Every year thousands of gamers and football fans line up to purchase the newest installment in the Madden football series. I personally can say that I have been amongst those gamers since the initial release of the game for Super Nintendo (dating myself there). We have seen this game advance from sluggish, slow and without actual players into a very complete football title, however this years’ game offered something extra- poor talent evaluation in several areas, however I’d like to focus on just one.
If I were to ask you to match the 2008 statistics of a group of players with their given overall rating, could you do it? Let us find out-
1. 45 Tackles- 2.5 Sacks- 1 Fumble Forced
2. 75 Tackles- 4.5 Sacks- 0 Fumbles Forced
3. 39 Tackles- 5.5 Sacks- 2 Fumbles Forced
4. 44 Tackles- 1 Sacks- 0 Fumbles Forced
5. 51 Tackles- 8.5 Sacks- 3 Fumbles Forced
6. 56 Tackles- 1.5 Sacks- 0 Fumbles Forced
7. 22 Tackles- 1. Sacks- 0 Fumbles Forced
8. 52 Tackles- 3.5 Sacks- 1 Fumble Forced
9. 66 Tackles- 2 Sacks- 0 Fumbles Forced
A-1 Marcus Stroud, BUF
B-2 Shaun Rogers, CLE
C-4 Pat Williams, MIN
D-8 Kris Jenkins, NYJ
E-7 Casey Hampton, PIT
F-6 Jamal Williams, SD
G-3 Brandon Mebane, SEA
H-5 Albert Haynesworth, WAS
I-9 Vince Wilfork, NE
What does this mean? Well, clearly, 3-4 NT and 4-3 NT can have very different responsibilities, however one can definitely compare the 4-3 NT fairly accurately. Brandon Mebane of the Seahawks does, in fact, have the fewest number of tackles, however he has the 2nd highest number of sacks and 2nd highest number of fumbles forced of the 4 4-3 NT in the group. He also has more tackles than Casey Hampton, and 3-4 NT tend to have larger tackle numbers than their counterparts in 4-3 alignments. Just for grins and giggles, comparing Mebane to the 3-4 NT is also shocking- Mebane does have the 2nd fewest tackles in that group, but also bolsters the largest number of sacks and fumbles forced of the entire group.
I challenge you to approach any scout and/or general manager and ask him what he thinks is more important or more influential on a football game- sacks and turnovers or bulk tackles? Now consider what that answer would be when specifically asked about defensive lineman versus other defensive positions. All this adds up to 1 thing- Brandon Mebane is GROSSLY underrated. Mebane is one of the top player at his position league-wide and is being portrayed as a complete hack. While these other players are great, I think we can agree that they’re not 17 plus overall rating points better based on their on-field performance. It is pretty sad to see such a great talent continue to go unheralded by the media and most NFL fans alike. It’s time for this to change.
It has recently come to my attention that the most recent roster update for Madden has increased his overall rating to 80, however that still leaves one of the leagues’ best penetrating interior defensive lineman well short of his elite colleagues and still is in dire need of adjustment. This also does those that don’t play online any good- they’re stuck with Mebane as a shell of what he actually is. All of this time placed into silly features like animated hand towels should be spent on better talent evaluation, maybe then players that deserve it will start getting proper recognition (we should be realistic, many casual fans seem to think that use of Madden ratings are an accurate method to determine which players are better).