- Why they're the perfect conversation starters as we wrap up the NFL's dead season.
Perhaps indicative of our place on the football calendar—so close to the cusp of consequential news, but still teetering on the edge of the dead period—the thing to do online Monday was complain about Madden ratings.
Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen was upset about his “deep route running” ability being a 75/100.
Cam Jordan struggled to diplomatically make it through a reveal.
Tom Brady responded by making one of those awful dad jokes.
And so on, and so on.
I know what you think I’m going to say: That we need to get to actual football already because of the utter meaninglessness of this moment in time. That these players need to stop being so whiny. They’re millionaires, after all! But I agree with any NFL player railing at their Madden ratings. For some of these guys, making it into the game that made them care about football in the first place is a significant moment. For others, they understand that the game is the window into the NFL world for many young fans. Few 12 year olds are poring over Cam Jordan’s game film, but many simply pull up his Madden player page and say, Yawn. J.J. Watt is way better (even though he’s not!).
The thing I think we forget about, especially this time of year, is how maxed out all these players are physically and mentally, and how dependent a lot of their success is on the players and coaches around them. The ones who make it to the point where they’re good enough to haggle about their deep route running ability are the kind of people who have put in some serious work to move themselves ahead of the league’s robust middle class, where there is almost no difference, skill-wise, from player to player. Compare that to the massive, cut-and-dry audience that devours this game and largely sees players as the digital analogues Madden produces.
Thankfully, there are in-season updates to these things. Here’s hoping Allen scores a few deep touchdowns to start the season.
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1. A very debatable list of head coach power rankings.
2. Ezekiel Elliott may end up holding out, which he absolutely should do.
3. The Ravens are going to run all over the NFL in 2019.
4. 2018 Giants sixth-round pick Kamrin Moore has been arrested for allegedly punching a woman and stepping on her neck. The Giants have suspended him until further notice.
5. You too can have the same grass in your yard as Lambeau Field.
A question we’re still unfortunately trying to answer.
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