The Madden NFL series may be the most popular sports simulation in the universe but a shocking insult in Madden NFL 11 has provoked a dangerous opponent who's determined to bring it down: a Canadian Football League kicker.
Okay, so maybe it's not quite that bad, but a gentle zinger by in-game announcer Cris Collinsworth did get under the skin of one CFL player. In the latest Madden game, Collinsworth will sometimes react to an out-of-bounds punt by saying, "Unbelievable. The field is 53-and-a-half yards wide and he still missed it. We're going to have to send him to Canada," presumably a reference to the CFL's larger, 65-yard-wide field. But Noel Prefontaine, a kicker/punter with the Edmonton Eskimos, was not amused.
"Obviously Chris has never been to Canada," Prefontaine told the Edmonton Sun. "It's interesting to have that comment on a game considering that it's harder to kick up here. Another thing that contributes to it: You let me know any NFL guy that does all three [kickoffs, place kicking and punting]."
"It's hard to develop all three techniques and do it at a high level," he continued. "If Chris was a kicker and he had to do all three, then I'm sure he would understand where I'm coming from."
He acknowledged that Collinsworth probably didn't have much input on his lines but nonetheless took exception over the "misinformation" contained in the game. "Obviously he doesn't understand that kicking field goals in this league is harder than it is in the NFL because of where the hashes are set, so you deal with tougher angles," Prefontaine said. "But that's fine, it doesn't bother me any. This is the game that I've always played, this is the game that I love and comments like that come from ignorant people that don't really understand what the game is up here and what kickers have to deal with up here."
Not everyone shared Prefontaine's indignation, however. "I play Madden 11 all the time. I beat up on [teammates] Lawrence Gordon and Chris Thompson all day," said Eskimos slotback Fred Stamps. "If the kicker kicks out of bounds, [they say] the field isn't wide enough, they need to send him to Canada or something. That's pretty good."
As Yahoo! Sports pointed out, the Sun did manage to extract a small measure of payback by misspelling Cris Collinsworth's name as "Chris" throughout its entire article.