Madden 22 consistently gives a weekly roster update with player ratings in flux based on NFL performances, but somehow that's caused Deshaun Watson to get a boost.
We're looking closer and how the Madden 22 ratings for Deshaun Watson have changed over the season and why EA Sports could be choosing to make these adjustments.
Latest - Watson Madden 22 ratings now falling
It's been just over a month since we originally published this look at Deshaun Watson's peculiar ratings adjustments in Madden 22.
After sitting frozen at 86 OVR for three weeks following his odd Week 12 boost, Watson has now dipped for two straight weeks putting him down to an 84 OVR rating.
The situation still makes very little sense however, as even his Week 16 adjustments included an increase in Throw Under Pressure.
Once again, the only way Madden Ratings Adjusters could make an informed decision to improve his Throw Under Pressure at a time where he's not playing or practicing would be if Watson's own camp is providing private practice footage.
With the season now winding down, we'll have to wait and see if Watson continues to get adjustments in the final regular season and even postseason ratings updates despite not playing a single NFL snap this season.
Deshaun Watson just got a Madden 22 ratings boost
Since the launch of Madden 22 back in August and the subsequent start of the NFL season, EA Sports has made a habit of delivering a weekly roster update to the game.
Each roster update adjusts the in-game player ratings of dozens of NFL stars based on their real-life performances in NFL games.
The only factor in each week's adjustments is supposed to be real-world performance, or lack thereof, but somehow EA Sports is boosting ratings for a player who hasn't played a single game all year.
Serious sexual abuse allegations leveled against Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson earlier this year have caused a standoff keeping him on the bench all season, and the Texans and NFL both seem incapable of taking any real action over the allegations.
When Madden 22 was released, Deshaun Watson had a 90 OVR rating which made him the sixth highest rated quarterback in the entire game.
EA Sports started tinkering with Watson's rating with the very first roster update as they docked points for his Throw Under Pressure and Throw Accuracy Short.
After being left alone in Week 2, the Week 3 update decreased Watson's Awareness, but inexplicably increased his Throw Under Pressure back to the rating it had at launch.
Week 3 also docked his Throw Accuracy Medium, but it boosted Watson's rating in Throw on the Run before leaving his ratings alone again in Week 4.
We're now coming off the Week 12 Roster Update, and rating adjustments over the weeks have boosted Watson's Awareness, Throw Under Pressure, Throw on the Run, and Throw Accuracy Deep to culminate in Watson's overall rating increasing from an 85 OVR in Week 11 to an 86 OVR in Week 12.
Why is EA Sports increasing Watson's ratings?
EA Sports loves to turn the spotlight towards their coveted Madden Ratings Adjusters, and the primary face of the group this year has been Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson (though Peyton Manning will be assuming the mantle moving forward).
Each week we've gotten videos with words from Chad Johnson discussing the big plays and moments that led to their Madden 22 rating changes.
The problem is that there is no tape to analyze for Deshaun Watson, as he hasn't played a single snap of the ball this season.
Unless EA Sports is choosing to purely guess how they think Watson is progressing without being on the field, there has to be some way they're deciding to make these adjustments.
The decreasing ratings in certain stats make sense, as Watson's absence would naturally make him rusty and a bit less effective as he'd be getting back into the groove of things if he played again.
EA Sports has said before that players who disagree with their ratings can show evidence to get them changed, and we've seen certain players get increases to speed based on past performances as far back as their high school track days.
With that in mind, it's possible that Deshaun Watson and his camp are actively sending new evidence of Watson's skill to EA Sports to support those rating improvements. Or these changes came from more systematic moves on EA's part in relation to Madden 22 ratings overall.
Alleged sexual abusers generally get to stay in Madden games
While it may seem surprising for EA Sports to be boosting someone facing the kinds of allegations that have been leveled against Watson, it's somewhat par for the course in Madden.
In general, EA Sports has taken the stance for years that they won't remove a player from the game unless the NFL chooses to take action that forces their hand.
That's not to say they're incapable of delivering punishment or consequences to players facing these accusations, and EA Sports is perfectly capable of removing people from the game when they decide it's necessary.
Following a drunk driving incident that led to a fatal crash triggering charges of DUI Resulting in Death and Reckless Driving Resulting in Death, Henry Ruggs III was removed from Madden 22 in the November Title Update.
In addition, we saw the removal of Jon Gruden following revelations of racist remarks by Gruden which caused his resignation as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.
So while EA has shown they will remove players and coaches from the game for some actions, players accused of sexual abuse never seem to meet that threshold.
The following players with sexual abuse allegations remain active NFL players, and are still on the Madden 22 roster:
- Richie Incognito, Las Vegas Raiders
- Jordan Hicks, Arizona Cardinals
- Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints
- Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
- Nelson Agholor, New England Patriots
In addition to those players still active, retired players Frostee Rucker (Accused of Rape in 2002) and Ahmad Brooks (Accused of Sexual Battery in 2015) were both brought back and given cards in Madden Ultimate Team just in the last four years.
Half a dozen other NFL players have been accused of sexual abuse over the years that faced no league punishment, and as a result, stayed in Madden games until their departure from the NFL.
All the way back on March 16, 2021, just one day before the NFL year began, the first of nearly two dozen lawsuits were filed against Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson alleging sexual assault and inappropriate behavior during massage sessions.
According to the latest reporting by ESPN, there are currently 22 active lawsuits against Watson, and ten women have filed criminal complaints with the Houston Police Department (8 of whom also filed lawsuits).
Despite this, it looks like Deshaun Watson will continue to enjoy his Madden 22 ratings boosts until the NFL takes action or a new development takes place in these various civil and criminal cases.