Just after an independent study clause was removed from Kyler Murray’s massive new contract, the focus was brought back onto the Arizona Cardinals quarterback’s love of video games in a unique way.
A lot has been made about Murray’s commitment, or alleged lack thereof, to football when he’s off the field during and after the NFL season. He never wanted to close the door on a potential return to baseball, and would frequently stream his gaming endeavors on his Twitch channel.
The interest in the latter clearly created concern in the minds of the Cardinals’ front office, who implemented a clause in Murray’s five-year, $230 million contract that would require four hours of “independent study” time per week that could not be interrupted by TV, internet, or, arguably the most important piece, video games.
But, when the clause was made public, Murray wound up as a laughing stock around the league, and even expressed his displeasure publicly in a press conference during training camp.
So, the Cardinals quickly acted, opting to remove the clause from the star quarterback’s new deal entirely.
“After seeing the distraction it created, we removed the addendum from the contract,” the Cardinals said in a statement. “It was clearly perceived in ways that were never intended. Our confidence in Kyler Murray is as high as it’s ever been and nothing demonstrates our belief in his ability to lead this team more than the commitment reflected in this contract.”
Just when everyone thought the situation was over, a Reddit user came to the rescue to reignite the fire.
Someone actually spent time analyzing Murray’s play when Call of Duty would hold Double XP events, comparing the quarterback’s stats during normal weeks to his performances when the popular gaming franchise would hold its promotional events.
Unfortunately for Murray, it didn’t exactly help his case.
His passer rating went down by almost eight percent, his passing yards went down by six yards per game, and his completion percentage went down slightly. He went from an 18-16-1 record to 4-7.
Obviously, there are millions of other factors to consider, like the Cardinals’ opponents in those games and Murray’s health given the injuries he’s dealt with since entering the league, and it’s hard to believe a video game is truly impacting a player’s performance that much.
But, with all of the conversation around Murray’s off-the-field habits, however tame they may be, it is a hilarious argument to dive into.
With so much talent around him, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Murray turn those stats around quickly this year as Call of Duty players celebrate the release of the 2022 version of Modern Warfare 2.
But, in the meantime, the Cardinals’ opponents are likely in touch with Modern Warfare 2 publisher Activision to see if they can have a Double XP weekend lining up with a specific Sunday between September and January.