Like everyone’s life right now, Teddy Bridgewater’s day-to-day activities are….a little unusual.
Instead of going to the team facility to continue an offseason workout program, working out with pass catchers or even at the gym with a trainer, Bridgewater is – like the rest of the world – self-quarantining at home in Miami due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has shut down the world as the population tries desperately to “flatten the curve” in the face of the rapidly-spreading virus. But just because he’s at home doesn’t mean he’s not still working.
On a ‘virtual press conference’ with the Charlotte media Thursday, the Panthers new starting quarterback was able to provide a few details into what he’s been doing.
“I’ve just been able to train around the house [with my own] equipment,” said Bridgewater via teleconference. “The squat rack, the treadmill, bands, things like that – I’m just staying active in the house and in the garage. I have three flights of stairs that I can run up and down, so I’m just staying active that way.”
It’s a far cry from the offseason training program he’d been undergoing with former teammate Drew Brees and former MLB pitcher Tom House – who has worked with Tom Brady and Cam Newton in the past – and while he’s limited to shoulder prep by Miami’s city-wide ‘shelter in place’ order, he’s been keeping himself busy in other ways, trying to gain any edge he can to stay sharp when he is eventually allowed to meet his teammates and coaches in Charlotte.
And like many men in their late twenties when faced with hours of being detained at their own house, Bridgewater is finding comfort in the nostalgia of a vintage controller.
The Panthers $63m man says he’s pulled out the Nintendo 64, which was released when he was only five years old, to resurrect the beauty that is Mario Kart – no word on whether he is a Yoshi or a Mario guy – and when he tires of winning the Star Cup, he gets back to work – at least that’s what he says when he pulls out the PlayStation 2 and plays every Madden between 2001 and 2011.
“I’m just bored in the house, trying not to be too bored,” revealed Bridgewater with a smile. “The old Maddens, I’m not on the game. So I can play with all the vets and all the OGs in the league.”
And it’s not like when you tell your significant other that you’re “working from home” when you’re just scrolling Twitter on your computer with a spreadsheet open in another tab, the 27-year old Bridgewater – when he’s playing the latest iteration of Madden – is learning about his teammates, one pixel at a time.
“You get a feel for the roster, so that’s a huge help,” Bridgewater, who has a 75 overall rating on the latest iteration of the game. “You also have the internet for that – but just being able to play in video games with these guys, DJ Moore, Curtis Samuel, Christian McCaffrey, those guys – you realize how awesome they are in video games and it excites you.
“Man, I can’t wait to [play] with these guys in person.”
For those counting at home, Bridgewater’s 75 rating on Madden 20 is below teammates Moore (84), Samuel (80) and McCaffrey (99). Bridgewater says he feels like “a kid in a candy store” with the weapons the Panthers have put around him – including new free agent acquisition Robby Anderson.
“I’ve heard stories of how hard Christian McCaffrey works, how involved DJ Moore is and Curtis Samuel – I could go down the list. To add Robby [Anderson] to the equation, it’s great to be in the seat that I’m in.”
— Madden NFL 20 (@EAMaddenNFL) March 18, 2020
None of this is new for Bridgewater – as a rookie quarterback in Minnesota in 2014, Bridgewater imported the Vikings playbook into Madden to take as many “virtual reps” as he could. He did the same thing at Louisville, claiming to be almost undefeated at the college game as he used his real playbook, with real gameplans, against upcoming opponents to see how defenses would react to different route combinations.
He’s anxious to get out on the field – or at least up to the Panthers facility – and be able to begin work on learning Joe Brady’s playbook with his teammates, but for now, he’ll have to be satisfied with continuing to take those virtual reps.
“It’s great right now, [but] I can’t wait until we can get going in person,” said Bridgewater, before echoing the sentiment of the entire world in a single sentence. “But until then, I’ll be [playing] video games.”