New York Giants star linebacker Michael Boley and his wife, Kanesha, have a coordinated plan: Whenever he's playing "Call of Duty," she's usually out of the house shopping.
That was the case last Tuesday, when Boley didn't have to report to work -- the same day "Call of Duty: Black Ops II" debuted around the world, raking in $500 million in just 24 hours.
At his house in Edgewater, N.J., Boley -- who has been an obsessive "COD" fan since 2009's "Modern Warfare 2" and plays roughly 30 hours a week -- set up shop in his first-floor living room and rang up his online buddies, a clan he created in ’09 called "GIAG," short for "Get It And Go."
Interestingly, Boley hasn't met most of them in person, only online through playing "Halo" before he got into "COD." They play pretty much every day, with around 10 total gamers active at any given time from Long Island to Georgia to Arizona and beyond.
As for GIAG's record, Boley said they've been slowly adjusting to "Black Ops II," but they're preparing to dominate soon.
"In this game, it’s new, so we’ve been struggling a little bit," says Boley, a father of seven who keeps around eight video game systems in his three-floor pad. "But overall, there’s definitely been a lot more wins than losses."
There's good reason why Boley calls himself a "fanatic" of the franchise. In years past, he has even waited in line at the local GameStop to pick up the new game the day of its release.
While Boley fired at foes on his Xbox 360 this past Tuesday, ESPN Playbook fired questions at the reigning Super Bowl champ.
When you were growing up, was there one shooter game that got you hooked to the genre?
"Contra" was definitely one of my favorite shooting games. After that, I didn’t really play many shooting games. It was all about sports: "Madden," playing basketball. I loved baseball growing up, so I used to play "R.B.I. Baseball" and stuff like that.
You were previously a big "Halo" fan, so what made you switch to "Call of Duty"?
Just the game play, the guns. "Call of Duty" is taking like real-life guns and throwing them in the game. Just having the ability to upgrade them and add different perks to them. It was definitely something I like doing.
What's the longest stretch you've played?
The longest I’ve played was in ’09 when "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2" came out. I got on at midnight and I played until 8:30 in the morning. It came out on Tuesday at midnight and I didn’t have to go to work. Literally, I went straight through, got off at like 8:30, took a nap and got back on at like 11 o’clock.
Do you play on the road?
Nah, but some of my teammates do. Actually, when I’m on the road, I know if I do take it I’m going to be up all night, so I’d rather not. I want to make sure I get my rest.
Who would you say is your biggest gaming challenger outside of your teammate Ahmad Bradshaw, in pro sports?
Oh man. I don’t know. I mean, the guys I play with, they’re all pretty good. They spend a lot more time on the game than I do.
Have you noticed the game getting more popular with athletes?
Yeah. It’s definitely becoming a bigger thing because obviously it’s fun. I feel like it’s a great way for guys to interact, not with just guys on your team, but guys from different sports, other teams.
Does playing help you at all with football preparation?
Hand-eye coordination. Some people can’t play video games without actually seeing the buttons. It actually helps you focus on one thing, while you’re doing something else.
Have you ever had a moment after a Giants loss when you wanted to take out your frustration in the game?
Yeah. I can take out my frustration on the game, kill a few people, have some fun while doing it.
What is your favorite memory playing?
It was funny, playing "Call of Duty 4," one of the guys I played with was a teammate and then we had a bunch of our guys on our clan, and everyone used to claim they were the best. And so, what we did was we started ranking ourselves with our clan tag. Our goal was to see who could be king of the mountain for the longest. That was definitely a fun memory because we carried that out for a while. You could challenge someone for their spot, like if you were the third-placed guy, you could go up.
If I wanted to join your clan, what are the requirements?
There’s a screening process. If we don’t have a full party, we’ll let someone join our party, see how they play. We feel like if they play pretty well, we’ll let them join.
What do you look at?
We definitely look at like kill-death ratio and all that. But if they’re pretty good, we’ll be like, "Yeah, you can join our clan."
You talk trash?
We always talk trash. It’s never-ending talk.
Anything you say a lot?
"Get it and go." That’s my phrase to the guys, especially when we’re ready to play a game. It’s, "let’s go."
If you were developing the next game, any ideas you have for additions or improvements?
I definitely love the mix of guns, like the newer guns and then you throw in some of the older guns, from like "Call of Duty 4" and the first "Modern Warfare." Those guns were amazing. And I guess just the boards. Each person, especially most of us, we all have a couple different boards that we absolutely love to play. Like we’ll skip all the other boards just to get this board.
That was in "Call of Duty 4." We loved playing “Shipment,” and we’ve been talking for the longest like, "Man, they should bring 'Shipment’ back. It was a great map." It happens every year, like especially with us. It’ll be a couple boards where we’re like, "I hate this board, let’s skip it."
What has impressed you about this game's boards?
A lot of them. I mean, just as far as the size of the maps. There are so many different entrances to each part of the map, so you definitely got to get used to it.
Think you can get your coach, Tom Coughlin, hooked on "Call of Duty"?
Yeah, right. I mean, he may as well. He’s big on the military and stuff, so I wouldn’t be surprised. He definitely has a warrior mentality, I can say that.
See a video of Boley in action at his New Jersey home below: