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Maroney tastes defeat

Posted by Chris Forsberg, Boston.com Staff  February 1, 2008 08:15 AM

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  • Click HERE to watch Maroney in action at Madden Bowl XIV

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The last place Patriots running back Laurence Maroney wanted to taste defeat was at Super Bowl XLII. Fortunately, the only game that matters this week isn't until Sunday.

Maroney endured a first-round exit at the eight-man Madden Bowl XIV tournament when Baltimore Ravens running back Willis McGahee won their virtual battle Thursday night at the Martini Ranch.

McGahee went on to win the Madden Bowl title at a tournament that featured pro football players competing head-to-head on the virtual gridiron using EA Sports's Madden NFL 08 for the xBox 360 console.

Maroney had a perfect excuse for losing, however.

"I let him win because I've got curfew," he said. "I gotta get back to the hotel so I don't get in trouble."

McGahee and his Baltimore Ravens may have come closer to handing the Patriots a loss than any other team to date during a Monday-night meeting in early December. That night, the Patriots produced a feverish rally -- and caught a couple of breaks -- to pull off a 27-24 triumph.

On Thursday night, McGahee extracted a measure of virtual revenge. Playing as the Jacksonville Jaguars ( a team the Patriots bested in an AFC Divisional playoff matchup this season), McGahee rumbled to a 21-7 victory over Maroney and his virtual Patriots.

The two star running backs were locked in a defensive stalemate until late in the first half when a pair of Tom Brady interceptions helped McGahee score two touchdowns and open a 14-0 advantage at the intermission.

Maroney and the vaunted Patriots offense couldn't rally this time. Decked out in the same cherry-red Kool-Aid gear from the morning media session, Maroney seemed more concerned with his cell phone and the bevy of text messages he was receiving in the second half than the outcome of the game.

Maroney laughed off the defeat before departing for the night. McGahee, a Madden Bowl finalist three times in recent years, went on to claim his first title by topping Buffalo running back Marshawn Lynch in the finals.

Players and celebrities mingled in a crowded setting as part of Scottsdale's hopping nightlife. Other Madden Bowl competitors included Chad Johnson, Patrick Willis, Jason Witten, Kellen Winslow, and Shawne Merriman.

Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress was scheduled to attend, but did not appear.

Much like our own Boston.com Super Bowl simulation , host EA Sports distributed tapes that featured their own big-game simulation and the Patriots prevailed again.

We'll have video from the Madden event and reaction from Maroney, later in the day.

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