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A Lazy, Out-Of-Shape Amateur Won Two More Super Bowls Than Tony Romo

The list of sub-par quarterbacks to win the Super Bowl despite being nothing more than “game managers” just grew by one. FiveThirtyEight’s own Walt Hickey has joined the ranks of Brad Johnson, Doug Williams and Trent Dilfer.

Sure, Walt did it in a video game, while the other three did it while wearing cleats in real life, but the taste of victory was just as sweet. Walt’s triumph is courtesy of two Madden savants, Tim Curry and Luke Barr, who answered the call on our sports podcast Hot Takedown a few weeks ago. We laid down a challenge to see if anyone could win it all in Madden NFL 16 with Walt as their quarterback. Curry and Barr turned Walt’s depressing player ratings into a championship.

Below are notes the two victors sent us about their journeys. As promised, we’ll be giving them a shoutout on this week’s podcast and sending them a signed poster of Walt in full pads.

Curry, who won with the Philadelphia Eagles, provides a thrilling game report:

I have done it. After smacking the Cowboys in the divisional game and beating the Seahawks in the NFC championship, Walt Hickey and the Eagles defeated the Buffalo Bills in an epic comeback, 21-17. After falling behind 14-0, Walt threw a pick with less than a minute left in the first half, leading to a Bills field goal. But the Eagles came out swinging in the second half, with Ryan Mathews taking a pitch from Walt 80 yards to the house. In the fourth quarter, Mathews hit another long option run, being caught at the 10. This time DeMarco Murray took it in for 6, bringing the game to 17-14 with just under two minutes to play.

After the Bills recovered the onside kick attempt, the Eagles brought the house to stop the run three times, using up all three timeouts, but getting the ball back at their own 20 with 1:30 left. This time it was a mix of Murray and Mathews leading the way, with Murray taking a short pass 20 yards and Mathews finding another 30 on a pitch. With just under a minute, DeMarco found the end zone to give the Eagles the lead. The defense held, and Walt Hickey was a Super Bowl champion!

And here’s Barr, who won with the Dallas Cowboys:

Some observations:

  • I ended with an 11-5 record, the 2nd seed and a first-round bye.
  • He cannot throw downfield. Any throw more than ten yards downfield was almost always intercepted.
  • The best routes to run were definitely screens and swing passes, he could hit those fairly reliably.
  • Curl routes against bad cornerbacks in man coverage were also okay, but if he missed, it was usually an interception.
  • I chose the Cowboys to play with because I thought the offensive line would help. Joseph Randle led the league in rushing with 1759 yards.
  • Before the season I signed free agents Aldon Smith and Terence Newman and traded a draft pick for CB Josh Robinson. Terence Newman led the league in INTs with 12.
  • Hickey’s quarterback rating of 42.6 was actually better than Matt Flynn’s who had a 40.2 rating on 76 attempts.
  • Of Hickey’s 1872 yards, 1457 were gained after the catch.
  • Here is Walt’s game log, individual stats and team stats.

Walt is galled that, as a New York Giants fan, he won the Super Bowl with the Eagles and Cowboys. But that does make him better than Tony Romo and Sam Bradford. So he’s got that, at least.

And there you have it. Once again, congrats to Tim and Luke. Now please go outside.


Read more: How Madden Helped A Schlub Like Me Make It Into The NFL

Walt Hickey is FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.

Jody Avirgan hosts and produces podcasts for FiveThirtyEight.

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