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Tracking Kyler Murray’s performance during ‘Call of Duty’ events in 2022

Let’s see how Kyler plays in the NFL after he spends a week playing COD.

Kyler Murray is the modern renaissance man. He loves football, baseball, and Call of Duty equally. Over the summer, when the Cardinals signed Murray to a huge new extension, a lot was made of Murray’s “study clause,” a weird caveat in his contract that forced the quarterback to study film and take part in extra-curricular activities.

At the time people made jokes that Murray needed the clause to ensure he spent as much time working on his football game as his COD game, and one intrepid internet user took it a step further. Reddit user u/NegativeBee took the time to chart out Murray’s game performances, and compare them against “double XP” weekends in Call of Duty, with the findings being pretty damning. In short: Murray was markedly worse during special COD weekends.

The Cardinals are now struggling. The team is sitting at 1-2 on the year, with losses to the Chiefs and Rams — really good teams to be sure, but Murray has thus far struggled to be his dynamic self. So, continuing the amazing work of u/NegativeBee we thought it was important to map out Murray’s 2022 campaign, and compare it against what was happening in the world of Call of Duty.

Week 1: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Arizona Cardinals

Call of Duty event: Max Double XP Weekend in Vanguard and Warzone (all platforms)

This was an absolute killer for Murray to start the season. His entire lead-up to the Chiefs in Week 1 happened to coincide with an entire week of Max Double XP, which is the absolute biggest bonus a player can possibly get, and to make matters worse the Cardinals were hosting, ensuring Kyler could keep playing on his home setup.

Murray finished 22-of-34 for 193 yards, and two touchdowns. It wasn’t a terrible game per-se, but the team’s inability to move the ball through the air definitely hurt Arizona keep up with Pat Mahomes and the Chiefs offense.

It should be noted that Murray’s 193 passing yards is a season low for the Chiefs, who have subsequently given up 334 yards to Justin Herbert, and 222 yards to Matt Ryan.

Week 2: Arizona Cardinals at Las Vegas Raiders

Call of Duty event: None

Now we’re back in business. Murray was away, meaning he couldn’t really play on hotel internet — and there was nothing happening in COD to block his way.

You know what? He was more successful. In terms of passer rating Murray took a small step back, but he was in much better command of the Cardinals’ offense, against a much better defense than he faced in Week 1.

Kliff Kingsbury put the entire game on Murray’s shoulders, and he responded by throwing for 277 yards, a touchdown and an interception — while also rushing for a touchdown and another 28 yards. It was his first game with 300+ combined yards since Week 16 of 2021, and Arizona went on to win in overtime for their first victory of the season.

Week 3: Los Angeles Rams vs. Arizona Cardinals

Call of Duty event: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II BETA weekend

The Cardinals returned home in Week 3, and with it another COD-based distraction. Murray was forced to get ready for Aaron Donald and the Rams’ defense while Activision put out the first opportunity for the majority of players to try out the redesign of the 2009 classic entry in the Call of Duty series.

Access to the BETA opened on September 22 for players with early access, which you know Murray had because he definitely preordered the game. This means that beginning on Thursday he had access to the game on his home setup.

Murray threw for a season-high 314 yards, but it took 58 attempts. He also failed to throw or run of a single touchdown, and the Cardinals would lose to the Rams 20-12.

Week 4: Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers

Call of Duty event: Warzone Double XP Weekend (All platforms)

This was an event week for Kyler, but we had some mitigating factors too. This wasn’t a true, max XP weekend like he faced in Week 1 — and Murray was on the road against the Panthers. I’m sticking to my basic assessment here that road games are highly beneficial, even with a COD weekend — because without his home setup the allure just isn’t the same.

In the end it was a functionally fine game, without much special. To be fair, the Panthers defense is much better than it’s given credit for. The secondary is solid, and the Carolina pass rush is decent. It held the Cardinals most of the game, before collapsing in the final 10 minutes and losing.

There was some efficiency from the Cardinals QB, but he didn’t do anything eye-popping, finishing with 203 passing yards for his second-lowest total of the season.

Week 5: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Arizona Cardinals

Call of Duty event: None

To be fair, this was always going to be a difficult game — regardless of Week 5’s Call of Duty status. The Eagles were flying high on a win streak, Arizona was decidedly not. To his credit, no gaming might have helped this one.

Murray finished with 250 passing yards, 42 on the ground, throwing one TD and an interception.

Week 6: Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks

Call of Duty event: None

Back-to-back weeks of no Call of Duty distraction helped Kyler, but not the Cardinals. They lost again, but Kyler really shouldered the burden of the entire offense as he threw for 222 yards and led the team with 100 rushing yards on an efficient 10 carries.

The numbers might not bear it out, but by the sniff test it sure feels like Murray is playing a lot better football when there’s not a Call of Duty event happening during the week.

Kyler Murray vs. Call of Duty

Statistic No Call of Duty Event Call of Duty Event
Statistic No Call of Duty Event Call of Duty Event
Average passing yards 249.5 238
Completion percentage 64 66.1
YPA 5.65 5.75
Average TD 0.66 1.25
Average INT 1 0.25
YPC 8.9 3.3
Average rushing TD 0.33 0.25
Wins 1 1
Losses 2 2

We will continue to update this important scientific work each week to fully track the impact of Call of Duty on Kyler Murray in 2022.