Myles Garrett tops Steelers star T.J. Watt in Madden 23 ratings

T.J. Watt #90 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
T.J. Watt #90 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

EA Sports just rated Myles Garrett in a tier of his own above T.J. Watt in their latest Madden video game. Here’s why the Steelers star is getting fiercely disrespected.

I know it’s just a video game (and a flawed one at that), but come on! I didn’t expect EA Sports to go nuts when handing out overall ratings to Pittsburgh Steelers players on the latest installment of their popular “Madden” video game franchise, but the blatant disrespect has gone far enough.

The popular video game franchise is preparing for an August 19th release date for Madden 23, but their latest player ratings have thrown Steelers fans into an uproar. On July 19th, EA Sports released their overall ratings for every NFL edge defender. T.J. Watt earned a 96 overall grade.

This in itself seems very respectable. However, this is not the case when you put it into context. Just before the ratings were made public, Madden NFL 23 released a video welcoming Myles Garrett to the “99 Club.” This is an honor they don’t hand out lightly and is reserved for the best of the best.

As you can imagine, these seemingly arbitrary ratings didn’t sit well with Steelers fans. Garrett now finds himself in a tier of his own above T.J. Watt — who was surprisingly ranked 3 points lower prior to the release of Madden 23. Perhaps what’s most comical is that Garrett was given 13 more points on his strength attribute than Watt was handed this year.

What must the Steelers star do to earn a 99 rating?

I’m well aware that Madden is just a video game, but Steelers fans have a right to be upset. The reigning Defensive Player of the Year (who also tied the all-time single-season sack record in 2021) fell multiple points short of being the top-rated edge defender on Madden 23, and the disrespect has simply gone too far.

This begs the question: what must T.J. Watt do to join the “99 Club?”

After three straight First-Team All-Pro seasons, fans thought he would have been here by now. Heck, many believe he should have already been there following an utterly dominant 2020 season. Yet here we are, two years later and Watt’s overall Madden rating is only gradually increasing.

Admittedly, Watt wasn’t perfect last year. Despite his impressive, league-leading numbers in sacks and tackles for a loss, he had a few down games. However, these were no doubt directly tied to the injuries he suffered last season.

Watt missed two games in 2021 and played through the hip, knee, and groin injuries in several others. In his game against the Green Bay Packers, for instance, it was very easy to see that Watt simply wasn’t healthy, and as a result, he wasn’t going full-speed.

However, when he wasn’t banged up, Watt continued to be one of the most dominant players in the NFL — regardless of position. His ability to take over the game in the fourth quarter is uncanny. In fact, when it comes to the best defenders in the NFL, many experts would put Watt and Aaron Donald in a tier of their own above the rest.

EA Sports doesn’t agree. Not only is Watt not the top edge defender on the game, but he was disrespected by Myles Garrett being three rating points higher. Garrett, meanwhile, hasn’t come close to matching Watt’s overall production in any statistical department over the past three seasons, collectively.

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After earning the DPOY award, being selected to three consecutive First-Team All-Pros, and tying the single-season sack record, it’s hard to say what T.J. Watt would even have to do at this point to change the biased minds of those in charge of dishing out Madden ratings. I know it doesn’t matter, but Steelers fans have a right to vent about it nonetheless.