and I think there's going to be a lot of interest around the country prior to that night.

John Madden: Yeah and I think he's going to do well. I think Steve Spurrier is a heck of a coach that could coach on any level. I think if he coached football in Pop Warner, high school or college or pros, he's going to do well.

Now I think there's going to be a little adjustment. I think he's going to learn some things that maybe he thinks he can do and find out that he can't do, but he's a bright guy and I think that he's going to adjust.

Now whether he comes flying out of the box or not, I'm not sure about that, but in the long run, I think Steve Spurrier will be successful.

Bill Fleischman: Okay. Thanks.

Operator: Thank you. And our next call comes from Rudy Martzke with USA Today.

John Madden: Rudy “Martga?” Imagine. Does that end in an “a?”

Rudy Martzke: Yeah.

Al Michaels: Are you from Bosnia Rudy?

Rudy Martzke: Yeah, just about, I mean, just close to there guys. Look I think…

John Madden: “Martga,” what's up?

Rudy Martzke: Well, I'm asking both of you guys.

John Madden: “Martga…”

Rudy Martzke: After you know…

Al Michaels: You'll never live this down Rudy, you know that?

John Madden: Who is this, Rudy “Martga?”

Al Michaels: Yeah, Rudy “Martga.”

Rudy Martzke: John you've had me with some other nicknames that haven't turned out so well, but…

John Madden: Rudy the ((inaudible)).

Rudy Martzke: Yeah. Right. We've got to ((inaudible)) a group of Bill Fleischman, myself and a couple of other guys, but…

Hey guys, you know, ((inaudible)) when John was announced over at ABC that boy you guys would have trouble working together because, you know, you're so used to be dominate guys in the booth and so on. And I think this thing right now, speaks to that. Al will be already teaming up with John, you know, on EA sports on Madden's game.

Can you guys both speak to that about getting together and, you know, just, you know, ((inaudible)), you know, doubts of some people here that you guys would have trouble working together?

Al Michaels: Go ahead John.

John Madden: Well I never had any doubt. I mean that was, I mean I don't know who those people are or why they would have those doubts, but I never had them. That never crossed my mind one time.

And that, I mean, Al to me is and always has been the consummate professional and I mean it's just an honor to be able to go into work with him and with Monday Night Football. And I've never been one of those people that ever counted, well you talked this much, I've got to talk that much, just like here, who gets this or that. You know, I think that - I hope that I left those things when I got out of grammar school.

Al Michaels: Yeah I thought John really summed it up perfectly the day this was announced when, you know, people fixate on, “Well, who's going to talk at what particular time.” When you do this for a living, you don't even think about that and I think John put it in terms of that's high school stuff. And it is.

You don't walk into the booth and think that okay it's my moment, now it's your moment, or hand signals or tap somebody on the shoulder. It just doesn't work that way.

John and I have been doing this, even though we haven't done it together, we've been doing it for a lot of years. We just spent within the past couple of weeks I think ten hours together up in Pleasanton at John's studio there and we had a great day and it's one of those things where it just flows.

It's like a conversation. You don't sit across from somebody at a dinner table and say, you know, “My turn” or put your finger up and say, you know, “ten seconds I'm going to come…” It doesn't work that way Rudy.

And again there will be people who, you know, will say, “Oh it might not work.” Maybe they don't want it to work, but I've never thought of it in those terms and I don't think John's ever thought of it in those terms.

And the way I really think about this Rudy is it can't miss. You have two guys who have been doing this for a long time, who love the game of football, who have I think great passion for what it is that we do, who feel very lucky to be able to be a part of something like this, and I mean, it's a can't miss. That's the way I would sum it up.

Rudy Martzke: Okay. ((inaudible))…

John Madden: When Al says that I get butterflies in my stomach or a feeling. Whatever that feeling - you know how you get excited about something…

Rudy Martzke: Yeah.

John Madden: …and it starts right in your middle and then that controls your axis?

Rudy Martzke: Sure. Oh yeah ((inaudible))…

John Madden: What do you mean you know?

Rudy Martzke: Sure…

Al Michaels: ((inaudible))

Rudy Martzke: No I mean I don't know half the things you say John, you know, it all comes out of the air somehow. But, no, okay, that's good guys. Just that I've had to tell people - look I think there's some jealousies out there. I think that's what it is and, you know, they can't imagine these two top guys are going to get along. You know, ego wise and all ((inaudible)), but it's not what I thought, okay so…

Al Michaels: Those are those same people who bet 100 to one shots at Santa Anita and never come home.

Rudy Martzke: Right.

John Madden: That's not going to be a problem “Martga.”

Rudy Martzke: Okay. We'll forget about that one, but we'll have to clue that guy in. Okay guys. Listen, thanks and we'll check you as summer comes along here, okay?

John Madden: Okay.

Rudy Martzke: Yeah Al you - gee, as long as your on the phone here, you know, I understand you're not going to be, you know, doing the, you know, the NBA, but do you want to talk about it or not?

Al Michaels: Well, I'd rather, you know, not on this particular call…

Rudy Martzke: Okay.

Al Michaels: …but nothing is official yet…

Rudy Martzke: Okay.

Al Michaels: …((inaudible)) one way or another nothing has been determined.

Rudy Martzke: Are you in contract negotiations yet or not or is it down the road?

Al Michaels: I'm into what now?

Rudy Martzke: Contract negotiations.

Al Michaels: I will be.

Rudy Martzke: Okay. Okay. That's fine…

Al Michaels: I've also been there for 26 years Rudy, so I wouldn't speculate that there would be a change here.

Rudy Martzke: No, I wouldn't - not that.

Al Michaels: It's been home for almost my entire professional life, so…

Rudy Martzke: Sure.

Al Michaels: …and I expect it to be in the future.

Rudy Martzke: Maybe John doesn't know this, but at one time both Costas and Al were over at CBS. Were you there at the same time?

Al Michaels: No. About a year apart.

Rudy Martzke: Year apart, okay.

John Madden: You know, the - I'm changing the subject here, but the first game that I ever did was a practice game was with Bob Costas.

Rudy Martzke: Yeah.

John Madden: So I do know that he was over at CBS.

Rudy Martzke: Yeah, that's right.

Al Michaels: When I was at CBS, the year I was there, I actually had one of John's games. We did New Orleans at Oakland and my analyst was John Unitas.

John Madden: I remember that. I remember that.

Rudy Martzke: Yeah. Was John acting up on the sidelines on that one?

Al Michaels: He was very placid that day. I think they killed the Saints as I recall.

Rudy Martzke: ((inaudible)).

John Madden: That goes back to that expansion team…

Al Michaels: Right.

John Madden: …the Saints were one of those teams that stayed an expansion team for about 15 years.

Al Michaels: Right.

Rudy Martzke: Yeah.

John Madden: Atlanta is another one. You know, Atlanta was one of those teams that kind of never got out of expansion.

Rudy Martzke: I'll tell you this - well they made it to one Super Bowl.

John Madden: Yeah, I know they did.

Rudy Martzke: They now call that…

John Madden: I was there.

Rudy Martzke: They now call that the super fluke ((inaudible))…

John Madden: Yeah, I was there.

Al Michaels: Hey Rudy, while I was doing that game I went over to visit with John during the week because ((inaudible)) actually living in the Bay Area at the time, so…

Rudy Martzke: Yeah.

Al Michaels: …I rode across the San Mateo Bridge and was sitting in John's office and I remember we talked a little bit about football and then we got on the subject of John Steinbeck and we got on the subject of Travels with Charlie. And I'll never forget John, you know, at the height of his coaching career talking about how someday he would just love to travel around the country and do something like that and just, you know, be observant and see all of the things that he could see. So this was, you know, 26 years ago…

John Madden: And I'm living Travels with Charlie right now.

Al Michaels: Exactly right.

Rudy Martzke: Well, you know, I've been a part of those. And you know, fun times on first the train, John, you know, and then the busses.

John Madden: Well, you know, that's where this game started. You know, we're talking about the…

Rudy Martzke: Yeah.

John Madden: …start of the game and even before there were video games and (Trip Hawkins), who started Electronic Arts, and, you know, he would bring two or three guys and they would ride on the train with me. And we would draw up these plays in the club car like at 12:00, 1:00, 2:00 in the morning and then when we would finish, we would paste them on the window.

And, you know, at 2:00 in the morning we would have, you know, pieces of, you know, like butcher paper plastered all over the train windows as we went across the country. That was the start - that was the basis for this game.

Rudy Martzke: Yeah. Well, John was a good host on the train ride, I thought. You just didn't tell me how the bathrooms worked on the train.

John Madden: Well you can't push the shower button when you're trying to flush the toilet…

Rudy Martzke: Yeah.

John Madden: …you're going to get flushed.

Rudy Martzke: That's what happened. John was walking by Al and saw me stumbling out of the bathroom there, but…

Al Michaels: John and I are traveling the country on Harleys this year by the way Rudy. There's your scoop.

Rudy Martzke: Well that's it. That would be good. Okay. Okay well listen guys, look thanks and thought I would get on the call, okay. And we'll talk to you. Hope to get up there either to Canton or the next week. Okay.

John Madden: See you ((inaudible))…

Al Michaels: Okay Rudy. Be good.

Rudy Martzke: Okay. Bye.

Operator: Thank you. And our next question comes from Jeff Ryan of Katrillion.

Jeff Ryan: How you doing guys?

Al Michaels: Good.

Jeff Ryan: I wanted to see how long it takes to record voices for one of these video games and how much sound is going to be in Madden 2003 verses how much in Madden 2002?

John Madden: There's going to be a lot more in 2003 and it takes me a lot of sessions because whether I don't have that much concentration or whatever, I have a tough time going longer than two or three hours at a stretch. Kind of two hours, two and a half hours is about my ((inaudible)), so I have a lot of different sessions. And I've had, oh I've had four or five already, you know, in the last few weeks and I'm going to do one again today at 1:00. So I don't know how many hours, but it's a lot of different chunks on a lot of different days. And there's a lot more this year and there will probably be a lot more for Al than there is for me, because they have, you know, some stuff that I've done before.

Jeff Ryan: Is there going to be any Madden specific commentary like the focus on the biggest defensive man on each team, or any Michaels specific commentary this year?

John Madden: Yeah, there's going to be - yeah. There's going to be things about, you know, not only talking about the play, as Chip was saying earlier, but the strategy. I mean that's the thing that is kind of new.

You know you talk about the ((inaudible)) of what they ought to be doing, you know, the situations, you know, when they're at mid-field, third and short, inside the 20, the red zone, goal line, time running out, time running out at the half, time running out at the game, use of timeouts, you know, all those types of things. I mean those are things that I know that I'm doing a lot more of this year.

Chip Lang: This is Chip Lang. The exciting part about this year is this new technology package that we've got to combine John's insight and Al's work with situational analysis.

So not only will you hear the stuff that you've heard in the past Madden games, but you're going to hear a whole new level of analysis that gets the player a little deeper into the strategy of the game that's going on, just like they expect when they're watching it on television.

So it's really a combination of having John, adding Al and adding this new technology package that going to make this a substantial upgrade over past years.

Jeff Ryan: Has Al recorded anything yet?

Al Michaels: No. I start on Tuesday.

Jeff Ryan: Finally, last question. Which sound effect would win in a face-off? John Madden's BOOM or Emeril Lagasse's BAM?

Chip Lang: John's BOOM always wins.

Operator: Thank you. Our next question comes from Trudy Muller with Electronic Arts.

Trudy Muller: Hi, I just had a question about, you know, with Madden's game being around for 13 years, how will the game be affected by having you guys paired together? Will it affect the audience or…

Chip Lang: I can try to answer that. You know, obviously with EA Sports what the audience is expecting and I think what you're asking when you're saying, “Will it affect the audience?” The audience that plays these games is expecting realism and they're expecting EA Sports to be on the cutting edge of every single trend in sports.

There is no bigger story in the world of broadcast NFL right now than the John Madden/Al Michaels team that's getting combined for Monday Night Football. And it is the expectation of the consumer that EA Sports is on the leading edge of that and that's why we're here today announcing that the audio dream team that's going to be Monday Night Football is the audio dream team that's in Madden 2003 from EA Sports.

So I think absolutely the audience is going to be effected. They're going to be thrilled.

John Madden: Yeah and it's going to be what they're expecting too, because as I said earlier, if it's in the game, it's in the game. And our goal has always been football wise to whatever you see on television, you're going to see in the game. And this is what you're going to see and hear on television and this is what you're going to see and hear in the game.

Trudy Muller: Okay. Great. Thanks.

Operator: And next we have another follow-up question from Bill Fleischman with the Philadelphia Daily.

Bill Fleischman: I was hoping Rudy would still be on. I thought Rudy “Martga” might…

John Madden: “Martga?”

Bill Fleischman: …you might need a third guy in the booth, you know, he could be this year's Dennis Miller for your guys. Rudy “Martga.”

John Madden: Oh “Martga.”

Bill Fleischman: No I - John as long as you guys are reminiscing a little bit there, I never had a chance to ask you this. When Fox got NASCAR, I covered some NASCAR, I thought they were going to try and get you involved in it, either at a race or something? Did you ever do that or if not, why not?

John Madden: No, I never did. They had talked about, you know, going down to Daytona, you know, when they first got NASCAR they were going to have everyone there.

But when they first got NASCAR, they didn't have any NASCAR guys. And then so they thought, you know, their football and baseball and, you know, all their people would be part of it, then as they started getting NASCAR guys, they realized they didn't need other people. I mean that was part of it.

I know that at Daytona that Terry Bradshaw was there and he did the, you know, start your engines…

Bill Fleischman: Right.

John Madden: …and I was supposed to do it at Sears Point this last year. And I don't know, it turned into being a whole three-day thing so I didn't do it, but other than that I think that was something that was an early thought Bill and then went away as they started, you know, to get the Darrel Waltrips and those guys.

Bill Fleischman: Right. Right. Because I really enjoy Waltrip, I think you two guys would really get along great.

John Madden: Old DW.

Bill Fleischman: Bring him on Monday Night Football.

John Madden: Old DW, he's the one that had the one about the wheels, you know.

Bill Fleischman: Oh yeah, “You picked a bad time to leave me loose wheels.”

John Madden: Yeah. Yeah. “You picked a bad time to leave me loose wheels.”

Bill Fleischman: Okay. Thanks.

Operator: And your next question comes from Keith Hargrove with Disney Media.

Keith Hargrove: Hi guys. Long-time player of the game so I'm very excited about the new update. One quick question, does it also include the ability to hear like the most popular theme music, the Monday Night ba, ba, ba, bam soundtrack whenever you play a Monday Night Game?

And then I've got a follow-up on just an NFL current news question.

Chip Lang: Well I can answer the Monday Night - we don't have the license with Monday Night Football. Obviously that's a separate intellectual property.

We're presenting the game EA Sports style, which means John, it means Al and it means the EA Sports central, which is kind of the place that the game is driven out of. So look to hear the stuff that you're going to hear on the air with regard to John and Al and look for EA Sports to kind of be the presenting network of that broadcast, which is again what our gamers are expecting.

Keith Hargrove: Well that's great. That's a - actually the follow-up is just, you guys were talking about the history and a little bit of the game of the League.

You know one thing that I'm sort of chagrin about is, I mean, I used to follow the Cowboys a lot and I can remember the day, this is kind of sad, but Staubach retired and I was all sad and sitting in front of the TV. And, you know, my Dad telling me, you know, “Look all things come to an end.”

But I also remember that we had groomed this guy who had always stuck around and was groomed and it was Danny White and so I felt a little bit better and was going to start rooting for them anyway. In today's League, you just don't get that.

I mean, people move every three years if not sooner. And what are your feelings on that and is there any other trend other than the way it's already going?

John Madden: You know, that's the trend and you have to, you know, I think as a coach in an organization, I think you have to get players in, put them together quickly and play well quickly. You don't get these long-term, you know, five-year programs anymore.

And I think as a fan you darn near, you know, have to learn to watch it that way because that's what it is. And I think through the game and I think the people, you know, our gamers that play the game, they're used to that. I mean they're used to, you know, one year again you take a - you know, I made the example of Drew Bledsoe.

He's the quarterback for the New England Patriots and now part of the game is you placed Drew Bledsoe in ((inaudible)) Buffalo and playing for Buffalo. And that's the way you learn to watch it.

Now, I mean it's easy to say, “Well in the old days it was a lot better. You know, we had more tradition, we had…” But we're not going back to that. Those days are over. We're not going to see them anymore. So if we're not going to see them anymore, and we're not going back to them, then we better enjoy them as they are today.

Keith Hargrove: True enough.

Al Michaels: It's pretty much the same - it's the same in all sports too. It's not just something that's indigenous to football. You're seeing it in every sport.

It's difficult to remember who's playing on what team. And there's an upside to it and a downside. The downside is, you know, that it isn't the way it was in the old days when you were growing up and you could kind of watch your team evolve. The upside is that if you're team is not a very good or not a very competitive team one year, they could win the Super Bowl the following year, or the Stanley Cup, or the World Series.

It's just the nature of what's taken place through the years. And you know, even though - you mentioned the situation with Staubach and Danny White waiting in the wings, you know, guys do wait in the wings these days except they only wait there about two months.

I mean I think of the Tampa Bay situation a couple of years ago. Here's (Fred Dolfer), now the guy waiting in the wings is Shaun King. But he's waiting in the wings only half a season. Then he is sent to the top spot, he plays well enough, even though, you know, granted defensively they were extremely strong and that's the primary reason they got to the NFC Championship Game, but indeed Shaun King came very close to quarterbacking the team in the Super Bowl when they lost to St. Louis.

Now here's the guy who was waiting in the wings who was singed, but the next year he's back in the wings again because they go out and they get Brad Johnson. And now he may be ascending again.

So it's kind of crazy the way it's worked out. Things just happen at warp speed now and as John says, that's the way it is and we're just not going back.

Keith Hargrove: Thank you guys.

Operator: Thank you and that's all the questions we have for today and at this time I'll turn the call back over to Mr. Chip Lang.

Chip Lang: Well, I would just like to wrap up and say thanks to John and Al for spending the time today. You know we here at EA Sports are excited to welcome the new audio dream team of Madden 2003.

John mentioned earlier, you know you've got something right when you've got butterflies in your stomach and you're just tilted off your axis and you're excited. We're that way right now at EA Sports about how this game is shaping up.

It feels like it's got the right mix of the right people, the right technology and the right fan base to really be something that's going to deliver on the excitement of NFL action. We're thrilled to be a part of this. We're thrilled to be providing this to the consumer.

John talked earlier, “if it's in the game, it's in the game.” I think this is just another example of how that's true with Madden Football.

Any of you that have got more questions, certainly log into Over the next couple of weeks you will be seeing some more additional announcements on Madden 2003 and how it's pulling together.

So I would just like to close and say thanks to John and Al for being here today and for being part of this product. We're looking forward to a great year. It's going to be a great NFL season and it's going to be a great season with EA Sports and Madden 2003.

Operator: And that concludes today's conference and thank you for participating.

John Madden: Thank you.

Al Michaels: Thank you. END

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