Sunday, August 19, 2012

Attribute Spotlight - Madden 13 Tight End catch (CAT) attribute inconsistency.

On Friday (8/17/12), EA released the complete Madden NFL 13 Tight End attribute ratings - here is the link

This is third blog post I have done regarding the new Madden 13 catch (CAT) attributes. 

Here is the RB catch blog:

Here is the WR catch blog:

I strongly encourage you to read the WR and RB posts as well.  Individually and together, all of these posts reveal the undeniable inaccuracy that EA is providing gamers in regards to the catch attribute.     

Before, I started gathering information, I separated the WR's and TE's from the spreadsheet EA has provided fans.  By doing this you can see the averages for each attribute at both positions.

The average catch attribute in Madden 13 for TE's is 73.4, with a range from 45 to 97.

Like I said in my previous blog post, "If the catch (CAT) attribute determines the frequency at which a player will catch the football in Madden 13, then it should be a top priority for accuracy.  In many cases, the accuracy of the CAT attribute is the difference between picking up a first down or scoring a TD.  Dropped passes happen in the NFL, but shouldn't the players who drop the ball at a higher rate in the NFL also drop the ball at a higher rate in Madden football?  I think so." 

What I have done, is gather three years (2009 to 2011) of catch statistics and compared them to the NEW Madden 13 catch attributes.  Why three seasons worth of data?  Because, I don't believe one good or bad season should make or break a players attribute ratings.  A three year look at the statistics allows you to see the big picture, which I believe is a more accurate representation of the players ability to physically catch the football.

I have selected 28 Tight Ends, some big name players and some lesser name players.  I broke them into 4 groups to more objectively compare them to one another.  Those groups are based on the number of catches made over the last 3 seasons.  This is only a sample and I strongly encourage ALL Madden fans to explore more player statistics and attributes.  These are not the only examples of inaccurate catch attributes among Madden 13 Tight Ends.

Here is the group breakdown:

Group 1:  200 or more receptions.
Group 2:  199 to 150 receptions.
Group 3:  149 to 100 receptions.
Group 4:  99 or fewer receptions. (Please note:  Many were rookies last year, an (*) means less than 3 years in the NFL.)

First let's take a look at the entire NFL and what ALL wide receivers, tight ends and running backs have done in regards to drop percentage from 2009 to 2011:

* PLEASE NOTE - The difficulty of routes and the fact that wide receivers and tight ends have to make more catches in traffic, could explain why running backs have the lowest drop percentage.  

When it comes to the catch (CAT) attribute, I believe each position should be analyzed and rated against others at the same position.


Here is the first group:

M13 CAT = The original Madden 13 catch attribute as of 8/17/12.

RED = worse than the average drop % for the Tight End position from 2009 through the 2011 NFL season.


1.  Is Tony Gonzalez really seven points worse than Jason Witten in the catch attribute?  Gonzo has the 6th highest catch attribute in Madden 13 for a TE (at this time).  That sounds pretty good, but when you see the statistics for the other four players above him, you might think Gonzalez has earned a better attribute rating.  I believe he deserves better.  You don't have to be a Falcons fan to see the obvious.

BTW - Gonzo had a drop percentage of 3.61% in 2011; so what is Donny looking at here?  This has to be an oversight, right?

2.  Witten has earned his CAT attribute and EA got this one right.

3.  Winslow an 84 CAT?  Hmmmm.  Again, wait until you see the next two groups of TE's, I think you will see that Winslow is clearly underrated in this attribute.

4.  Yes, Vernon Davis has an issue when it comes to dropping catchable passes.  He did improve last year with a 6.94% drop rate, but does that mean we should forget 2009 and 2010?  I don't think so, and that is why I like looking at the three most recent seasons.  This is actually a favorable catch attribute when you look at the last three seasons combined.

Has Davis improved?  Yes, and he will get the opportunity to build on that.  Let's see if Davis has really turned the corner, or if he reverts back to the 08' through 10' version.  Another year like 2011 and he will be developing a new trend.  Cross your fingers Niner fans:)


1.  Pay close attention to this table and the next one,  things get very interesting.

2.  Antonio Gates has been great the last three years, but not better than Gonzalez who received a 90 CAT  attribute.  Don't get me wrong, I like the rating Gates has, it's just a great example of the inconsistency in this attribute.

3.  You have to feel for Heath Miller.  If Miller was a more popular name around the NFL, I bet he would get the respect he clearly deserves.  There is no excuse for this one EA, fix it ASAP.

4.  How in the world are Keller, Clark, and Celek rated higher than Heath Miller?  People will say that drop percentage shouldn't be the only factor.  Even if that was true, isn't this too big a difference in drop percentage to ignore?

5.  If your last name is Miller, don't expect to get an accurate catch attribute in Madden 13.  See:  Zach Miller and Heath Miller.



1.  This was my favorite table out of all of them.  There are players who have the exact same statistics, while others are extremely close.  If you looked up inconsistency in the dictionary, you would see a picture of this table.  This table is full of less popular players with a few BIG names mixed in.

2.  Is Gronkowski overrated in this attribute?  Remember, Tony Gonzalez is only a 90 CAT and he has 101 more receptions and a much better drop percentage than Gronkowski.

Gronk is very good, but he is not even the best among this group, let alone the previous group. Please note - I am not saying Gronk isn't a great player, I am talking about one attribute in particular and that's the catch (CAT) attribute.  If it's only based on the number of receptions for the previous season, then this rating would be good.  If you consider drop percentage Gronk is closer to being average than elite.

In this attribute, Gronk has not reached the level of Witten, Gonzalez and Gates.  Let's not forget, Kellen Winslow, he had a better drop percentage than Gronk last season (7.41% to 8.16%) and over the last three years (6.06% to 7.69%).  Despite those numbers, Winslow only has an 84 CAT attribute.

3.  Meet the very boring Anthony Fasano.  He is honored to meet you.  Did you know he had the second best drop percentage among this group.  Granted, he barely qualified for this group, but since he does we can't ignore him.  86 is a very good catch attribute and under different circumstances might be deemed accurate.  Unfortunately, EA has no scale in regards to the catch (CAT) attribute and based on other catch attribute for TE's, you could argue that Fasano is underrated.

4.  Graham had a breakout season in 2011, he lead all TE's with 99 receptions.  The question is how much weight should one season have in Madden ratings.  Graham has played two seasons so far, so it's safe to say next year he won't be in this group.  Does he deserves a better CAT attribute than Antonio Gates or Tony Gonzalez?  In my opinion, not yet.  Let's see what Graham does for an encore before ranking him above two sure fire Hall of Famers who are still producing at a high level.

5.  Check out Fred Davis and Marcedes Lewis.  They have the exact same statistics (I even doubled checked), yet they there is 9 points difference between their catch attributes.  So who is right and who is wrong?  I would say Lewis is closer to the correct attribute, and Davis is the overrated one.  Both are
worse than the NFL average and there CAT attributes should reflect that.  Fred Davis did have a very good 2011 (4.84%) and Lewis struggled (13.33%).  In 2009 and 2010, Lewis was better than Davis.  This another reason why I like to look at the last three years (when possible).  A real "ratings team" could choose to give Davis the edge because of last season, but should that edge be 9 points?  I don't think so.

6.  Ben Watson and JerMichael Finley are almost exactly the same in this table.  The big difference is, one plays for Cleveland and the other plays for Green Bay.  Finley gets talked about more as having BIG upside, and Watson isn't.  Much like Lewis, Watson has earned his CAT attribute, unfortunately, Finley is living off of perception.

For the people who only want to base attributes on the most recent season, Finley's drop percentage in 2011 was 19.05%.  That was one of the worst drop percentages among starting TE's in 2011 per

7.  Aaron Hernandez (91) has a higher CAT attribute than Tony Gonzalez (90).  I'm not making this up.  Hernandez is a good player, but he is no Tony Gonzalez when it comes to this statistic.  He had a very good season last year in regards to drop percentage (5.95%), but it still wasn't better than Gonzo (3.61%).  In his rookie season (2010), Hernandez was horrible with a 16.67% drop percentage.  Should this type of inconsistency result in a 91 CAT attribute, not to mention being rated higher than Tony Gonzalez?  Say it with me, "NO."



1.  I actually like the first three attribute ratings on this list.  Dreessen, Tamme, and Cook are well above average, but have not been over or underrated.  If there was an actual scale for this group (99 or less receptions), 86 seems like a great max.  These three players have done well, but have had more limited roles with their respective teams.  All three of them should play bigger roles this season.  Dreessen and Tamme will enjoy the new passing attack Peyton Manning brings to the Broncos; Cook will build on last season where he took over as a starter.

Unfortunately, EA doesn't have a true scale for each of these groups and fans will be justifiably upset when comparing these statistics to other TE's.  Remember, the average for a Madden 13 Tight End is a 73.4 catch attribute.  Every Tight End I covered in this blog is above the Madden average, yet several of them are below the NFL average.  The low Madden average can be attributed to the poor CAT attributes of "run blocking" TE's and players who have little to no NFL track record.


Final thoughts:

1.  So what is EA doing in regards to the catch attribute?  Are they ignoring last season or using last season?  Are they ignoring past performance or considering past performance?  Your guess is as good as mine, this attribute is so inconsistent it's impossible to pen down how EA determines who gets what.

If EA had standard procedures for assigning player attributes, they could increase attribute accuracy and reduce the inconsistency.  Unfortunately, there are no procedures that we know of, if there were, why would EA be afraid to share that information with fans?  That fact is, either they have no procedures to share with fans, or they don't believe in the ones they currently use.

Personally, I don't think they have any procedures.   There isn't enough time for one person (Donny Moore) to produce accurate ratings for all players and attributes, let alone attempting to do so without objective procedures.  It's an impossible task for one person.

EA - Give Donny Moore the required resources (manpower and money) to give the consumer and NFL professionals the player attributes they deserve.  

2.  I've been told, that the drop percentage statistic shouldn't be the only factor in determining the catch (CAT) attribute.  If the catch attribute is going to be this inconsistent, what is the alternative?

I believe the drop percentage statistic should play a major role in this attribute rating.  That said, the ideal situation is for a dedicated player ratings team of at least eight trained individuals, who follow standard procedures for each attribute.  I recommend eight individuals, so that each division is represented by someone who is required to evaluate every player for that division on a weekly basis.  Each week, these representatives will come together to discuss attribute ratings based on a standard set of procedures that each must follow.  All eight individuals must be properly vetted and assigned to a division that is the opposite conference of their favorite NFL team.  No one will evaluate their favorite NFL team, this will reduce bias.

I believe the procedures for the catch (CAT) attribute should start with:  the drop percentage, plus breaking players into groups (as you've seen in this blog), and creating an attribute range for each group.  From there, the team can have an objective discussion and decide how much the most recent season should factor into the rating.  A consensus must be reached before a player's attribute is modified.  If a consensus can't be reached, the player goes on a "watch list" and the discussion is revisited the following week.

That's it for now.  Putting out two blog posts in two days was fun, but tiring at the same time.  Thanks for following my blog and for all of the great feedback.  I read all of the comments and strive to get better with every blog.

Back to the real world on Monday, have a great week!

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