For the second straight year, the former No. 1 NFL Draft pick from the University of Tennessee and the son of former NFL Quarterback Archie Manning will appear on the game's packaging and merchandising. As the driving force behind Microsoft Corp.'s best-selling football franchise, Manning spent countless hours during the game's development relaying years of Manning family football wisdom and expertise to "NFL Fever 2003" producers.
"Last year, I was amazed how realistic 'NFL Fever 2002' was, but with this year's improved gameplay, added features and the introduction of online play, Microsoft may have truly outdone itself," Manning said. "I recently got the chance to play against Matt Hasselbeck online using Xbox Live. I couldn't believe I was playing a video game and communicating with Matt clear across the country. I can't wait to start battling the guys on our team both in person and online using Xbox Live."
Veteran play-by-play announcer Kevin Calabro joins Manning in "NFL Fever 2003." Calabro, whom gamers know from Microsoft's basketball franchise "NBA Inside Drive" and sports fans know as the voice of the NBA's Seattle SuperSonics, is making his debut in "NFL Fever 2003." Joining Calabro in the booth is former NFL defensive back and "NFL Fever" veteran Ron Pitts.
The new broadcast tandem is just one of the many new wrinkles in the latest installment of "Fever." "NFL Fever 2003" features new online play with Xbox Live, newly added classic NFL teams, the NFL's new eight-division format, the expansion Houston Texans, the new uniforms for the Seahawks and Bills, and the new stadiums for the Bears, Lions, Seahawks and Patriots. Fans also can look forward to current rosters; hidden stadiums; an expanded post-game highlight reel; improved gameplay and animation; and more ways to customize uniforms, playbooks and plays. To find a complete list of the game's features, screen shots, videos and audio clips, NFL Fever fans can log onto http://www.nflfever2003.com.
"'NFL Fever 2002' set the bar for sports games on Xbox," said Pat Cook, sports studio manager for Microsoft Game Studios. "With the return of Peyton Manning, the addition of Kevin Calabro and the introduction of Xbox Live, the best-selling football franchise on Xbox just got better."