This is Anthony "Misery" Pulli, a young pro Madden player from Pennsylvania who spent today fighting for a shot at the 2017 Championship. He also spent all of game two gnawing on a chunk of plastic, mesmerising sportscasters in the process.
Misery had a good first game against number two ranked Trueboy, but fell flat against Los in his second match of the day. Heading into the half, he was already trailing his opponent 14-3 after a devastating pick-six doubled the point differential between them.
But the announcers were less interested in Misery's sinking confidence and poor passing game than whatever he was crushing between his molars. One of them thought it must be a piece of gum. The other swore it had to be a straw. Their curiosity and morbid fascination mounted.
Fortunately for them, sideline reporter Drea Avent got right down to business during her halftime chat with Misery. "It's the cap from the water bottle," he muttered. Everyone athlete has their rituals that help them focus on the task at hand and rise to the challenge. For Misery, it's number five plastic.
Avent wasn't satisfied, however, and her line of questioning continued:
"You've made it into some sort of straw, chewing mechanism?" "Yea." "How does it enhance your game when you're chewing on that?" "Uh, it doesn't, I'm getting flooded right now."
Then Avent delivered the spike. "Exactly, maybe you should spit it out," she said. Misery could only continue chewing on on his wad of polypropylene in response.
The truth was revealed, however, and the announcers, Scott Cole and Ryan Glick, were pleased. "We can stop the research team it's a water bottle cap that he's chewing on," said Cole, to which Glick responded, "The crazy thing is I wanted to call it out as being the cap to the water bottle I just didn't know that Misery was that savage to put the thing down like that."
"You gotta go with your initial reads," Cole sagely concluded.
Unfortunately for Misery, his reads, initial or otherwise, didn't hold up against Los any better in the second half, finishing the game with only a field goal to his name and a final scoreline of 20-3. You can re-watch the entire game here and see the current standings for the Madden Championship group stage here.