<
>

Players acutely aware of 'Madden' scores

Every time I write an item about ratings for the "Madden" video game, I receive responses from readers who just don't understand the phenomenon.

"Madden" has become an NFL institution. Back in the day, athletes used to know they made it when they saw themselves on a trading card and would compare them over the years. Now they eagerly await their video-game ratings.

On Monday's edition of "NFL Live," host Suzy Kolber asked studio analysts Tedy Bruschi and Eric Allen how much "Madden" scores matter among the players.

Allen mentioned he played on teams that gave out championship belts.

"It was a big deal to win the Madden challenge at the end of training camp," Allen said.

Bruschi said Madden carried "a lot of weight, especially the younger [players]" with the New England Patriots.

"I remember plenty of locker-room conversations where guys are talking about their speed ratings, their strength ratings," Bruschi said.

"But I'll tell you what's most important: Your awareness rating. If you've got a 60 or a 65 awareness, you need to get yourself in the film room because even Madden sees it."

EA Sports, maker of the "Madden" franchise, is leaking ratings for teams, star players and top rookies here and there, but a complete list of individual player scores hasn't been released. "Madden NFL 11" comes out in August.

Since Bruschi brought it up, here are some of the notable AFC East veterans (rookies and players who haven't seen much action are skewed much lower) who had weak awareness ratings in "Madden NFL 10" last year.