With some of the Madden ratings coming out, it seems weird that the Steelers ratings have been so off.
Madden 23 player rating leaks have trickled out and nearly all have been released to the public at his point. The early returns for the Steelers have been questionable, to say the least. Yes, I get that this is only a game, but considering Madden is the go-to game (and to be fair the only game) that represents the NFL game, it should ideally reflect the true rosters in the league.
While not every position has been released as of this writing, the ones we’ve seen have been unimpressive so far. This is backed up when you see the composite list of the top players at each position. Sure, the team isn’t stacked, but the stars should still be seen as the stars in this game.
The Steelers Watt debacle
The first real trouble that was spawned with the early rating release was T.J. Watt and his 96 overall rankings. On paper, while not egregious, a high rating is fine enough for the reigning defensive player of the year. When Myles Garrett is somehow rated higher though, the system seems flawed.
Garrett is an immense talent; I’m not arguing against that. To rate him higher than Watt who has outproduced him to this point and is coming off one of the best seasons that an edge rusher has ever compiled is silly. At least rank them equally, even if Watt should be higher based on his play. How is Watt being ranked as the second-best edge rusher at all accurate?
The Steelers struggle elsewhere
Just as puzzling as the decision to list Watt as the second-best edge rusher was to exclude Minkah Fitzpatrick from the top ten safeties. While he graded out as a respectable 89 overall, there were ten total safeties that scored higher than he did. While Fitzpatrick isn’t the best safety in the league, he certainly should be closer to the top five.
It doesn’t end there, as the Steelers sophomores had underwhelming scores as well. Najee Harris only got a rating of 85, and he placed below some names that he outproduced as a rookie. Even more puzzling was Pat Freiermuth being rated as 79 overall and behind the likes of Evan Engram, Robert Tonyan, and David Njoku, all names that Freiermuth outperformed.
While these aren’t as objectively bad as the team’s top players, their sophomore class is a few points off the mark. Add in some other notable rookies from last year who played well like Tre Norwood being ranked extremely low and these ratings just don’t make sense.
Madden is getting lazy
This is what it ultimately boils down to. Despite being a hugely successful gaming franchise that brings in an obscene amount of money, the rankings here are mostly copied and pasted from last year’s game with a few tweaks to the top of the class. This means some players that showed improvement last year have their same rating likely due to the developers just simply copying what their rating was from the last game.
This is evident in the Steelers tight end room and beyond just Freiermuth. Zach Gentry had a surprisingly solid season last year as he developed as a blocker and as an overall backup. Yet is only a 65 overall. The issue is that Jace Sternberger didn’t play a snap last year and is rated as a 66 overall. Gentry had more catches and yards last year than Sternberger has in his career, yet he is somehow ranked lower than him.
Again, at the end of the day, this is a video game and not the real thing. That said, for a game that claims to be bringing a real NFL feeling to the homes of fans, the rosters seem off the mark. Instead of actually trying to create realistic rosters from the top down, the game is lazy and just relies on what they rated players beforehand with a few minor tweaks. This is evident in the Steelers roster this year, as most ratings miss the mark.