I’m more interested in games as powerful simulation tools than in (American) football, but there you have it. Of course, since football players have been using EA titles for training, perhaps this is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I remember being told of informal research on the relative abilities of highly skilled (but non-athlete) gamers vs. collegiate football players with little videogame experience in playing EA Sport’s NCAA Football. Against expectations, I’m told, the football players quickly became very competitive and often out-performed the gamers, after a brief period of mastering the interface. I haven’t been able to find any more information about this study; perhaps it was just a few kids in a dorm room.