Let’s predict the biggest ratings changes for the Chiefs with Madden ’21 on the way.
Hot take: Madden 21 might be the closest that we get this fall to “football”
America’s botched coronavirus response has resulted in the disease sticking around much longer than it should have, with an angry and dangerous resurgence currently underway. The Premier League has already shown that the model of isolating players and controlling exposure does not work well, and the NBA is nowhere near ready to open or play basketball, despite being less than a month away from the controlled restart of the season. These serve as massive red flags for any professional sport looking to start their season in the next few months, like the NFL.
With a much larger player count than the NBA and the Premier League combined, the NFL would be presented with a near impossible task of isolating and quarantining all of those players as well as all of the team employees that travel as well—everything from trainers and medics to equipment personnel and statisticians). That is on top of having to play games without fans; without ticket revenue, the NFL will only be losing money in 2020-2021.
While the NFL attempts to figure out how to have an actual season, at least football fans can turn to the release of Madden 21 on August 25th for at least some form of predictable football.
While the gameplay may not change much from year to year in the Madden series, what keeps selling each new title in the series are the updated rosters and player ratings. With modern gaming, player ratings can be adjusted mid-season, but Madden devs tend to save the massive rating changes for the next title in the series. (See Patrick Mahomes‘ change in Madden 19 to Madden 20.)
In order to drown out the part of my brain that is softly humming Lil Uzi Vert’s “XO Tour Llif3” as it comes to the sad possibility of a winter without football, we are going to spend time analyzing and speculating how the Madden ratings experts will value key players for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Tyrann Mathieu – 96 OVR
Every Chiefs’ player may have earned themselves a bump in value when it comes to Madden thanks to now having a Super Bowl ring to their name. Above that, many other players will get a ratings boost as a result of popping off and having breakout performances in the 2019 season. Mecole Hardman burned the NFL despite having such a low number of snaps. Damien Williams showed his ability to be clutch in high stakes games. Frank Clark embodied the traits of a closing pitcher by putting the exclamation point on the end of many games throughout the season.
Above all of the other breakouts throughout the season, safety Tyrann Mathieu stands above the rest as the most productive and surprising star on the Chiefs’ defense.
Mathieu was no slouch in his previous six seasons in the NFL, and his time at LSU before that earned him the “Honey Badger” nickname for his ferocious, high energy play. In 2019, however, Mathieu finally elevated himself past the plateau that had plagued him in recent seasons as he established himself as one of the league’s elite defensive backs.
Much like a Pokemon, Mathieu evolved in 2019, as he moved on from his “Honey Badger” stage to become the “Landlord”. His leadership elevated the players around him, and his versatility gave the defense more depth and unpredictability. His intelligence forced offenses to stay honest while also avoiding him at all cost.
In Madden 20, Tyrann Mathieu had a 87 overall rating at launch, and throughout the season, was elevated to a 92 overall. It makes perfect sense not only for Mathieu to receive a massive ratings bump in the next title, but to also receive an X-Factor ability, specifically one that heightens the abilities of the players around him. Putting Tyrann Mathieu in the top 4% of players rated 97 and higher did not feel quite right, given that those spots are typically reserved for the best players of their positions, and will probably be reserved for Devin McCourty and Earl Thomas.