Panthers cornerback Charles Tillman loves Mario, Madden, and yes, Sharknado

Charles Tillman
Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez/Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers cornerback Charles Tillman was 10 years younger the last time he faced off against Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl. He was with the Chicago Bears then, and Manning quarterbacked the Indianapolis Colts to a Super Bowl victory. This time around, Tillman is facing a much older Manning, and he’s a defensive star on a Carolina Panthers team that’s only lost one game all season.

In addition to preparing for Super Bowl 50, Tillman is helping Instigate Labs launch a new digital platform called Moment. The app and website has been designed for NFL, MLB, and NBA players to directly connect with fans through 30-60 second personalized videos. At the same time, fans donate money to the athlete’s charity of choice. In Tillman’s case, it’s his Cornerstone Foundation, which helps chronically ill children pay their hospital bills.

Tillman told Digital Trends all about Moment, Super Bowl, Madden, and movies in this exclusive interview.

Digital Trends: How do you see athletes getting involved with Moment and raising money for charity?

Charles Tillman: When you shoot your video it’s literally a 30 – 60 second video. It doesn’t really take away from your daily schedule, and it’s all about how much time do you want to put in. What all do you want to get out of Moment? Are you really trying to raise money for your cause or for your charity? Me, I’m passionate about anything I put my name on, so I’m definitely locked in and depending on how many Moments I get, I’ll try to go above and beyond. I like to have fun with Moment. I make them real personal. It’s fun being unique, being creative.

What’s your favorite Super Bowl experience?

I’d have to say game day, opening kickoff. That’s my greatest Super Bowl memory, watching Devin Hester run back the opening kickoff for a touchdown. After that I thought we had won the game. I thought the game was going to be over.

What’s your Madden video game background?

I’ll put it to you like this. I used to play video games, but I got four kids now and they don’t allow me to play those games. I still buy them, because I’m in them, but I’m not that good at them. And when I do play a game, I’m a Call of Duty guy, which I play very badly.

EA Sports Madden NFL 16 picked the Panthers to win the Super Bowl in their simulation 24-20.

That’s great. Peyton Manning beat us last time I was in the Super Bowl.

What are your thoughts on how realistic the Madden game is today versus what it was when you were a kid playing?

“Sharknado might be the dumbest movie in the world, but I find it hilarious.”

I’m a Nintendo guy. That was my generation. That was my era. The games are so real today, very realistic. I think it’s easier to get involved with a game because of the graphics today. I’m not a tech guy. I don’t know how graphics work or anything like that, but I’m sure there’s a lot of time and creativity that goes into these games to make them as realistic as possible with facial features, expressions, people moving their eyebrows, details like that. That’s one thing I could actually appreciate with video games now.

It’s a far cry from NES days.

Yeah. I used to be a Mario and Duck Hunt guy. It was just a bunch of pixels, but now when you see me in a new Madden video game it looks just like me. They’ve got my dreads, they’ve got my tattoos. Like they literally have me to a “T” and it’s perfect. They’ve got my dance celebration, they’ve got my moves. It’s kind of crazy, but at the same time it’s fun; it’s exciting for me to be in a video game.

Have you ever checked to see if they got your “peanut punch” correct in the game?

I haven’t, but somebody Tweeted out that they have peanut punch move. If you play with my team and you’re using me and I have a special move. I thought that was kind of cool. I had my own game changer move in Madden.

What’s a favorite Madden video game memory from back when you used to play the game growing up?

“I used to be a Mario and Duck Hunt guy.” 

I was obsessed with Madden in high school. It was like, “My name is Charles Tillman and I’m addicted to Madden.” And I went until like ’96, ’97 Sega Genesis. (Yells) Sega! I was killing it.  Me and my homeboys used to play all the time, and back then I thought those were the best graphics in the world. You know what I’m saying? And now it’s just like each year they get better and better. But back in ’96, ’97, that was my time to play it.

Sega Genesis was back when the ambulance would drive onto the field and run over NFL players in the process.

Yes. Yes. Yes. Parents would freak out if that were to happen now.

What do you like to do for fun when you’re away from football these days?

Movies. Movies all day long. I’m a big movie guy. I watch any movie. Have you seen Sharknado?

Syfy Network
Syfy Network

Yeah, there are three of them now.

I know. I saw the preview for the third one on Netflix like literally two nights ago. It’s probably going to be one of my movies I watch when I’m out here.

They’re popular, or Syfy wouldn’t keep making them.

It might be the dumbest movie in the world, but I find it hilarious. Me and my kids are watching Sharks in a tornado in New York taking over Manhattan like it was a real thing.

They’re making Sharknado 4.

I would love to be in one of the Sharknados just because they’re so fun. That’s my new goal in life, to be in Sharknado.

Super Bowl win, Sharknado cameo. What other types of movies do you like?

I’m passionate about anything I put my name on.

I like anything, man. I’m real big into the documentaries. I think documentaries capture the real life true essence of whatever the director is trying to shoot. I like comedies. I’m not so much into romance, or “rom coms,” as they say. I like thrillers. I like action.

Do you have a favorite genre?

I love zombie movies. I love horror movies. Love them. Absolutely love them. I’ll go see a horror movie at midnight by myself.  My wife won’t go with me, so I can get the full effect of getting the hell scared out of me. I went to see The Conjuring opening night whenever it came out by myself at midnight. It scared the ever living, you know what out of me. Like I had quarter pound of doodoo in my drawers when I left. That movie was so scary, but again I knew going into it I was going to be scared because I saw the previews and it’s just like, it shook me, but again I love scary movies. I don’t know why I do this to myself, but I love scary movies.

DT wishes Tillman the best of luck in the Super Bowl this Sunday.


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