Every year a select few NFL players are given a near-perfect rating of 99 in Madden, which means there are inevitably just as many snubs.
Madden NFL 20 will officially hit the shelves on Aug. 2, and reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes will grace the cover after essentially redefining the quarterback position. Now that would make him a pretty easy shoe-in for a 99 rating in Madden, except, well, Madden apparently doesn’t think a quarterback who can throw no-look passes with either hand is worth that rating.
In fact, no quarterback is rated 99 in Madden 20. The video game franchise announced its “Madden 99 club” for the upcoming season, and only four players made the cut.
Those four players are Aaron Donald, DeAndre Hopkins, Bobby Wagner, and Khalil Mack. Since Donald is one of the best defensive tackles in NFL history, Wagner is the best middle linebacker in the league, Mack eats offensive players alive for dinner every Sunday, and Hopkins’s hands are probably made of a substance the government is dying to investigate, it’s safe to say all are deserving of a near-perfect rating.
But there are so many other players who have a case to be rated 99. Madden updates its ratings during the regular season, so they’ll have a chance to stick it to the raters by showing why they should be in the club, too.
Here are the five biggest snubs from the rated 99 club in Madden NFL 20.
There’s basically no way to construct an airtight argument as to whom is the best wide receiver in the NFL, because Hopkins, Odell Beckham Jr., Julio Jones, and Antonio Brown all have a case. But it’s crazy to think that Brown went from being the Madden NFL 19 cover guy – and rated 99 – to getting a downgrade after producing some more jaw-dropping numbers in 2018.
Brown caught 104 passes for 1,297 and led the league with 15 receiving touchdowns (a career high), meaning he averaged one touchdown per game. Technically Brown had nowhere to go but “down” after leading the league with 1,533 receiving yards in 2017, but a combination of JuJu Smith-Schuster’s breakout season and Ben Roethlisberger’s declining deep ball had more to do with the drop in yards per reception from 15.2 to 12.5.
On the field, Brown is as good as ever. He’s dominant in the red zone, he tracks down deep passes like few others in this league, and his next-level route-running is a testament to the work he puts in. Brown is still the standard at the wide receiver position when looking at production.
Unfortunately, Brown will have a difficult time getting back to a 99 rating if Madden focuses on the numbers, since it may be harder for him to pile on the stats in the Oakland Raiders offense. Then again, Derek Carr is at his best in a spread offense, and that could be what Jon Gruden has planned after adding deep threats Tyrell Williams and JJ Nelson to flank Brown.
He could receive a high volume of targets in 2019, and surely the 99 snub will have him playing with an even bigger chip on his shoulder. After all, he has an entire franchise, the Pittsburgh Steelers, to show up.