He's IN the Game: Windermere resident part of Madden NFL 17 broadcast duo

Windermere resident Charles Davis, an NFL and college football analyst for Fox Sports, is part of the commentary duo for the latest installment of the Madden NFL video game franchise.

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  • | 12:00 p.m. September 1, 2016
Charles Davis shows off the finished product of Madden NFL 17 at EA Sports’ offices in Maitland. Davis was part of the broadcast team for this edition of the popular video game franchise.
Charles Davis shows off the finished product of Madden NFL 17 at EA Sports’ offices in Maitland. Davis was part of the broadcast team for this edition of the popular video game franchise.
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MAITLAND Through his work as an on-air analyst for Fox Sports covering NFL and college football, Charles Davis has had the opportunity to cover plenty of high-profile events over the years.

The Windermere resident and former NFL defensive back has, among other things, been a part of broadcast teams covering NFL games, the NFL Draft, college football national championships and the NCAA Tournament.

Through that work, Davis regularly appears on television and also is often a guest on sports-talk radio programs of all sizes — from national to local.

With all of that said, as far as Davis’ son — Rollins College freshman basketball player Parker Davis — and his friends are concerned, all those achievements pale in comparison to his latest project.

Alongside play-by-play announcer Brandon Gaudin, Davis is the newest color commentator for the enormously popular Madden NFL video game franchise, lending his analysis to Madden NFL 17, which was released last week.

“I’ve done a lot of things, and I’ve been lucky in my career,” Davis said with a laugh. “But telling (my son) I got this, for the first time I felt like the ‘cool factor’ was there — that he thought I was halfway cool. And not just him, but his friends (too).”

Beyond the prestige of filling a role that has previously been performed by some legends of the broadcast booth, Davis said he has been struck by the power of the Madden brand through his work. 

When he was awarded the job in October 2015, he signed a nondisclosure agreement until the announcement of the broadcast team in June 2016. So, as Davis went about his usual work of covering the NFL last season and doing prep interviews with players, he was amazed at how often the game organically came up in conversation.

“It’s ubiquitous in the business,” Davis said, adding that “guys are really serious about their Madden ratings.”

Davis was contacted about the auditioning process for the job in mid-2015 and, given the game’s brand and his own familiarity with it, he was interested in giving it a shot. Once Davis had completed the first audition at EA Sports’ offices in Maitland, though, what had been a casual interest became a goal.

“(After the) first audition, I walked out of there, climbed into the car, and I remember vividly thinking, ‘I really want this,’” Davis said.

After a second audition, this time with Gaudin, Davis got the job. From there, a months-long recording process began.

“I imagined it being tedious — but it’s way more detailed than I even thought,” Davis said. “We have a writer who will outline, ‘OK, today we’re going to go over red-zone touchdown passes’ — and we’ll have (to call) it from the 10-yard line in, from the 15-yard line in, and so on.”

Indeed, Davis and Gaudin were responsible for trying to cover every possible scenario with any number of variables. 

Additionally, the broadcast duo will return to the booth periodically, as they did Aug. 29, to record small updates that game owners can download to keep the commentary content fresh. That day, for example, the pair recorded an updated dialogue on San Diego Chargers draft pick Joey Bosa, who had ended his contract holdout and joined the team for training camp that morning.

Creating a game experience in which the user isn’t able to reliably predict what the announcers will say next is a tedious and intensive process — and it goes beyond just time in the booth to Gaudin and Davis doing their homework, as well.

“What people don’t realize, I think a lot of times analysts get pegged as guys who just show up on Saturdays or Sundays, take their knowledge from when they played and translate that onto your television,” Gaudin said. “There may some guys that do that, but Charles doesn’t do that. … He is watching film, he is studying. He is a constant student of the game.”

If what Gaudin and Davis did was tedious, the overall process of creating Madden NFL 17 is something else entirely. Davis said that, over the months he has been involved with the game and its production, he has been grateful to be a part of the culture at EA Sports in Maitland, where the game is made.

“They love working on this franchise, and they love working with each other,” Davis said. “They’re the type of people that they may walk out of here at night, but it’s never far from their mind.  … It’s not just a job.”

With all that in mind and with the knowledge of what the game means to so many, Davis shows humility when he talks about the role the broadcast duo actually plays within the gaming experience.

“We just don’t want to get in the way of the enjoyment of people playing the game,” he said.


Contact Steven Ryzewski at [email protected].


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