Madden NFL 23 Has No Love For The Steelers Star Players

July 21, 2022
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Madden NFL has not been kind to Pittsburgh Steelers players when it comes to ratings in recent years. Let’s take a look and see which Steelers got flat out disrespected this year.

With training camp about to start here shortly, the NFL regular season is right around the corner. Along with it is the annual release of EA Sports Madden NFL video game. EA and the Madden NFL team kicked off their promotional run with a franchise deep dive, as well as a ratings reveal for each position group that is being showcased through out the week.

The Madden team is also revealing one new member of the coveted “99 Club” each day. If you’re unfamiliar with what that is, it’s essentially a group of NFL players who are deemed the best players in the video game. These select players carry a 99 overall rating, which is the highest possible rating in Madden.

Last Years Snubs

After an elite caliber 2020 season, Minkah Fitzpatrick was selected to both the Pro Bowl as well as the AP First Team All Pro list. You would think these accolades would equate to at least a top five rating at the Safety Position right? Think again. EA Sports chose to give Fitzpatrick a head scratching 89 overall, rating him as the tenth best Safety in the game.

Sometimes it isn’t the overall rating that is questionable, but the specific players rated ahead of someone who is more deserving. TJ Watt, like Fitzpatrick was also a victim of disrespect in last years Madden game. While his previous rating of a 94 overall is nothing to be ashamed of, it definitely makes Steelers fans cringe to see who was ahead of him. Myles Garrett would be awarded a 98 overall, rating him as the leagues best edge rusher. Khalil Mack would follow Garrett with a 96 overall as the second highest rated edge defender, leaving 2021’s Defensive Player of The Year tied for third with a few others.

Madden NFL 23 Ratings

Last years edition of Madden NFL had some big time misfires when it came to rating Pittsburgh Steelers players. This years game is much of the same story. While one Pittsburgh Steeler undoubtedly showed he was the best player at his position in every way possible last season, it still wasn’t enough in the eyes of the Madden NFL ratings adjustors.

TJ Watt: 96 Overall

2021 was not only a career year for Watt, but also one that you only see from generational players. The Steelers superstar edge rusher tied Michael Strahan’s NFL season sack record at 22.5 sacks in just 15 total games played. He also led the league in tackles for loss (21), and quarterback hits (38). Having been awarded Defensive Player of The Year and being selected to the Pro Bowl as well as the AP First Team All Pro list, it was very clear as to who was the best defensive player last season.

EA Sports would instead choose to rate Cleveland Browns Defensive End Myles Garrett not only above TJ Watt, but also as a member of the 99 Club. Garrett’s season was impressive yes, but when compared to Watt, things just don’t add up. Stats certainly aren’t everything when deciding who is the best, but they certainly cannot be ignored.

TJ Watt: 15 Games, 22.5 Sacks, 64 total tackles, 21 tackles for loss, 39 quarterback hits

Myles Garrett: 17 Games, 16 Sacks, 51 total tackles, 17 tackles for loss, 33 quarterback hits

Watt’s incredible season wasn’t just empty numbers either. Pittsburgh won multiple games thanks to the individual efforts of their star outside linebacker. I’d be extremely interested in hearing EA Sport’s reasoning for the ratings they came up with, because I certainly cannot come up with a logical reason for it.

Diontae Johnson: 85 Overall

When you look at the season Diontae Johnson had last year, it is very tough to argue that there are 24 Wide Receivers better than him. Madden rates Diontae as the 25th best Wide Receiver at just an 85 overall, behind the likes of CeeDee Lamb, Brandin Cooks, and Robert Woods to name a few.

Johnson posted a career year while catching passes from a ready to retire Ben Roethlisberger in an offense that scared few teams. The former Toledo Rocket hauled in the fifth most receptions among wideouts (107), ninth most receiving yards (1,161), and tied for 12th most receiving touchdowns (eight). Those three important stats alone should make him a lock for the top 20, maybe even top 15.

While Johnson isn’t the cream of the crop when it come to wide receivers in the NFL, he is still a dangerous number one option and deserves some respect after the season he had in 2021. The Steelers best receiver is entering a contract year and has all of the motivation in the world to prove his doubters wrong. Watch out EA.

Does Any Of This Even Matter?

No, not at all. Getting all fired up about made up numbers in a video game probably makes zero sense to non-sports fans and I completely understand why. At the end of the day however, it would be nice to see star players get the props they deserve. Whether it is an anti-Steelers bias or just plain incompetence, EA Sports and Madden NFL continue to slight Pittsburgh’s best year after year and I wouldn’t expect it to change as the rest of the positional ratings are released through out this week. Be on the lookout for a part two, as I’m sure more Pittsburgh Steelers snubs are on their way.