A football-starved world means that Madden 21‘s upcoming release and ratings mean more than ever, and the San Francisco 49ers and George Kittle can relate.
From the the tight end’s perspective, this year’s edition of the famous franchise is his best yet, with Kittle clocking in at a 98 overall which is the highest rating for any tight end in the game.
However, it’s not quite enough to be a member of the “99 Club” alongside Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, Los Angeles Rams DT Aaron Donald, New England Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore, New Orleans Saints WR Michael Thomas and Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffery.
Talking on the 49ers’ official website, Kittle offered some playful comments about not being a 99, throwing a joking jab McCaffery’s way.
“They don’t want me to be great, that’s what it is, they don’t want me to be great. Just because Christian McCaffery is a 99 because he’s beautiful and he has biceps the size of my quads, doesn’t mean that I can’t also be a 99.”
Broken Tackle Rating
As the video’s conversation went on and addressed specific skill ratings, one that came up was Kittle’s broken tackle rating, which saw the 49er measure up with an 81, tied-for-second on the team.
The moment the tight end learned he was second, his mind immediately jumped to San Francisco WR Deebo Samuel, who received an 83 in the category.
“If Deebo has a higher broken tackle rating than me, that’s just not okay. It is Deebo isn’t it? Sure, whatever. I think I led the NFL [in broken tackles] the past two years so it’s fine.”
While Kittle should think his broken tackle rating could be higher, his statement on leading the NFL in broken tackles isn’t quite accurate, but he’s not completely wrong either.
The qualifier that he forgot is that he has the most among tight ends, which is still impressive to say the least. If the past two seasons are any indicator, Kittle will only add to that number and continue to be a tackling nightmare for defenders.
Kick Return Rating
While Kittle has a point with his broken tackle rating, he didn’t have much to object too when he was told his kick return rating was a 10, pretty much the lowest possible.
However, what he didn’t appreciate was being tied with 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
“The fact that I’m tied with Jimmy G,” Kittle said. “Are you kidding me? No offense, Jimmy, but total offense. I was a punt returner in high school. A backup. Trent Williams though has to be better than a  too because I would get out of his way.”
It’s funny to just consider the idea of Kittle lining up as a kick or punt returner, but it’s even more hilarious to imagine Jimmy G or offensive tackle Trent Williams running out to return kicks.
The 49ers can’t thank the football gods that they don’t have to see either line up as a returner.
Evan Reier is a sportswriter covering the San Francisco 49ers for Heavy.com and local sports for the Montana Standard in Butte, Mont. Reach out to him on Twitter at @evanreier and join our 49ers community at Heavy on 49ers on Facebook.