More players keep reaching the top of the Madden ratings scale, but change may be coming next year

Posted November 16th, 2015 at 11:15 am


While games like NBA 2K and FIFA present rosters with only a handful of players rated above 90, Madden has been trending the opposite direction. With last week’s roster update for Madden NFL 16 the game became more top heavy than ever. There are now eight 99 rated players, eight 98 rated players, and 126 of them at 90 and above. 

That doesn’t alone necessarily mean there is imbalance in the ratings or how the skills translate to the field, as the calculation of the Overall could simply be changed without even altering the individual attribute ratings. However there is a sense that players tend to get bunched together as they move up. By the end of the year the differentiation between them has shrunk noticeably.

Interestingly, the man formerly in charge of ratings, Donny Moore, expressed that he had hoped to institute a system where only eight players would have started the season rated 90+. Instead the season started with 121 of them.

The new ratings lead though is looking at changing the system for next year in a similar fashion, and even just having a dialogue about it is at the very least encouraging.

Looking beyond the very top players, it’s more than questionable whether a seven point gap properly defines the difference between an Eli Manning, who’s having one of his best seasons, and a Colin Kaepernick, who played his way to the bench.

Players tend to get the benefit of the doubt and don’t drop at nearly the same rate when struggling or failing to produce than they rise when performing well. That’s why Peyton Manning is still somehow an 88 and the 12th best QB in the game despite being one of the worst in the league this season. Hopefully any changes made will affect the entirety of the roster, putting more room between the tiers of players at each position.

Several years ago when NBA Live attempted to rate based on a full 100 point scale instead of the 50+ scale, the NBA forced that to change, as they wanted the perception of the skill of their players in the league to remain as it had been, both at the top and bottom of the roster. Even with NBA 2K16 rating current day players against the best of all time – LeBron James and Steph Curry lead the pack of this season’s players at 94 Overall – no player is rated below 63. The lowest non-long snapper in Madden is 54.

That’s part of the concern that comes with making a dramatic change to what the numbers represent. Watch any of those videos EA does with rookies guessing their ratings – they’re either delusional or just playing along – where they expect to be in the 80s and 90s. Even refer back to cases where players have directly complained about their already high ratings. Veterans have their expectations as well, and to drop their ratings, even if they remain in the same relative place among their peers, will result in some blowback. Hopefully that, and the league, don’t prevent progress being made that will result in a better playing and more authentic game.