Madden ’07 hit shelves of stores today and apparently ESPN.com decided to overload on video game coverage, including a video game image as the main site image this morning. The Player Ratings were apparently a big story, players love to check them out…again, apparently.
Peyton Manning was the highest rated QB in the game, getting the only 99 rating overall for a QB, WR or RB. Tom Brady was next with a 98. Now, I’m not going to complain over 1 rating point difference. Sure, I think Brady is better than Manning, but that’s not even the issue.
The issue is simple: EA Sports and the Madden Series are behind the times or simply getting lazy. I assume it is getting lazy, as they have the market cornered, but that Madden knock-off a few years back that got sold for like 20 bucks was ahead of the times.
The fact of the matter is that Manning is not a 99 in any sense of the word. It is Madden 07 for chrissake, you don’t have some negative influence there for being a player that can go from 0 to 60 (in fucking your season and hopes up) in like INSTANTLY?
Again, it’s ’07…let’s get these ratings done up properly…how about tossing in some innovation with regards to these ratings? Take performance in big games into consideration because it is absolutely a huge part of the game.
Manning should start at a 96 (actual – 99). Brady should start at a 94 (actual – 98). Have that as your base for the top two quarterbacks. Shuffle McNabb in there with a 92 or 91 (actual – 94) as their 4th QB in the game. Carson Palmer is 3rd (which will bring up ratings point #2 here in a second…) at a 95 actual, put him right above McNabb around 91-93. Hasselbeck 5th, again, put him right below McNabb, but a little lower than what the game is giving these guys. Then from there, come up with performance ratings. And you can really do magical things with them at this point.
For instance, If you’re playing Colts/Patriots in the Super Bowl…Manning’s rating is going to hold steady at 96 and should drop to like a 93 or 94 in the second half. Meanwhile, Brady should hop from a 94 to a 96 at kickoff and ultimately a 98 in the second half and a 99 when operating a two minute drill. If you adapt the ratings to something along these lines, you’re going to get a more accurate reflection of the game. Just innovate on these ratings, they’ve been constant for years, I think they can try something different.
Other spots you can use this at is with running backs that get better as the games go along and receivers who get better the more you throw them the ball. Speaking of receivers…six got ratings of 97 from EA Sports and the 7th was at 94. Did EA just not want to annoy one of these guys by slipping them in at a 95 or a 96? Maybe alter ratings for a guy after they leave the field with a stinger injury. They come back in the game, but have they lost a step? Maybe.
Now, I’m not ripping on Manning, although it certainly reads like that. Look, when I rip on Manning, and it’ll happen at least ten times during the course of the season, you’ll know it. This originally was going to be a post to rip Manning, but I actually think I’m coming up with some solid ideas to help the game. So, I’ll save the Manning bashing until next week or so…but, it’s coming.
Now, the second ratings point I wanted to make has to do with Carson Palmer being rated as the 3rd best QB in the game. What happens in October if Palmer doesn’t recover from his knee injury and is throwing terribly and is certainly not the best QB in the game? Now, in your MADDEN season, you’re not the Bengals, but you face them late in the year or in the playoffs and they have Palmer rip you up. It’s really lame and I know it is hard to avoid. You have to give him a good rating because he did awesome last year, but the fact is, there is a chance that Carson Palmer is going to be Nothing Man this campaign.
Here’s the solution…
Start Palmer at about an 85. Then, you allow the rating to shift over the season based completely on performance. If he is up to the performance that he had last season after about six or seven games, then you give him that rating. But, you have to give Palmer a chance first, he can’t be electric right off the bat in video game land, when he might be doing nothing in reality. Like I’ve said throughout, this is Madden ‘0 Goddamn 7, this is stuff that can and should be done.
Two other things that should be looked at…
First, changing a players ratings when they leave a good team. This is not going to be something getting much use in Franchise mode, but ratings for mid-level players on the Steelers and Seahawks right now are higher than players of the exact same ability on lower level teams. The game should recognize that and adjust.
Second, Ratings during contract seasons should go up because that player is fighting for a new deal. I’m not talking about the lower level guys, as they are always fighting for a contract in the un-guaranteed money world of the NFL. I’m talking about the 80+ rating players. The guys that will find a team if they were to get cut, but will fight a little hard when the dollars are up in the air. Cuba Gooding Junior in the show me movie comes to mind.
Likewise, after a player signs a long term contract, they should get the same treatment that I would give to Palmer recovering from his injury. They’ve just signed this long term contract, let them prove that it’s not just about the money first.
It’s ’07, let’s get some innovation, rather than these minor tweeks and lameness such as a QB vision cone.