The Problem With Madden Roster Updates Isn’t Frequency But Balance

Posted September 22nd, 2012 at 11:45 am

There is always going to be some level of debate regarding roster updates in sports games. Topics such as how often they should go out, how quickly reactions to performances should be reflected, and whether there is the proper differentiation between players are common ones. One trend being seen with Madden updates though is somewhat concerning. 

EA Sports does a fantastic job of releasing consistent roster updates and that has been the case with Madden NFL 13 so far. Some could argue that players shouldn’t be moving dramatically after just a single game or two and that’s a fair point – though I’ve always believed that taking small moves on a weekly basis provides a result not so different than big moves would quarterly.

Where things have grown increasingly troublesome though is the number of players that move up when compared to those that move down. This is something I’ve tracked in the update detail articles team wise since last year and there are always those gaining a lot more than those that come out on the losing end. Over the course of the season Madden moves far more players up and in doing so loses whatever ratings spread was designed for the purposes of realistic and balanced gameplay and representation of player skills.

So far this regular season the updates following week one had a net gain of 79 players going up vs down while week two had a net of 84. I went back and calculated three random weeks of Madden NFL 12 updates and came out with net gains of 68, 55, and 42. Consider then the impact on a base roster at the beginning of a season compared to the final one when there are around 20 updates completed over the course of the year. Even conservatively you’re looking at 800+ player increases over decreases.

It’s always going to be easier to identify individuals who are exceeding their ratings. One standout game or big play is all it takes really at most positions. However players who are underperforming linger too long and move down at a much slower pace than those can move up (look at Chris Johnson as a prime example) and backups and free agents remain too high. If there are players exceeding expectations and who are earning increases they’re doing it at the expense of someone else and that is what needs to be identified better going forward.