Micah Parsons isn't just one of the top young players in the NFL. He's also one of the emerging ambassadors for the top NFL video game. Months after teaming up with Vikings star Justin Jefferson to win the virtual "Madden NFL 22" Pro Bowl, the Cowboys pass rusher is in Los Angeles wrapping production on a new commercial for this year's "Madden NFL 23."
In advance of the "Madden NFL 23" release on Aug. 19, and his own return to the field for Cowboys training camp, the reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year spoke with CBS Sports about his "Madden" partnership, 2022 expectations and NFC East rivalries:
Can you tease your role in this "Madden" commercial? Will you be suited up for it?
Parsons: I'm gonna do a couple things to boost my abilities, boost my ratings up a little bit (in "Madden"). I'm gonna be a little bit in uniform. Just tell the people to be ready, and if you're in Franchise mode, to make No. 11 for the Dallas Cowboys your first-round pick.
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Do you foresee any future acting gigs after this commercial?
Parsons: I do. I do. I definitely see myself on TV. People say I got a TV smile, a TV face, so I'm ready to put my acting skills to the test. Acting and obviously broadcasting a game, I just kinda wanna be around the game as long as possible.
You've been around "Madden" for a while. Who's your go-to team when you're playing?
Parsons: I would say probably the Packers, just because their defense is really good on the game. The Packers or the Bucs.
And which quarterback is the best to play with?
Parsons: Either (Patrick) Mahomes or Lamar (Jackson).
How about Dak Prescott?
Parsons: I would say, in the game, he's definitely a top-10 quarterback to play in the game.
What did you make of "Madden" returning the late John Madden to the cover for this year's game?
Parsons: You know, I thought it was pretty amazing, not only because of his passing -- R.I.P. -- but when you love the game, you understand why John is the cover of the game. He (did) everything possible to stay around the game and love the game and even help others understand the game. He made so many people around the world love the game. For 'Madden' to do that, that was a great thing for them to do, because of how much we love this game, not just in real life but online with friends. I think this year 'Madden' just represents the love of the game, putting John on the cover, because that's what he's about.
Have you had a chance to play "Madden NFL 23" yet?
Parsons: I played the beta. I think this is gonna be a way better game, definitely defensively. Offense is definitely a little harder to play this year, but as a defensive player, I love that you can't just rely on cheesy plays and stuff like that to be good in the game. It's definitely gonna be skills-based, which last year's wasn't; it was just like, who could throw it deep?
What specifically stood out in terms of the defensive play being better?
Parsons: This (new feature) FieldSENSE, the zones are way better, people understand where they're supposed to be on the field, the way they're able to grab routes.
And what are the chances you're the "Madden" cover athlete next year?
Parsons: Oh man, I'm not sure, I heard about this Madden Curse. But man, a Madden cover would be a dream come true. Seeing some of the greatest players come on that cover, that would def be a dream come true.
In terms of your real playing career, how do you handle the high expectations after your star rookie season?
Parsons: I just take the blessings that God gave me. I don't feel like I need to reach anyone's expectations but my own. If I can live with it, I can deal with it. I'm gonna just go out there and play my game. I don't wanna go out there and chase no one's story, I just gotta do my thing, and that's what got me here and that's what I'm gonna keep doing.
But do you have any numbers in mind for 2022, after hitting 13 sacks as a rookie?
Parsons: Yeah, 15's like the minimum. 15's what I wanna hit. But definitely 23 is that goal, to break the record.
Your Cowboys, meanwhile, are getting the least amount of bets among NFC East teams to win the division. What's your reaction to that?
Parsons: I don't care, because we were overlooked last year. And that just comes with the game. We're just gonna focus on the final 52, 53 that's on the Dallas Cowboys in that room and get better every week. We just gotta control how to get better every week, and hope that you lose your money.
Among those NFC East rivals, which of the Eagles, Giants and Commanders look the toughest for 2022?
Parsons: I think they all got really good competition. I mean, this is the NFL. It's gonna come down to who can execute.
Which of the rival QBs is easiest to sack?
Parsons: I don't think none of them's too easy. It's really hard. I mean, (Carson) Wentz is back in the division and hasn't been there. I never touched Daniel Jones, either. Never touched Daniel Jones; I think he got hurt our game and he didn't even play at all after that. And then Wentz, I never played him. We touched (Jalen) Hurts a little bit, but I had COVID the last game. These guys are really new to me, to be honest.
Last question: Who has more big plays this year, you or Trevon Diggs?
Parsons: Hmm, me. I told Tre I might lead the team in picks this year. We don't got no money on it, but I've been really practicing my hands this year to get my hands on a couple picks this year.