The NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles are currently the best team in the league with a 10-1 record. What is the secret of their success? Lots of hard work and dedication to their craft, of course, but also a healthy dose of Grand Theft Auto.
CJ Gardener-Johnson, a safety for the Eagles, told the New York Times that he and his teammates play GTA Online during their downtime and it helps build chemistry. “It’s kind of like our secret sauce,” he said.
Joining Gardener-Johnson are defensemen Darius Slay and Avonte Maddox, and linebackers Haason Reddick and Shaun Bradley. Offensive tackle Jordan Mailata also plays.
“At the end of the day, it just builds a friendship,” Reddick said. “Then when you come onto the field, we’re all happy for each other and we all want each other to be okay.”
Another appeal of playing GTA Online with teammates is the ability not to constantly talk about football, Reddick said.
Gardener-Johnson, who owns esports team 2X Global, spent $10,000 on his home gaming setup, NYT reported. The athlete also credits video games with helping him shift his attitude and mindset to be less of a trash talker than he had been in previous seasons in the NFL.
“That’s why I haven’t been so loud this year,” he said. “I was just calm and relaxed. I just want to play soccer, come home and play video games.”
This isn’t the first time video games have been partially credited with improving an NFL team’s team chemistry. Previously, NFL star JuJu Smith-Schuster said he and his teammates had won three straight Warzone games and used that momentum to improve their performance on the field this season.
In other news, NFL player Blake Martinez sold one of the most valuable Pokémon cards at auction for almost $700,000, then promptly withdrew.
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