The virtual awesomeness that is Aaron Rodgers helped make the Green Bay Packers the most played team online in “Madden NFL 12,” and judging by his ratings in “Madden 13,” we could be in for another year of “frozen tundra” domination.
What can I say, that 99 overall rating makes the man no joke (in real life and in “Madden”).
But he’s not the only player in the game with that much juice, and every week leading up to the game’s launch, EA Sports is releasing the player ratings by position, starting with the quarterbacks, then working their way through running backs, receivers and defenders.
But as I sort through the top 10 quarterbacks, one name jumps out as missing, and that’s “Madden” cover star runner-up, Cam Newton. Cam is one of the top quarterbacks in the game when it comes to his acceleration and arm strength numbers (which translates into being one of the most fun QBs to play with), but his awareness rating is lower than anyone in the Top 15, while his throwing accuracy number is nowhere near elite. That being said, his running and bomb ability make him a winner in my eyes, even if he’s on the outside looking in on EA’s Top 10.
10. Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles: 89 overall
Long after Michael Vick has retired, the legend of his video game doppelganger will be remembered alongside other cyber superstars like Bo Jackson and Tom Chambers. Vick once again has the speed that would make most halfbacks in the game jealous, while also possessing one of the biggest arms in all of “Madden.”
9. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys: 90 overall
Romo remains a “Madden” favorite because he possesses the ability to pass the ball deep, throw with accuracy, and have just enough speed to be able to not only scramble away from the blitz, but take off down the field and get you that all-important first down with his legs.
8. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions: 91 overall
The Lions are going to be a popular team in “Madden 13,” thanks to the strong arm of Matthew Stafford and the beast-like ability of Megatron going deep. Stafford can throw the ball farther than any QB in “Madden,” and when you combine that with the spectacular catch ability of the “Madden 13” cover star, these two are going to put up some serious points.
7. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers: 92 overall
Rivers is one of those quarterbacks who is better in real life than in “Madden,” as his numbers make him accurate, but his inability to scramble makes him vulnerable to the pressure most gamers bring online. Better get the ball out of his hands quick if you hope to compete.
6. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos: 93 overall
This might have been the toughest ratings call for the folks at EA to make. Is Peyton the Peyton of old, or is he just old Peyton? We won’t know until we see him play in a real game this season, and we won’t know if his neck can hold up to the hits, but we do know the guy can still take charge of a team. His awareness numbers are through the roof, even if the rest of his ratings have taken a slight hit from years past.
5. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers: 95 overall
Big Ben can scramble just enough to get you out of trouble, has the strength to take a hit or two and still bounce off to make the throw, and the throwing power to heave the ball deep downfield to his speedy receivers.
4. Eli Manning, New York Giants: 97 overall
Not only does Eli Manning have more Super Bowl wins than his big brother, but now he’s also rated higher in “Madden.” Sounds like he’s got bragging rights to me.
3. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints: 98 overall
When playing as Drew Brees, it’s all about making the perfect pass and hitting your receivers in stride so they can rack up those yards after the catch. Brees’ accuracy numbers in the game are just sick, as is his polygonally jacked tight end running free down the middle of the field.
2. Tom Brady, New England Patriots: 98 overall
Brady’s throwing power and accuracy are elite, his awareness is off the charts, and his targets are second to none, especially when you combine the already dangerous Gronk and Welker with the deep threat and spectacular catch ability of free-agent acquisition Brandon Lloyd. Can any defense even match up?
1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers: 99 overall
Aaron Rodgers is the perfect video game quarterback. He can run, he can throw dimes 50 yards downfield, he can squeeze the ball between defenders in the clutch, and he can throw on the run better than just about anyone in the game. All hail the polygonal Packers, once again, the most feared team in “Madden.”
Don’t agree with what you see? Hit up the official EA Sports Facebook page throughout the week for your chance to change the ratings. Fans will be given the ability to vote for which players should have the highest traits (accuracy, throwing power), and the winners of the vote will see their ratings increase when “Madden 13” ships August 28.