Many of the player ratings for the new Madden 13 video game were recently released.
The Madden franchise usually does a good job of rating NFL players. However, media and fan influence—as well as the opinion of the developers—can at times result in unexpected rankings.
In this year's game, there are five star players whose ratings do not bear much similarity to reality.
New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker is one of the most valuable wide receivers in the NFL, despite not being one of the most physically talented. His relationship with quarterback Tom Brady and knowledge of the game make him one of the most effective offensive weapons around today.
The developers of Madden apparently tried to capture this fact by dramatically overrating his physical attributes. Welker has been given an acceleration of 99 (via Joystiq.com), which makes him the quickest player in the game. Furthermore, his overall attributes (95) are ahead of Atlanta Falcons receiver Roddy White (94).
While I anticipate great production from Welker in 2012, I would not consider him to be more talented than Roddy White or quicker than Calvin Johnson.
Even New York Giants fans should not try to justify how Giants quarterback Eli Manning ended up with a 97 overall rating (via EASports.com). This places him ahead of Ben Roethlisberger and Peyton Manning to name but a few.
It's clear what happened.
The Giants are riding the tidal wave of optimism that comes with a Super Bowl victory, and several of their players have inflated ratings in Madden 13. Nevertheless, the 97 rating for Eli Manning tops them all.
Since Madden attributes cannot account very well for quarterback running ability, or the ability to get lucky in fourth quarters, they had to inflate his passing attributes to make him a viable starter.
The two most egregious ratings are his throwing power (87) and his deep ball accuracy (80). That puts him higher in both categories than former Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Cassel.
This decision is somewhat understandable, since players will want the option of starting Tebow. Having said that, the developers may have overdone it. In real life, Mark Sanchez is still the better option in a conventional passing offense. However, in the video game, you may want to go with Tim Tebow.
While San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis had an impressive run in the playoffs a season ago, his regular season and career performances have not come anywhere near warranting the 95 overall rating he received in Madden 13 (via ESPN).
Davis's 792 yards and six touchdowns—along with three fumbles—in 2011 were not exactly evidence of dominance. In real life, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is a much more valuable and talented player. However, in the world of Madden 13, it's pretty much a toss-up.
Ignoring the obvious issue that Jones-Drew might not even play this year, he is simply not the best running back in the NFL.
One could argue that Jones-Drew was the best running back in 2011. He led the league in rushing with over 1,600 yards. On the other hand, he was not one of the league leaders in yards per rush or touchdowns. In other words, he was used an awful lot, but he was not the most efficient.
More importantly, Jones-Drew is 27 years old, and his 2011 season was an outlier in his career.
Adrian Peterson and Arian Foster are both more talented players when healthy. Based on recent history, LeSean McCoy and Ray Rice are also likely to have better years. Additionally, valid arguments could also be made for Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte being the stronger player in 2012.
We may never find out for sure if Jones-Drew does miss games this season. However, the choice to rate him the best back in the NFL stands out as unusual.