Somebody out there, please hear what I am saying, please bring back the NFL 2K series, or at least NFL Blitz. Something has to be done to get the Madden franchise back on the right track. I haven’t played the game since 2015, and haven’t rushed to Best Buy on the day of its release to purchase it since Chicago legend Bump J was on the soundtrack, even though he hadn’t yet released an album.
I see the complaints on social media every year, and even a clip EA Sports released that is supposed to promote new features, but instead showed poor gameplay. Still, Madden trudges along, year after year, with its exclusive access to NFL image and likeness rights. When it comes to the game, as with many other products in America with no competition, the quality suffers.
One of the main debates about Madden every year is player ratings. It gets fans grumbling and the players upset. Madden ratings are such an issue that Bleacher Report had Adam Lefkoe, the host of NBA on TNT Tuesday, host a show in which players make the case on the field in front of Madden ratings adjusters to have their ratings increased.
Earlier this month, Trent Williams was notified that he was a member of the exclusive 99 club, one of the handfuls of players every year that receive a 99 rating. He is the first offensive lineman ever to be a member of that club. It’s well deserved. Williams was arguably the best player in the NFL last season. His blocking gave Jimmy Garoppolo some much-needed blindside protection, and he more than did his part in the running game.
All of the player ratings are out, and another member of that club is Davante Adams. He is not the most dynamic receiver in the league, but he’s a playmaker. Even with the defenses focusing their game plan around him every single week, his production remains steady. The rating feels a little high, as does Cooper Kupp’s 98, but they do catch a ton of important passes.
However, if those two are rated that high, Deebo Samuel at least deserves a 92 or 93, definitely not the 89 he was given. He had one of the best seasons at wide receiver in the history of the San Francisco 49ers franchise, and he didn’t have Joe Montana or Steve Young throwing him the football. With Garoppolo behind center, Samuel still caught 77 passes for 1,401 yards, meaning that he averaged 18.2 yards per catch. Not only that, the man played two positions last year. As a running back he led the 49ers in yards per carry, and rushing touchdowns. He scored eight rushing touchdowns, carried the ball 59 times, and also led the entire NFL in yards after contact. Forget what I said a few sentences ago, he deserves a 95.
Also, Ja’Marr Chase has an 87, and D.K. Metcalf has an 89.
Chase has been a stud since college. He caught 20 touchdown passes in 2019, didn’t play in 2020 due to COVID but came into the league in 2021 and averaged 18 yards per catch en route to 1,455 receiving yards and 13 scores and the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
In the playoffs, he went up against the fifth- and eighth-best defenses in the NFL, per Football Outsiders, in the Los Angeles Rams and Tennessee Titans and he lit both of them up. He averaged 21.8 yards per catch in a win against the Titans, and 17.8 in the Cincinnati Bengals’ Super Bowl loss to the Rams.
With Metcalf, I could make the statistical argument that his rating is unjust. Sure, he didn’t get to 1,000 yards, but the Seattle Seahawks’ rudimentary offense sputtered and died halfway through the season and he still managed to catch 12 touchdowns. Instead of relying on that argument, just watch this play, and ask yourself why this player doesn’t have a rating in the 90s.
Maybe these players will make good guests for Lefkoe in Season 3, but Madden needs to get serious. Not only are Samuel, Metcalf, and Chase rated too low, but in no world is the gap between them and Kupp and Adams as large as 10 overall ratings points.
But that’s the problem when there’s no competition. There’s no one but an NBA television host on YouTube to hold them accountable.