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Pro Football

Bucs' Bryant Claims Crown At Madden Bowl

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: March 23, 2013 at 02:09 PM
TAMPA -

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a dynasty.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Antonio Bryant defeated New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck in the 15th annual Madden Bowl video game championship, 28-7, on Thursday night at the Honey Spot in Ybor City.

Bucs players have won three of the past four Madden Bowls, and five overall. Teammate Alex Smith won the tournament in 2006 and 2007.

Bryant, who played as the Dallas Cowboys, said he spent hours preparing for the tournament. It paid off.

"I think I played the better defense of anybody tonight," Bryant said. "We're all family. We're just here to have fun."

In a battle of the Antonios, Bryant topped San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates in the semifinals. Tuck beat Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Ware to make the finals.

Two players in the Super Bowl, Pittsburgh's Willie Parker and Arizona's Edgerrin James, were eliminated in the first round.

"We have curfew so I had to let him win," Parker said after losing to Bryant.

Earlier, there was a 30-minute rain delay, but the weather didn't stop some of the event's staff from getting an early start.

The disc jockey spun the latest in hip-hop and pop music while the bartenders prepared the counter for NFL stars, celebrities and even the average Joe.

A handful of fans that purchased advanced tickets patiently waited in the rain to watch their favorite stars walk down the red carpet.

The celebs included a slew of football players.

The list included Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew, University of Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford and Bucs linebacker Derrick Brooks.

Former heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield was there, as was "Monday Night Football" color analyst and former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski.

Stafford said he's never played Madden NFL on a Xbox 360, and Brooks said the folks at EA Sports, creator of the popular video game, have not done his computerized caricature justice.

"I tell them all the time they're a little bit off," he joked. "He doesn't give me that extra 2 percent I need."

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