Lamar Jackson and How EA Continues To Screw Up Franchise Mode

EA recently released a list of the top rookie quarterbacks in their annual hype train countdown to the release of Madden.  This year, they slipped up and unintentionally commented on their simulation formula for Franchise Mode.

‘Lamar Jackson could be the most interesting QB to play as in Madden 19. If you sim a lot of games in Franchise, he’s likely not the best pick at the moment. But holy hell, his base ratings make him fun…’ for more, go to the page here.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens-Minicamp

The issue with this isn’t that Lamar Jackson shouldn’t be rated higher or lower than anyone else.  It is simply the fact that they reference his effectiveness in Franchise Mode to his ratings.  What should continue to worry CFM players is this continuing problem with CFM being tied to overall ratings.  This would be like saying that Michael Vick would be fun to play with but he wouldn’t do much for a team in a simulation.  I’m not saying that Lamar Jackson is Michael Vick, but he is damn close.

This means that EA has not changed their formula of what is important in CFM.  It is still driven by OVR.  This means you won’t have any players that are low rated to start become anything close to superstars.  It also means that the CPU is actually at a competitive disadvantage.  As users, we are able to see certain players with abilities that we can take advantage of – speed, trucking, throw accuracy, hit power, etc.  We can turn a 6th round 67 OVR player into an absolute beast.  The CPU will either cut the player or never play them in a simulation.  Take a look at the practice squads in your Madden 18 CFM – the CPU has some BEASTS that never get a chance to play.  Many of us would snap up these players in a heartbeat.

Until EA makes Madden CFM more nuanced and less dependent on overall ratings I have a feeling we will continue to experience a rather mechanical and less organic CFM experience.

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Madden Ratings System Unveiled

A recent article on FiveThirtyEight.com has helped us understand a bit more about what goes into Madden player ratings.  I wish I could say I am impressed.  Madden is one of the most stale and non-simulation sports games in existence, yet it gets touted as being true to the game.

It has always bothered me that Donny Moore seems to have full power to subjectively up someone’s rating because of one big catch, run or block.  I truly miss 2K Football more and more as I read about Madden and the NFL in general.

Here is the breakdown from FiveThirtyEight –

paine-feature-madden-4

GAME OVR – The Strange Obsession With OVR Ratings In Sports Games

In gaming all ‘ability’ levels are based around number ratings and scales.  The only difference in ratings comes in how they are presented (or not presented) to the user.  Everything from guns in Call of Duty to Spin Ratings for Defensive Tackles in Madden have some sort of numerical value – even if they aren’t presented to you in that fashion, the ratings are numerically based once you dig into the guts and binary code of the game.  That said, there is one rating in-particular that seems to be an obsession with sports gamers… the Overall (OVR) rating.

In Madden NFL, NBA 2K, NHL, FIFA, NCAA Football (RIP), etc. the primary measure of a player’s worth is in his OVR rating.  While the determining factors for a player’s OVR may differ between games it seems that it is the only thing that matters to most sports gamers in determining a player’s value/talent in the given game.  Granted, in Madden and NCAA the other rating of almost equal importance over the last 10+ years has been Speed (SPD) ratings for ‘skill’ positions – OVR is still king when it comes to determining the success and worth of a player.  In fact, it should be changed to a ‘Physical’ (PHY) rating as we develop a totally new rating.

How Do You Increase OVR In Madden?

To get this out of the way, there have been many people asking how to increase the OVR of their players in Madden 25.  This is rather simple as long as you are earning enough XP for the player during your Franchise/Career mode.  Always start with the Awareness Rating (AWR) of the player and you will soon see the OVR jump substantially.  After that, it is all about investing in the position specific categories for the player.  So, if you have a QB – start with AWR and then move to Throwing Accuracy, Throwing Power and so-forth.  If you have a HB, I suggest starting again with AWR and then moving onto Spin, Juke, Stiff Arm, etc.  Hopefully this helps – but when in doubt you should always start with the mysterious AWR Rating.

How To Best Rate Players?

This is a question that often creeps up in sports gaming forums.  While there is a necessity to depend on numerical ratings for players (at least in the ‘hidden guts’ of the game, as stated above) there seems to be a growing divide among sports gamers as to how these ratings should be shown to the gamer – or if they should be at all.

Madden NFL’s rating system is vast and sometimes confusing (or simply meaningless in some cases).  With Donny Moore being the primary focus of players getting weekly boosts or reductions in ratings based on their real-life performance for online roster updates there are many gamers and fans out there that question his ability to make the right changes.  I have been critical of his rating changes in the past and I am not about to retract my remarks or references.  However, it is feeling more and more like the best way to rate players in Franchise/Association/Career/Owner modes should be determined by more than some sort of absolute numerical value on an interactive in-game spreadsheet.

Every team and franchise values players differently.  Every owner, coach, scout and fan places different values on players as well.  This is where I believe the best rating system should include a mix of numbers, letters and gold stars (yeah, I said it – gold stars).

The grade of a player’s SPD should be determined by multiple factors – including game/season fatigue to start.  Also, this all important rating should also be determined by weather conditions (including high heat) and agility if necessary.

As for ‘Overall’ (OVR) I am of the strong opinion that it should be changed to ‘Value’ (VAL).  This might seem just as arbitrary as OVR but if we changed the rating to VAL and based it around the play-style/coaching style of the gamer and the resulting ‘fan value’ of a player it would make for a far more realistic experience in career modes and in the game.

Explaining The “Value Rating” In Detail With Examples

My suggested value rating would require an extremely ‘organic’ and amoeba-like rating system that changes from week to week and moment to moment.  This would also likely be extremely difficult to develop without serious bugs in code, etc. – but why not consider it anyway?

It all starts with creating an initial philosophy.  This will differ depending on at which level you are assuming control of your team (Owner, Coach, etc.).  Some owners are all about making money first and having a great team second (think Randy Lerner in Cleveland).  Other owners like to think they are the best judges of talent in the league (think Jerry Jones and the late Al Davis).  Then you have owners like Robert Craft that support a coach that they trust and watch the victories (and the money) pour into their franchise.

Madden has started to make this type of change recently with Coaching Schemes playing a role in the ratings of players.  However, this hasn’t translated to any real changes in the gameplay (which is a different discussion altogether).  The downfall in this is that the players are still being judged on their scheme type and ratings in their OVR rather than their production and value to the franchise, team and fans.

The VAL rating would consider the percentage of time that player is on the field.  How many times the player touched the ball and perhaps how often the gamer controls that player on defense.  If you start taking into consideration the value you place on some players in terms of actually using them it becomes a much more involved and introspective gaming experience.

My Madden 13 CCM with the Cleveland Browns has reached the 2020 season and I have developed some of my players into some of the statistically best players that have ever played.  My 2013 Draft Pick was a 2nd Rd QB, Mark Mallett out of Oregon State.  He has developed into the best QB in the league averaging over 43 TDs and 5000 yards a season.  He has also won four Super Bowls (with 4 MVPs to go with them).  I decided that in his contract renewal process that I would reward him for being the franchise player that he is and I did this with a 6-Year $132 million deal.  I followed that up with a deal for Joe Haden to stay with my team through the 2026 season.  The moral of the story is that even if Mallett hadn’t progressed with his physical ratings he would still warrant a huge contract no matter what and this is because of his value… not his skills.

Tom Brady doesn’t exactly run like the wind… neither does Peyton Manning.  Somehow they are still considered the two best QBs in the NFL.  Sure, they have good arms and are accurate passers – but they are also smart/intelligent leaders.  This is where the performance of players under ‘user/gamer’ control should start to develop this same Value as games and seasons progress.

What do you think?  How should ratings be decided in sports gaming?

Madden 13 – All Running Back Ratings Released

Once again, the hype machine has released their little bit of digital crack to the Madden masses!  Come and get it!

TEAM First Name Last Name Overall Speed Acceleration Strength Trucking Elusiveness
Jaguars Maurice Jones-Drew 97 94 95 79 85 93
Vikings Adrian Peterson 97 96 97 84 87 97
Texans Arian Foster 96 92 96 79 96 92
Eagles LeSean McCoy 95 93 97 65 68 99
Ravens Ray Rice 95 91 97 84 75 93
Bears Matt Forte 93 92 93 73 78 90
Ravens Vonta Leach 92 69 80 84 74 40
Niners Frank Gore 92 91 90 78 89 78
Rams Steven Jackson 92 86 87 85 94 67
Jaguars Greg Jones 91 78 80 82 88 44
Chiefs Jamaal Charles 91 97 97 59 62 96
Falcons Michael Turner 91 86 90 85 98 74
Raiders Darren McFadden 91 97 95 74 94 78
Seahawks Marshawn Lynch 90 90 88 84 98 74
Titans Chris Johnson 90 99 98 66 55 86
Panthers Mike Tolbert 89 84 89 82 96 64
Seahawks Michael Robinson 89 79 84 80 85 57
Bills Fred Jackson 89 90 91 77 82 94
Saints Darren Sproles 89 94 98 55 40 93
Giants Ahmad Bradshaw 88 92 96 68 76 89
Chargers Ryan Mathews 87 92 91 74 92 81
Packers John Kuhn 86 79 83 77 89 48
Steelers Rashard Mendenhall 86 89 91 79 92 65
Broncos Willis McGahee 85 86 85 83 93 58
Cardinals Beanie Wells 85 89 87 81 96 74
Raiders Marcel Reece 84 90 92 77 65 60
Dolphins Reggie Bush 84 95 97 58 55 94
Panthers Jonathan Stewart 84 90 91 78 93 65
Panthers DeAngelo Williams 84 93 93 65 49 86
Texans Ben Tate 84 90 92 73 89 72
Bears Michael Bush 83 86 87 81 94 65
Browns Trent Richardson 83 90 96 85 95 76
Chiefs Peyton Hillis 83 85 86 83 93 58
Cowboys DeMarco Murray 83 94 93 74 88 78
Saints Jed Collins 82 75 76 72 71 48
Bengals BenJarvus Green-Ellis 82 82 84 79 94 65
Jets Shonn Greene 82 86 91 79 93 62
Saints Pierre Thomas 82 88 90 75 86 63
Chargers Le’Ron McClain 81 78 81 80 87 44
Cowboys Felix Jones 81 96 94 64 60 86
Niners Brandon Jacobs 81 86 80 87 97 61
Lions Jahvid Best 81 97 95 59 58 85
Bills C.J. Spiller 80 95 96 61 51 91
Bucs LeGarrette Blount 79 85 86 85 97 64
Redskins Roy Helu Jr. 79 93 96 64 68 85
Saints Mark Ingram 79 85 91 74 87 67
Jets John Conner 78 72 81 77 75 45
Colts Donald Brown 78 91 86 73 83 68
Lions Kevin Smith 78 88 90 75 69 79
Patriots Danny Woodhead 78 92 94 52 41 91
Niners Bruce Miller 77 75 82 77 66 35
Texans James Casey 77 82 86 68 79 44
Bengals Bernard Scott 77 93 92 65 68 88
Chargers Ronnie Brown 77 88 85 71 73 78
Packers James Starks 77 90 87 69 82 74
Patriots Joseph Addai 77 88 91 64 55 77
Redskins Tim Hightower 77 86 86 77 87 59
Saints Chris Ivory 77 88 85 77 92 71
Steelers Isaac Redman 77 86 90 82 94 65
Bengals Chris Pressley 76 70 75 77 77 44
Cowboys Lawrence Vickers 76 73 80 81 84 40
Steelers David Johnson 76 75 77 81 69 55
Broncos Knowshon Moreno 76 86 93 66 66 77
Bucs Doug Martin 76 87 95 83 84 75
Vikings Jerome Felton 75 73 76 80 70 50
Niners Kendall Hunter 75 91 96 58 67 88
Lions Jerome Harrison 75 90 91 60 43 85
Patriots Stevan Ridley 75 86 92 78 93 69
Seahawks Leon Washington 75 95 94 62 53 87
Vikings Toby Gerhart 75 85 81 78 89 55
Bills Corey McIntyre 74 75 74 85 70 28
Chargers Jacob Hester 74 83 87 70 75 51
Giants Henry Hynoski 74 69 75 84 74 46
Jaguars Brock Bolen 74 72 76 68 73 45
Redskins Darrel Young 74 73 75 78 86 45
Cardinals LaRod Stephens-Howling 74 94 95 49 37 90
Chiefs Dexter McCluster 74 92 95 47 40 90
Dolphins Daniel Thomas 74 84 88 76 87 78
Falcons Jason Snelling 74 81 86 84 92 49
Falcons Jacquizz Rodgers 74 84 97 54 42 91
Giants David Wilson 74 94 90 65 74 88
Jaguars Rashad Jennings 74 84 87 78 89 60
Raiders Mike Goodson 74 93 95 54 54 91
Bengals Brian Leonard 73 80 84 74 83 55
Cardinals Ryan Williams 73 87 94 68 85 77
Colts Mewelde Moore 73 87 91 60 62 82
Niners LaMichael James 73 92 97 52 53 93
Jets Joe McKnight 73 93 95 59 52 91
Patriots Shane Vereen 73 90 86 58 62 81
Redskins Evan Royster 73 82 89 72 84 53
Titans Javon Ringer 73 87 94 67 68 76
Texans Justin Forsett 73 90 93 65 49 88
Bills Tashard Choice 72 87 89 65 60 74
Browns Montario Hardesty 72 84 87 72 84 62
Dolphins Steve Slaton 72 93 93 63 52 85
Eagles Dion Lewis 72 85 91 59 65 88
Lions Mikel Leshoure 72 85 93 75 87 56
Cardinals Anthony Sherman 71 80 75 78 58 55
Patriots Spencer Larsen 71 72 75 78 55 20
Broncos Lance Ball 71 85 86 71 84 65
Browns Chris Ogbonnaya 71 85 88 74 85 61
Browns Brandon Jackson 71 88 91 63 52 82
Colts Delone Carter 71 85 88 75 92 65
Browns Owen Marecic 70 73 77 76 78 25
Jaguars Naufahu Tahi 70 76 81 84 71 38
Patriots Tony Fiammetta 70 82 74 77 78 50
Ravens Anthony Allen 70 84 82 77 92 54
Falcons Mike Cox 69 70 72 85 68 40
Bears Kahlil Bell 69 85 90 68 72 82
Cowboys Phillip Tanner 69 86 90 73 85 66
Dolphins Lamar Miller 69 94 96 58 55 81
Jaguars Montell Owens 69 84 87 77 82 52
Lions Keiland Williams 69 83 85 74 85 56
Rams Isaiah Pead 69 92 92 60 64 78
Ravens Bernard Pierce 69 88 91 62 77 69
Dolphins Charles Clay 68 81 88 68 81 55
Saints Korey Hall 68 74 79 75 72 50
Bengals Daniel Herron 68 83 89 73 75 75
Broncos Ronnie Hillman 68 90 91 53 55 92
Chargers Curtis Brinkley 68 87 89 65 63 80
Colts Deji Karim 68 90 93 67 72 81
Niners Anthony Dixon 68 83 84 79 90 45
Packers Alex Green 68 87 91 72 84 65
Raiders Taiwan Jones 68 97 96 56 64 86
Seahawks Kregg Lumpkin 68 87 89 65 62 81
Bucs Erik Lorig 67 68 75 81 72 25
Texans Moran Norris 67 65 74 83 70 38
Cardinals Alfonso Smith 67 93 87 64 68 78
Niners Rock Cartwright 67 82 88 78 85 35
Jaguars DuJuan Harris 67 93 95 59 62 87
Ravens Damien Berry 67 83 87 76 87 64
Seahawks Robert Turbin 67 87 91 83 85 76
Steelers Jonathan Dwyer 67 87 78 79 93 59
Bears Tyler Clutts 66 69 74 76 74 37
Cowboys Shaun Chapas 66 69 82 78 75 40
Bills Johnny White 66 86 89 70 83 66
Chiefs Cyrus Gray 66 92 93 64 53 79
Broncos Chris Gronkowski 65 73 76 67 69 56
Chiefs Shane Bannon 65 72 74 69 76 43
Raiders Owen Schmitt 65 73 72 84 88 50
Raiders Manase Tonga 65 71 74 75 77 45
Rams Brit Miller 65 76 75 75 72 44
Broncos Jeremiah Johnson 65 86 92 65 62 82
Eagles Chris Polk 65 88 77 62 85 49
Jaguars Jalen Parmele 65 82 86 71 84 55
Titans Jamie Harper 65 85 91 75 81 62
Browns Eddie Williams 64 77 81 66 73 72
Jets Josh Baker 64 78 83 73 72 33
Vikings Rhett Ellison 64 74 75 63 53 55
Bears Armando Allen 64 83 91 63 63 77
Bucs Michael Smith 64 95 94 72 77 73
Cardinals Javarris James 64 81 85 72 83 52
Chiefs Nate Eachus 64 84 81 75 70 80
Chiefs Shaun Draughn 64 79 84 68 63 77
Colts Vick Ballard 64 85 89 74 88 62
Panthers Josh Vaughan 64 82 86 75 85 55
Redskins Alfred Morris 64 81 83 65 89 57
Steelers Chris Rainey 64 94 97 48 44 92
Vikings Lex Hilliard 64 80 82 83 86 55
Browns Brad Smelley 63 73 69 75 77 38
Eagles Stanley Havili 63 80 84 68 79 54
Patriots Eric Kettani 63 82 78 68 77 39
Titans Quinn Johnson 63 70 75 67 70 30
Bengals Aaron Brown 63 95 94 59 49 87
Bucs Mossis Madu 63 86 87 55 64 83
Colts Darren Evans 63 86 82 78 87 49
Cowboys Lance Dunbar 63 87 90 48 55 80
Eagles Bryce Brown 63 92 86 71 87 63
Giants Da’Rel Scott 63 96 94 62 65 69
Giants D.J. Ware 63 84 86 71 83 55
Panthers Armond Smith 63 94 95 58 45 85
Rams Chase Reynolds 63 84 79 62 66 81
Rams Daryl Richardson 63 89 95 53 48 85
Seahawks Tyrell Sutton 63 88 92 64 65 80
Steelers John Clay 63 78 82 84 93 49
Bengals Cedric Peerman 62 91 84 75 52 79
Chargers Edwin Baker 62 88 82 75 85 52
Falcons Dimitri Nance 62 82 89 72 85 64
Niners Jewel Hampton 62 85 87 79 83 56
Giants Andre Brown 62 87 79 78 86 50
Jets Bilal Powell 62 86 87 74 82 61
Packers Brandon Saine 62 93 95 69 81 48
Patriots Brandon Bolden 62 86 80 73 81 47
Ravens Bobby Rainey 62 86 90 72 61 75
Steelers Baron Batch 62 86 85 67 74 66
Vikings Jordan Todman 62 94 90 58 64 73
Bears Evan Rodriguez 61 83 75 62 67 54
Bucs Cody Johnson 61 78 85 82 82 44
Falcons Bradie Ewing 61 76 73 59 56 45
Broncos Mario Fannin 61 94 86 69 85 63
Browns Adonis Thomas 61 89 93 54 37 86
Cardinals William Powell 61 85 87 63 74 71
Jets Terrance Ganaway 61 84 86 73 87 65
Titans Herb Donaldson 61 81 84 77 80 54
Titans Darius Reynaud 61 89 91 48 46 45
Texans Davin Meggett 61 87 91 74 73 68
Raiders Lonyae Miller 60 90 88 72 86 57
Saints Travaris Cadet 60 82 85 61 78 52
Bengals James Develin 59 73 74 76 77 37
Jets Fui Vakapuna 59 73 69 78 74 44
Panthers Richie Brockel 59 67 77 72 76 42
Packers Marc Tyler 59 79 82 69 87 43
Broncos Austin Sylvester 58 73 77 74 67 25
Packers Jon Hoese 58 72 82 69 74 45
Vikings Ryan D’Imperio 58 69 74 75 55 20
Bears Harvey Unga 58 74 75 76 86 44
Lions Joique Bell 58 85 84 75 85 50
Lions James Bryant 57 77 74 73 73 42
Vikings Matt Asiata 57 77 83 69 80 42
Bears Alvester Alexander 57 93 95 62 51 70
Cowboys Darrell Scott 57 81 84 70 85 47
Falcons Antone Smith 57 92 94 49 37 83
Jaguars Richard Murphy 56 83 84 64 55 75
Colts Kyle Miller 55 76 74 62 63 44
Texans Derrell Smith 52 75 85 67 66 37

Madden-ing: How Finding Madden ’93 In My Parents’ Garage Made Me Re-Think EA Sports and the Direction of the Madden Franchise

20 years ago I was a nine year-old sports fanatic.  I was lucky enough to get a Sega Genesis for Christmas in 1992.  After playing many great games like Sonic the Hedgehog 2 I was still hoping to have a chance to play a sports game.  Eventually, my mom and dad came home with a copy of John Madden Football ’93.  It was a gift for my 10th birthday and I cherished it.  I had played the same game while visiting my cousins in Georgia on a trip to the Citrus Bowl where I saw Garrison Hearst run over my beloved Buckeyes in Orlando.  It had hooked me from the first snap.

After years of asking for Tecmo Bowl for Christmas I had found a game of ‘real’ football.  You had to run ‘up’ the screen and call all sorts of different plays.  There was a manual that seemed to be 1000 pages long with player ratings and explanations of how to play every facet of the game.  I digress, my play-style was far from what many in the hardcore community would call ‘sim’… but dammit, I had a blast!  I could circle the field 3 times with Thurman Thomas before either getting tackled or scoring a touchdown.  So yes, before we get into the nitty gritty of this reflection – there are some incredibly arcade-like things about JMF93.

During my most recent visit with my parents we started going through some of the things I had packed away in the garage after getting married seven years ago (August 27).  In the process, I uncovered a bunch of old memorabilia and video games – including my Sega Collection with JMF93.  As I opened it up after years of storage and checked out the manual and case I was floored with how advanced this game was back in 1992 and perhaps more-so… how unimpressive the title has been in its growth during this generation of consoles.  That is where we will pick up the remainder of this article.

Why John Madden Football ’93 Is Better Than This Generation of Madden

Back Cover Game Features

Anytime you get a new game, the first thing you do is look at the back cover.  In this case, it is no different.  Upon finding JMF93 I took a look at some of the features in this game… and I was impressed.

Back Cover Features – How A Game Puffs Its Chest

“Buffalo’s No Huddle offense makes Washington scramble in the snow.”After seeing this quote, I started to think about some of the things the Madden development team has been championing over the last couple of years.  Teams playing like their real life counterparts and other such pursuits that sound great to anyone looking to have a great experience against their teams rival or the like.  Yet, how does this get so much coverage when almost 20 years ago – it was already in the game.  Granted, this is a small version of what we have now but the fact is that this is nothing new and even what we have tends to be broken from a logic perspective.

“Which four-time champion will dominate?” The next part of our back cover reveal is focusing on something similar to what we have this year – All Time Players and Teams.  This is one of those interesting things we commented in July when relating the inclusion of ‘Legendary Players’ for Madden 13 to All Pro Football 2K8.  In fact, if you want to go back 20 years, you will see that there are “8 Greatest-Ever Teams” that include teams such as the ’85 Bears, ’78 Steelers, ’84 49ers and more.  It tends to make us scratch our heads and wonder how original some of these ideas are or consider the notion that they have a tendency to recycle some of these old features as the games find new audiences.  It is a fine idea, but it seems somewhat off-base to call the inclusion of legendary teams or players anything but an expected inclusion at this point – rather than a ‘new feature’.

“Head butts, Clothesline Tackles and Shoestring catches”You would think that some of the animations from old games would make their way into future games with ease.  Well, clothesline tackles haven’t been included in Madden in almost a decade.  Head butts have gone the way of the Dodo with the NFL becoming more of a police-force trying to censor away the natural violence of their televised sport so Madden can stay rated-E… for the children.

Did You Know You Could Challenge Rulings In John Madden Football ’93?

There are a lot of things that Madden has that don’t really work well when it comes to actual in-game performance.  One of the things that people complain about almost every year is challenging calls on the field.  In JMF93 you could actually overturn penalties (see the picture to the right).  While this was limited to Head-to-Head games, it is still something to look back and snicker about because it probably worked better than the current system ‘works’.

Player Ratings Were Better 20 Years Ago, Kind of.

Another thing I noticed when browsing through the 79 PAGE manual was the listing of player ratings.  When you take a look at some of the ratings you might laugh, but most of the ratings when taken into further consideration come across as pretty fair and downright decent.  If you take a look at the pages we scanned you will see two teams with drastically different talent levels – Cleveland and Dallas.

Ratings have become some of the more contentious sticking points in Madden over the past 12+ years.  If you take a closer look at the ratings in JMF93 you will notice a few things.

– They are simplistic

– They are smaller (on a scale of 0-15 rather than 0-99)

– They are brutally honest

– They are somewhat wonky

For instance, Cleveland’s starting QB (Bernie Kosar) was given a Passing Range rating of 11 and a Passing Accuracy rating of 12.  He was a very slow QB when it came to running and scrambling and he was given a Speed Rating of only 4.  The interesting rating that is included is a Scrambling Rating… Kosar also had a 4.  His back-up on the other hand was given some rather strange ratings.  He was given a Passing Range rating of 0… yes… ZERO and then a Pass Accuracy rating of only 4 with SPD and Scrambling of 3.

If you look at the other page you will see one of the greatest running backs of all time has almost top ratings in every meaningful category.  Emmitt Smith was given 15s in Speed, Agility and Break Tackle with a 4 in Hands or ‘Catching’.  If you take a look at the ratings given to the running backs for the Browns you would think that their players were taken out of a tar pit with Speed Ratings of 7 and 8.  Kevin Mack (#34) was actually a FB and had a 12 SPD rating.  So, it wasn’t a complete loss for the Browns.

This Article Isn’t Meant To Trash On Madden Football

Before any Madden fanboys (see our earlier post if you don’t know what that means) read this article, please take into account that we are giving honest opinions based on evidence from actual games.  Also, it should be considered that we do realize that Madden 93 is clearly graphically inferior and definitely has issues with player movement when compared to current Madden games.  Again, this article isn’t stating that people will enjoy Madden 93 more than Madden 10, 11, 12 or even 13, but it does put current Madden games ‘on the spot’ when it comes to pursuing greatness and innovation.

We want Madden to be great.  We want it to be able to make us turn off a game on Sunday because our digital experience on a console is more enjoyable.  We want to see pass interference and hard hits across the middle.  We want to see head butts, shoe string catches and even an ambulance come onto the field as Colt McCoy asks where he is.  We want better football on our consoles and hope that this can invigorate people to be more critical while still being professional.  You are allowed to be upset, but please remember that this is all in an effort to make people think about the past so we can improve the future.  Even if it means looking into the past and wondering what the hell is going on with current game development.

Madden 13 – Top 10 Running Backs

Once again, EA Sports has released their list of the Top 10 ‘skill’ position players – this time it is the Running Backs.

Even with a torn knee ligament – Adrian Peterson is towards the top of Madden’s HB list.

#1 Maurice Jones-Drew – 97 Overall
#2 Adrian Peterson – 97 Overall
#3 Arian Foster – 96 Overall
#4 LeSean McCoy – 95 Overall
#5 Ray Rice – 95 Overall
#6 Matt Forte – 93 Overall
#7 Frank Gore – 92 Overall
#8 Steven Jackson – 92 Overall
#9 Jamaal Charles – 91 Overall
#10 Michael Turner – 91 Overall

When looking at this list, keep in mind a few different facts (as you should for every player and position in Madden) –

  • Ratings are subjective and based upon the opinion of EA’s Donny Moore
  • Ratings are super-subjective as there is now input from the fanbase on Madden’s Facebook page
  • The Overall rating is one of the worst barometers for measuring how ‘good’ a player is in Madden
  • Depending on how you play the game, you will be able to make anyone into a superstar

One of the main issues with the ratings in Madden is the fact that one of the top running backs in the league (Chris Johnson of the Titans) isn’t in the Top 10.  He had a poor year in 2011, sure.  On the other hand, he didn’t suffer any injury that would make him actually lose out on how good he is/could be.  On the other hand, players like Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles both suffered terrible injuries to their knees and are still rated as Top 10 Players.

It can be argued both ways, but Madden’s newest direction for rating players through a community vote for a few specific ratings is one of the more laughable developments in their new marketing direction.  Hopefully they open up player edits for Connected Careers with a title update.  If not, it looks like Madden 13 will be one of those games that makes you tilt your head to the side and wonder what the heck they are thinking with their ratings.

Why We Say “Overall” is the Worst Rating

Outside of the fact that it blows a player up to be the ‘best’ in the game, it is a rating that is comprised of a formula that brings into account the different skills that are necessary for each given position.  There are also ratings that have no effect on gameplay (Awareness) and then there are ratings that should play a greater role that don’t at all – such as Injury and Toughness.  A durable player is one of the more valuable assets in football, no matter which level you are playing.  Yet, in Madden and NCAA these ratings mean nothing when it comes to the Overall value of each player?

A player’s value should also be dictated in career modes by their production.  Notice, we didn’t say their ‘Overall’ rating, rather their ‘Value’ which is also a rating that doesn’t matter or in this case – exist.  A player might not be the most physically talented or even have a dominating presence on the field but if they consistently lead their team to a Super Bowl or maybe even lead the league statistically chances are good that they will either demand or command a big pay raise and more respect as a player.  A prime example of a player like this is Joe Montana.

Joe Montana wouldn’t be in our subjective Top 10 for throwing power or speed, but he would have a high rating for Toughness, Throwing Accuracy for short and medium range passes, etc.  He was a super-skinny player that wasn’t a physical specimen like Cam Newton but he was a winner and arguably the best Quarterback of all time (again, our subjective opinion).

How do you feel about ratings?  Are we blowing this out of proportion or is this getting downright silly to you too?

Madden 13’s Subjective Quarterback Ratings Released –

EA Sports and Madden 13’s marketing department have fans voting on Facebook for the “Top Players” at each position with a few votes for other ‘key’ ratings.

No surprise, Aaron Rodgers is 99 OVR… Who are we kidding? – the only important rating is RG3’s 93 SPD rating.

However, if you are interested in the ratings from the horse’s mouth – hit up EA Sports for all the details!

TEAM First Name Last Name Overall Speed Awareness Throw Power Deep Accuracy
Packers Aaron Rodgers 99 80 95 97 94
Patriots Tom Brady 98 58 99 96 88
Saints Drew Brees 98 65 98 89 84
Giants Eli Manning 97 65 95 90 96
Steelers Ben Roethlisberger 95 70 93 94 86
Broncos Peyton Manning 93 60 99 90 82
Chargers Philip Rivers 92 63 91 88 87
Lions Matthew Stafford 91 70 79 99 89
Cowboys Tony Romo 90 73 86 90 90
Eagles Michael Vick 89 90 76 97 84
Falcons Matt Ryan 89 65 89 89 71
Panthers Cam Newton 89 85 74 97 75
Texans Matt Schaub 89 62 88 88 78
Ravens Joe Flacco 88 73 86 95 77
Bears Jay Cutler 87 71 78 98 77
Titans Matt Hasselbeck 85 67 87 86 72
Colts Andrew Luck 84 82 60 92 81
Raiders Carson Palmer 84 54 85 93 84
Bengals Andy Dalton 83 66 77 86 81
Niners Alex Smith 83 78 81 87 74
Redskins Robert Griffin III 83 93 58 95 88
Bills Ryan Fitzpatrick 82 75 86 82 68
Bucs Josh Freeman 82 74 70 97 85
Chiefs Matt Cassel 80 69 80 85 67
Cowboys Kyle Orton 80 64 79 84 72
Jets Mark Sanchez 80 69 74 88 71
Rams Sam Bradford 80 73 72 88 71
Bears Jason Campbell 79 70 70 91 75
Seahawks Matt Flynn 79 76 75 82 72
Dolphins Matt Moore 78 69 76 86 68
Dolphins David Garrard 77 75 75 89 71
Jets Tim Tebow 77 81 78 87 80
Seahawks Tarvaris Jackson 77 83 72 95 73
Lions Shaun Hill 76 69 79 79 65
Bills Vince Young 75 85 67 89 70
Browns Colt McCoy 75 74 74 81 63
Cardinals Kevin Kolb 75 73 71 87 68
Jaguars Chad Henne 75 68 68 93 75
Redskins Rex Grossman 75 60 75 90 74
Steelers Byron Leftwich 75 54 73 93 70
Steelers Charlie Batch 75 53 83 82 66
Titans Jake Locker 75 83 54 95 79
Vikings Christian Ponder 75 75 66 84 65
Browns Brandon Weeden 74 64 56 93 84
Cardinals John Skelton 74 72 67 96 77
Dolphins Ryan Tannehill 74 83 45 90 75
Jaguars Blaine Gabbert 74 75 64 90 67
Texans T.J. Yates 74 61 67 86 76
Bengals Bruce Gradkowski 73 70 72 78 60
Browns Seneca Wallace 73 84 74 79 70
Chargers Charlie Whitehurst 73 65 68 88 70
Falcons Chris Redman 73 56 82 77 55
Panthers Derek Anderson 73 56 70 95 74
Patriots Brian Hoyer 73 65 75 87 66
Raiders Matt Leinart 73 54 69 83 65
Chiefs Brady Quinn 72 71 66 86 67
Eagles Mike Kafka 72 63 66 84 59
Patriots Ryan Mallett 72 51 45 98 73
Rams Kellen Clemens 72 66 69 88 72
Redskins Kirk Cousins 72 62 56 84 63
Giants David Carr 71 67 71 88 74
Steelers Troy Smith 71 83 65 87 69
Bears Josh McCown 70 77 71 78 66
Bucs Dan Orlovsky 70 65 70 79 65
Colts Drew Stanton 70 70 68 86 73
Eagles Trent Edwards 70 63 72 82 54
Niners Colin Kaepernick 70 85 46 92 74
Niners Josh Johnson 70 88 63 89 68
Saints Luke McCown 70 74 70 85 69
Saints Chase Daniel 70 69 66 83 60
Seahawks Russell Wilson 70 83 54 91 63
Vikings Sage Rosenfels 70 62 62 85 62
Texans John Beck 70 65 74 77 55
Bills Tyler Thigpen 69 75 62 82 66
Broncos Adam Weber 69 78 61 83 74
Broncos Brock Osweiler 69 69 39 96 83
Broncos Caleb Hanie 68 69 69 83 66
Lions Kellen Moore 68 56 59 75 62
Panthers Jimmy Clausen 68 57 57 88 72
Ravens Curtis Painter 68 65 65 86 63
Ravens Tyrod Taylor 67 87 52 92 66
Vikings Joe Webb 67 87 63 89 69
Cardinals Richard Bartel 66 65 58 87 68
Cowboys Stephen McGee 66 75 57 83 65
Jets Greg McElroy 66 64 57 78 67
Packers Graham Harrell 66 56 68 78 50
Rams Tom Brandstater 66 61 59 82 62
Saints Sean Canfield 66 64 53 82 52
Cardinals Ryan Lindley 65 56 49 93 78
Chiefs Ricky Stanzi 65 62 45 86 65
Eagles Nick Foles 65 53 43 92 69
Niners Scott Tolzien 65 66 50 82 64
Raiders Terrelle Pryor 65 90 40 90 78
Colts Chandler Harnish 64 77 47 84 61
Steelers Jerrod Johnson 64 75 44 95 72
Texans Case Keenum 64 70 53 81 59
Bucs Brett Ratliff 63 66 60 83 57
Chargers Jarrett Lee 63 71 40 81 59
Falcons John Parker Wilson 63 70 66 80 47
Jaguars Jordan Palmer 63 52 54 87 66
Redskins Jonathan Crompton 63 67 42 94 71
Dolphins Pat Devlin 62 68 46 79 57
Rams Austin Davis 62 75 35 81 61
Jets G.J. Kinne 61 81 44 83 69
Jets Matt Simms 61 76 35 87 68
Packers B.J. Coleman 61 67 38 93 68
Titans Rusty Smith 61 62 44 89 66
Bengals Zac Robinson 60 72 43 82 54
Browns Thaddeus Lewis 60 65 49 88 64
Cowboys Rudy Carpenter 60 67 45 87 54
Seahawks Josh Portis 60 84 40 90 73
Falcons Dominique Davis 56 84 46 81 55
Giants Ryan Perrilloux 55 76 28 95 65