By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com
How the real-life Patriots will look on the field in 2020 may be the biggest question in the NFL. While we’re still weeks, or months, away from that answer, we got a brief peek over the weekend into the virtual 2020 Patriots.
Saturday night, Sports Gamers Online released a video of screenshots revealing the top player ratings in the Madden 21 beta (a temporary closed game demo meant to test customers’ opinions of the game). Those who are given access to the beta are supposed to keep its contents confidential, and only report back to EA Sports, but in recent years bits of information have made it to the public discourse.
According to the screenshots, Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore will be one of four ‘99 overall’ rated players in the game. 99 is the highest rating possible in Madden, and has turned into its own bit of notoriety in recent years with the addition of the “99 Club.”
Gilmore, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, joins Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Donald, and Christian McCaffrey as the elite of the elite in Madden 21.
This is the fifth time in six years the Patriots have been represented in the “99 Club” at the game’s launch. Tom Brady had the honor in Madden 16 and 17, with Rob Gronkowski rising to that status for Madden 18. Both were 99’s for Madden 19, before the Patriots disappeared from the category completely in last year’s game.
This year, Brady received a 90 rating, his lowest since 2003, while the recently unretired Gronk earned a 95.
Other Patriots 99’s include Adam Vinatieri (Madden 04, 06), Randy Moss (Madden 09), and Ben Coates (Madden 99).
Devin McCourty was the only other Patriot to show up in the SGO video, rated as a 92 overall. It’s the same rating he had in the final roster update last season.
Of course, this was just the beta version of Madden 21, and things could still change before the game’s official release on August 25. Only Patrick Mahomes rating has been confirmed, but that one was a no-brainer.
Still, Gilmore and McCourty’s ratings, and perhaps more-so the absence of any other Patriots players (Edelman, Thuney, Hightower?) in the 90+ range is an interesting peek at how the national football community views the Patriots heading into 2020.
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at Alexander.Barth@bbgi.com.