Cowboys Fan & Ratings Adjustor Snubs Carson Wentz in Madden NFL 20

Carson Wentz

Getty Carson Wentz is ready for the 2019 NFL season.

First, the good news. The Philadelphia Eagles are the highest-rated team this year in the latest installment of the Madden NFL video game franchise. The team’s overall rating clocked in at 89, with five players rated at 90 overall or better. Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox received the highest grade at 96.

That’s the pat-yourself-on-the-back part. There was an immediate uproar among Eagles fans and sports talkers over the incredibly low grade for Carson Wentz. The Eagles starting quarterback received an 82 overall, tying Wentz for the 14th best signal-caller on the game with Deshaun Watson. He’s down four points from last year and a whopping 15 points behind the game’s cover boy Patrick Mahomes.

After Cox, the next highest Eagle was center Jason Kelce (94). Tight end Zach Ertz (93), safety Malcolm Jenkins (92) and offensive guard Brandon Brooks (90) all fared well. Here is how Madden NFL’s official website described the Eagles (click here for a full breakdown) as a team.

The Eagles check into Madden 20 with five players at 90 OVRs or better, and two with 89 OVRs. Five of those seven players are either on the offensive or defensive line, which goes to show how important it is in Madden to have strong fronts on both sides of the ball. The guys in the trenches don’t get the glamour of skill position players, but they do the dirty work. Guys like DT Fletcher Cox (96 OVR), C Jason Kelce (94 OVR), RG Brandon Brooks (90 OVR) RT Lane Johnson (89 OVR), and RE Brandon Graham (89 OVR) anchor this Philly roster, creating and protecting for the rest of the squad.

Yes, the Philly Special is an option in the game for several teams and listed as “Philly Special.” Following the Eagles, the top five teams ranked on the game include Dallas Cowboys (88), New Orleans Saints (87), New England Patriots (87), Green Bay Packers (87).

Ratings Adjuster for EA Sports is a Cowboys Fan

According to Reddit users, Dustin Smith (@Equipment_Guru) is the head rating adjuster for EA Sports and routinely trolls fans of the popular video game on social media. Over the years, he has shown a biased propensity for ranking Cowboys players higher than they might be worth in real life. To his credit, he did rate Wentz a full point higher than Dak Prescott (81).

Smith and his EA Sports colleague Andre Weingarten make the final decisions on how players are rated, according to ESPN. They pore over data and put in 50-hour work weeks, all from their sixth-floor cubicles in a nondescript building about 30 miles northeast of Disney World. Smith, who grew up near Kansas City, isn’t ashamed of his Cowboys fandom. He has eight Cowboys helmets and four Cowboys jerseys surrounding his desk, according to ESPN.

Smith’s desk looks like it belongs in Texas — eight Dallas Cowboys helmets and four Cowboys jerseys surrounding him. It’s an odd fit for a man who grew up in the Kansas City suburbs, a one-time defensive back at Raytown (Missouri) High School who used to hear flyovers at Arrowhead Stadium from his house. After graduation, he worked as a valet at the Argosy Casino in Riverdale, Missouri, playing Madden in his free time and logging on to the Operation Sports message board in 2008 and 2009. He would point out mistakes and make suggestions on what the game was missing, particularly with player likeness and gear.

Another guy, Clint Oldenburg, is in charge of gameplay and design for EA Sports’ Madden franchise and was the subject of a special documentary that will air on ESPN’s critically-acclaimed E:60 show. The episode is slated for July 21, but he teased a sample clip about what lengths NFL players will go through to increase their ratings.

“They will do just about anything outside of a bribe to get their ratings up,” Oldenburg told ESPN. “I’ve seen things like guys actually take off walking boots after a surgery to prove to us that they’re healthy. People have sent us videos of themselves competing in track events or other sporting events, maybe to get their speed rating up. The stuff that these guys will do to make us see the things that they want us to see really has no limits.”

Madden NFL 20 is scheduled to be released on August 2 for both XBox One and Playstation 4.

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