Overall ratings for the ten highest-rated players on each team in the upcoming Madden 21 video game have been leaked, courtesy of Madden School, a website dedicated to fans of the popular franchise.
While Steelers fans will be happy to view the ratings earlier than expected, many are struggling to see how the numbers add up.
Guard David DeCastro comes in as the highest-rated Steeler at 91 overall, followed closely by defensive end Cam Heyward at 90. They are surprisingly the only teammates in the above 90 overall.
Still, the biggest snub of the ratings has to be outside linebacker T.J. Watt — arguably the Steelers’ best player — who received a rating of just 86. Watt earned First-Team All-Pro honors and finished third in NFL Defensive Player of the Year voting last season. He was named the league’s best edge rusher by CBS Sports just three weeks ago.
Watt appears to be using his rating as motivation.
Man on a mission.— TJ Watt (@_TJWatt) July 13, 2020
Watt is not the only criminally-underrated Pittsburgh defender in this year’s game, as the argument can be made that safety Minkah Fitzpatrick’s overall is also to low. Fitzpatrick was also a Defensive Player of the Year candidate in 2019, and projects to be one this year as well. The Alabama-product was a game changer in 14 games with the Steelers last season, picking off five passes and scoring two defensive touchdowns.
The ratings do show some love towards defensive end Stephon Tuitt at 87, who played just six games last season after suffering a torn pectoral.
Notable Steelers absent from the top-10 include running back James Conner, cornerback Steven Nelson and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
While Roethlisberger is coming off a serious injury and entering his 17th season, it is hard to believe that Madden giving him a rating below 80, especially when he was an 85 at the launch of last year’s version of the game.
Nelson’s absence is also a headscratcher, considering he turned into a shutdown corner for the Steelers last season. He was named one of the league’s best in man coverage last season by Pro Football Focus.
Nelson took to Twitter on Monday, admitting he stopped paying attention to Madden ratings a long time ago, while his partner Joe Haden offered some words of encouragement.
I stop caring about madden ratings years ago. If everybody complaining about there ratings then I just know my rating super boo boo lol I’m still fye on the sticks tho #smokedog— Steve Nelson (@Nelson_Island) July 14, 2020
Although video game ratings do not hold much value in the grand scheme of things, they should provide some extra motivation this season for Steelers team that returns its franchise quarterback and of the league’s best defensive units.
For comparison’s sake, here’s a list of Steelers ratings from Madden 2020.