It's ratings week for Madden 21.
As ever, the OVRs are causing arguement and discussion among players & fans, but that is hiding the real problem.
Madden's ratings are just too high to properly function, they need to come down to FIFA's level.
The problem of 99 OVR
When it comes to Madden, EA regularly starts the game with a handful of the NFL's best at 99 OVR.
It's rare that a young player will have the maximum rating, but we've already seen Patrick Mahomes, at 24, get 99 OVR for Madden 21.
While Mahomes is unarguably a terrific player, setting him at 99 OVR gives no room for growth. He's already at the ceiling of the OVR system.
This may be fine game to game, but within Franchise Mode players will play through five-plus seasons. By starting at 99 OVR Mahomes has no where to go.
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Individual stats may rise, but that OVR will go nowhere.
Compare this to FIFA, where Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo regularly start around the 93-94 OVR mark, and sensational young star Kylian Mbappe is sat on 89 OVR.
FIFA ratings include a potential, that with the right development and some time a player could improve too.
Madden has no such system, and it desperately needs one.
OVR does not reflect performance
The inflation of OVR within Madden has led to huge problems within the game.
Often older players, thanks to stats like awareness and play recognition, get an OVR boost compared to younger players, whose better athleticism means they play far better in-game.
OVR is broken in Madden.
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Rookies are regularly capped at 80 OVR and below, and yet will have a bigger impact on teams in the NFL than an experienced veteran with a Madden rating of 84+.
It simply no longer represents real life.
FIFA can suffer from that issue with younger players too, but that's where the potential comes in to save the day once more.
Young players develop, and there's never really a risk of hitting a ceiling or an unattainable height of current players.
A solution is possible
EA can maintain elite individual stats, like a 96 speed or 97 throw power, without going to the length of a 99 OVR score.
Mbappe's 96 speed and Messi's 97 dribbling are all contained within lower OVRs.
Mahomes' clear passing talents can be limited too.
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Imagine a world where Mahomes was a 94 OVR with 99 OVR potential - you could spend years developing him to hit that ceiling. You'd have lesser QBs rated similarly to the rookies, but Joe Burrow could come in with a 95 OVR potential.
Some of this is dealt with by Madden's "development trait" but it is horribly vague and difficult to grind out the attributes needed to impact a player.
Sure, EA would get a backlash the first year they moved the OVR bar. They are good at dealing with Madden community negativity though, as the Fix Madden Franchise trend has shown.
It's time EA really looked at Franchise Mode and gave players more representative OVRs that also created clear skill gaps between players.