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USF's Madden master ready to dominate
By Jay Cridlin, tbt* Staff Writer
Published October 5, 2007
USF sophomore Jet Steele is among the contestants on Season 3 of Madden Nation, premiering at 11:30 p.m. Oct. 9 on ESPN2.
If you had to design a professional badass from scratch, it'd be tough to come up with a better name than Jet Steele.
Which is why when you ask if Jet Steele has a nickname, he says his nickname is ... Jet Steele.
"With a name like that, you really don't need one," he admits.
An all-county quarterback at Chamberlain High School, Steele doesn't fit the profile of your average semipro video game champ. Nevertheless, Steele, a 20-year-old junior at USF, is among the contestants on the third season of ESPN's Madden Nation, which pits top-level Madden NFL players against one another.
So we asked him to drop a little Madden NFL 08 knowledge on the rookies among us.
First question: Do you get a lot of questions about your name?
Pretty much every day, almost. All my teachers, people I meet. They just think it's a nickname. I've just got to repeat it many times. I have two sisters, Star and Sky Steele, and my brother's name is Titan. Our whole family has weird names.
Are you a better real football player or virtual football player?
It's hard to say. I had a couple of scholarship opportunities - I played basketball and baseball as well - and I could have gone up north to a lot of schools. But I'm 5-foot-9, so to play Division I quarterback at 5-9 is pretty hard.
At this point, are your buddies sick of playing Madden with you?
My good friends, I don't play anymore. I show them tips, but they're not very good competition. My brother used to be my main competition, but he says I cheat. So my competition is the top names in Madden - we go back and forth every day. I play online with the top players in the nation. I pretty much don't play anyone I don't know. It's a waste of time, in my opinion.
Give me some tips that regular players can use to boost their game.
Regular players play at the house, they'll play franchise mode, they'll play the computer. The way to get better is to go online. I could play someone online, and he could be a horrible player, but there might be something good he does to stop my offense. It shows what gives you problems and what doesn't. And I go to practice mode a lot - I'll play with two controllers. I'll set the defense, then I'll put it down and run my offensive play. I pretty much have an audible for every type of play.
Do you believe in the Madden curse?
(pause) I'm not going to say I believe in it, but I don't know. I guess you could say I believe in it.
Like, if they were going to put you on the cover, would you take it?
Yeah, I'd probably take it. Just to try to prove that there isn't a curse. Who wouldn't want to be on the Madden cover? It's the most popular game in North America.
Finally, I'll give you two choices: You can walk on with the USF Bulls right now, or you could get a slot in the Madden Bowl at next year's Super Bowl. Which do you take?
Walk on with USF. Definitely. I'd give anything. If I could redo school again, I'd go back to college to play football. I miss it more than anything, by far. I love Madden, don't get me wrong, but the real deal's a lot better.