By BRYCE ROSSLER
EA Sports has begun to slowly unveil their player ratings for Madden 2021. Getting angry at video games is silly but this is typically a dead period for football news and the ratings are the only thing the developer ever changes, so it’s something for people to do. And as long as EA continues to undertake the impossible task of accurately quantifying player skill, people will continue to critique them.
We’d like to approach this with more nuance than anger, so we’ll intake ratings as they’re released and contrast anything noteworthy to our suite of advanced stats.
Tom Brady a 90?
Tom Brady showed signs of decline last year, so Madden rating him a 90 overall and making him the fifth-best quarterback in the game seems nostalgic. He had his worst season of the Total Points era (2016-present) in 2019, ranking 19th in Passing Total Points/60 Snaps (8.2) after ranking 1st (16.2), 6th (12.9), and 4th (11.3) in 2016, 2017, and 2018, respectively. While I’m sympathetic to the talent sink in New England last season, that’s a pretty steady decline.
Running Backs are … not badly rated
EA Sports also released the top ten running backs in broken tackle rating, and did a pretty good job with it. Saquon Barkley (12th), Joe Mixon (13th), and Dalvin Cook (17th) all fell outside of our top 10 in broken tackle rate among RBs with at least 150 carries in 2019.
Kareem Hunt didn’t qualify for that leaderboard this year, but ranked eighth in that metric in 2018, which is about where he’s slotted in Madden 2021. Mark Ingram, who ranked first among that group with 18.8 Broken Tackles Per 100 Carries, arguably deserved the highest rating, but there aren’t a lot of gripes to be had with these ratings otherwise.
Because the ratings reveal is ultimately a marketing campaign, EA Sports still has a lot of cards up its sleeve. Top 10 lists can be hard to argue with just because they inevitably include good players, so the real dissection begins once they release full rosters. We will continue to keep an eye on the information they release and update this piece with anything that sticks out as interesting.