Madden NFL Football has been bringing fun and joy to fans since 1989 when the first-ever John Madden Football was released as software for the Apple II. Since then, the franchise has grown and evolved into one of the biggest in the gaming marketplace and is always amongst the leaders for copies sold with every new iteration of the game.
Player ratings of the league’s best are typically released before the actual game itself to increase the excitement for the release and provide a sneak-peek into what is to come; however, they can also cause controversy and some pretty hilarious reactions from the athletes themselves.
While the full list of quarterback and middle-linebacker rankings have not been released, the rest of the major positions have been— here are the biggest errors from that selection of players.
Madden NFL 22 Player Ratings
#5: Rob Gronkowski, 86 OVR
Nobody is here to argue Gronk’s legacy or ridiculous production throughout his career— but at 86 overall, tied for the sixth-highest mark amongst tight ends, he is extremely overvalued. This seems like a legacy pick rather than a fair evaluation of his play last season.
Gronk did not even have as good of a season as Logan Thomas or Robert Tonyan, both of whom did not make the top-10; he is still one of the best blocking tight ends in football, but at this stage in his career, he is not amongst the elite of the elite. If he is an 86 overall in the game, then other players around him deserve to have their ratings boosted.
#4: Minkah Fitzpatrick, 89 OVR
It seems rather peculiar that a player in contention for Defensive Player of the Year that has made consecutive Pro Bowls and First-Team All-Pros is stuck at the bottom of the top-10 safeties list, but somehow, Fitzpatrick is.
The Steelers completely transformed when the Alabama product arrived from the Miami Dolphins, and his value to their secondary is undeniable. There are terrific safeties in football, but to say that he is the tenth-best is an outrageous understatement.
#3: Ezekiel Elliott, 88 OVR
Talk about ignoring the obvious— Elliott finished 15th in yards per game and 23rd in rushing touchdowns last season while averaging a career-worst 4.0 yards per carry. Zeke looked clunky and sluggish even though he is still 25-years old and had just signed a massive contract, and he does not deserve this kind of praise from EA.
Not only has Elliott become a problem in Dallas (mostly due to his contract), the Cowboys have already begun to lighten his workload by increasing touches for Tony Pollard. Zeke’s relentless style that created the phrase “feed Zeke” turned into “feed him less” last year as he looked like he was running with mud on his shoes and struggled to break away from contact.
#2: T.J. Watt, 94 OVR
Again, this rating is disrespectful to a Pittsburgh player that deserves to be closer to 98 or 99; Watt led the league in sacks last year and won AFC Defensive Player of the Year, which makes it nearly impossible to understand why he is two points behind Khalil Mack, who had a down year, and four points behind Myles Garrett.
If Watt is an edge-rusher and he led the league in successful rushes (sacks), then his rating should be nearly perfect, not third on the list and four points off the highest mark within the position. If ratings are based on performances from last season, during which Watt was named a First-Team All-Pro, then this decision is truly baffling.
#1: John Johnson III, ??
John Johnson might have the most boring name in professional sports, but his omission from the top-10 safeties list is an egregious error.
Johnson grades as the third-best safety on Pro Football Focus’ list heading into 2021 coming off of a season in which he captained the Los Angeles Rams’ defense to the fewest passing yards and third-fewest first downs allowed. The Cleveland Browns snapped him up on a three-year, $33.75 million deal this summer with the expectation that he will help lead them to the Super Bowl; to exclude him from the top safeties list is a flat-out insult.