In the grim darkness of the NFL offseason, there are only unimportant social media debates.
We’re so tantalizingly close to training camp, where tangible, meaningful football news will materialize. The pads will come on, the roster battles will play out, and the regular season hype train will leave the station. Until that glorious moment, apparently Madden player ratings matter.
On Monday, EA Sports announced the player ratings for each franchise ahead of the game’s August 2nd release. Naturally, Twitter users handled this information with trademark levelheadedness and grace, and there were no signs of homerism at all. While I do disagree with many of the ratings, I also don’t particularly care, and neither should anyone else. These ratings are a minor conversation piece before actual football comes back and proves them irrelevant.
While the ratings have numerical backing, and countless hours are spent balancing the game, many factors contribute to a player’s success. Scheme fit is important, as is unit cohesion. An offensive lineman that works in unison with his battle-brothers will elevate the unit as a whole, regardless of his individual score. And one can never be sure how a player will perform with a new team, or how quickly a rookie will acclimate to the NFL. Recall that Phillip Lindsay was an undrafted rookie and wasn’t on the radar at all last year before rushing for over 1,000 yards and making the Pro Bowl. Rookie projections are almost certainly based on draft capital, college success, and recency bias.
Unsurprisingly, most of the top players for Madden 20 are who fans might expect. Patrick Mahomes (97) is the top-ranked quarterback, closely followed by Tom Brady (96). Aaron Rodgers checks in at the seventh highest quarterback, with an even 90. Rodgers not being a top-five QB turned heads, but keep in mind that at this time last year, Mahomes had a 77 rating. EA has buttloads of money, but even it doesn’t have access to divination. There is no reason for Green Bay Packers fans, or any franchise fans, to feel slighted.
The Madden 19 Club Champion won the tournament by playing the Oakland Raiders. Like in real football, the offseason numbers won’t define the story.
For the record, I do have my biases, and there are many ratings I disagree with. Davante Adams is rated lower than both Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. Corey Linsley is criminally underrated, along with Mike Daniels and Blake Martinez. But ultimately, it doesn’t matter. I know how good these players are. Anyone that follows the Packers knows how good they are. My favorite players are better than anyone else’s favorite players. I don’t need Electronic “ruins franchises” Arts to tell me which players have value.
By writing this piece and discussing the ratings of my favorite team, EA did get their wish. It’s being discussed and shared. Usually, it’s best to ignore these minor blips and move on, but sometimes, it’s just more fun to discuss.
Madden numbers won’t make a team win the Super Bowl, and they won’t determine the MVP. They’re just part of a successful, if overrated, sport’s game franchise. In other news, I’ll be playing NFL Street, the greatest NFL game of all time, until the regular season starts.Matt Hendershott is a Packers fan and Miller High Life enthusiast from Northwest Ohio. He has a Master of Arts in Media and Communication from Bowling Green State University. You can follow him on Twitter @MattHendershott.