There may not be anything more certain in the world of sports than virtual Aaron Donald being atop the Madden rankings.
The Los Angeles Rams star was named to the coveted 99 club for the sixth year in a row when Madden NFL 23 announced the player ratings for the latest edition of the EA Sports franchise. He tied legendary quarterback Peyton Manning for the most appearances in the club in the history of the game and will likely pass him at this time next year if he remains on his current trajectory.
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6️⃣x <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/99Club?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#99Club</a> Member 🤩 <a href="https://twitter.com/AaronDonald97?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AaronDonald97</a> is HIM <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Madden23?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Madden23</a> <a href="https://t.co/2BpfwLLSzL">pic.twitter.com/2BpfwLLSzL</a>
Donald made sure there was no doubt he would keep his spot in the club with his play last season.
He appeared in all 17 games and finished with a career-best 84 tackles, 12.5 sacks, four passes defended and four forced fumbles all while dealing with double teams every game. He added an eighth Pro Bowl and seventh All-Pro selection to his illustrious resume and remains seemingly unblockable.
Most importantly, Donald won the first Super Bowl of his career.
It was only fitting he had a major impact with the Lombardi Trophy hanging in the balance, and he tallied four tackles and two sacks in the 23-20 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. He also applied the critical pressure on Joe Burrow during Cincinnati's final fourth-down attempt that clinched the win for the Rams.
That type of play led to quite the financial reward as well.
Los Angeles reworked Donald's deal to make him the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history with a contract that will pay him $95 million through 2024. The move meant a $40 million raise over the next three seasons and ensures the Rams will have the top player in football in the middle of their defensive line for the foreseeable future.
At some point, the 31-year-old may slow down, but he showed no signs of that last season and will once again be a defensive weapon for gamers using the Rams in the latest edition of Madden.
If he turns in a similar effort during the 2022 campaign, he likely won't be tied with Manning for the most appearances in the 99 club when the 2024 game is released.