Saturday, August 18, 2012

Madden 13 Attribute Spotlight - Wide Receiver catch (CAT) attribute inconsistency.

UPDATE - **  UPDATE - If you like this blog post, check out my new BLOG PAGE:


Yesterday (8/17/12), EA released the complete Madden NFL 13 Wide Receiver attribute ratings - here is the link

This will be the first of many blogs reviewing Wide Receiver attributes.  I decided to look at the catch attribute first; I did something similar last week with Running Backs (see here:

My goal is to push EA to produce more accurate attributes.  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 for WR's.

The average catch attribute for a WR in Madden 13 is 78.3, with a range from 65 to 98.  Theoretically, if EA believes a WR is average when it comes to the act of catching a football, their catch (CAT) attribute should be at or near 78.  Of course, we know that in many cases EA uses attributes to manipulate OVR regardless of how the player actually performs in the NFL.

Based on the Madden 12 overall (OVR) formula for WR's, 18 attributes contribute to the overall.  Of those 18:  SPD, AWR, CAR, CAT, and RTE were tied as the most influential in the overall formula.  There has been no word from EA that the formula was changed for Madden 13, assuming it hasn't changed, you can see the importance of the CAT attribute.

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.

Fortunately, for fans and the ratings team at EA, provides some very in-depth statistics in regards to drops and drop percentage for NFL players.  It's these type of statistics that need to be utilized to help produce more realistic and consistent CAT attributes.  As we know, Donny Moore "The Ratings Czar" has stated several times that he utilizes PFF and values them as one of the best sources for NFL analysis.  I completely agree with Donny.  Unfortunately, he doesn't have the time or staff to look deep into those statistics and objectively apply them to ALL players.

What I have done was gather three years (2009 to 2011) of ProFootballFocus 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 29 Wide Receivers, 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 wide receivers.

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 have done in regards to drop percentage from 2009 to 2011:

The big question is - should EA sports utilized a number like 9.13% as a benchmark for the average catch attribute?  Basically, if player A has a drop percentage at or near 9.13% should that result in a catch (CAT) attribute at or near 78 (the Madden 13 average for WR's)?  I think most gamers would say NO, because for years they have been looking at the the total number of receptions and not the number of drops.

I love statistics, but I've said several times you need to look at ALL available statistics if you want to produce the most accurate and consistent player ratings.  In this case, the drop percentage should not be ignored.

Think about this.  If an NFL wide receiver is average when it comes to dropping passes, shouldn't he be average in Madden NFL  as well?  Feel free to leave a comment and defend your position as objectively as possible:)

Here are the numbers, one group at a time:

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


1.  Is it just me, or does Larry Fitzgerald deserve the top CAT attribute all by himself.  I'm sorry, but Wes Welker is not in the same class as Fitz when drop percentage is considered.  Welker drops the ball at a rate of 2.7 times more than Fitzgerald.

In Welker's case, it appears that only the total number of receptions was considered for his CAT attribute.  You can't disregard the drop percentage when assigning a CAT attribute.  I think it's clear, Fitzgerald has earned his CAT attribute, while Welker has not.  It's a classic case of perception vs reality.  I prefer reality.

2.  Reggie Wayne has earned the #2 spot among these WR's.  Should Johnson, Colston, and Welker really have a higher CAT attribute in Madden 13?  I don't think so.

3.  HELLO, McFly!!!  Honestly, the most embarrassing attribute rating on this list is Percy Harvin's 87.  I will just let you absorb those stats.  Viking fans, here is a objective way to show Donny Moore that one of your favorite WR's is getting hosed.  Just a thought:)

4.  Roddy White is within 0.04% of the NFL average in drop percentage over the last 3 seasons.  We are not talking about one bad year, we are talking about three seasons worth of statistics that are only four hundredths of a percent better than the NFL average.  How can EA justify a 92 CAT attribute when he is that close to the average?  I don't think you can justify it, if you consider drop percentage as well as number of receptions.



1.  Jabar Gaffney has one of the best drop percentages in the NFL over the last three seasons.  While a 90 CAT is very good, hasn't he earned better than that?  Maybe, it's because he is not a big name among the average NFL fan.  Or, maybe it's because played for 3 teams in the last four seasons.

Consider this, Gaffney has caught passes from six (by my count) different starting QB's during that time.  The skeptic can't even argue that Gaffney has had only great QB's throwing him the ball, unless you consider Grossman, Beck, Tebow and Orton great QB's.

2.  Too bad for Steve Breaston, he is just not a big enough name to get the CAT attribute he deserves.  For those Madden fans that want ratings based on perception, this is a perfect example of why that won't produce accurate and consistent attributes.  Kansas City fans, you should be screaming about his 83 CAT.

3.  Brandon Lloyd a 93 CAT.  Really?  What does that mean for Breaston?  Lloyd is better than the NFL average of 9.13%, but not by much.  DONNY - What is EA's benchmark for the CAT attribute?  It doesn't appear to be based of a players actually ability to catch a football.  

4.  Steve Smith, oh the great Steve Smith.  Big name WR, big name QB, and an overrated CAT attribute.  He has the 3rd highest catch attribute for a WR in Madden 13 with a 95.  Much like Roddy White in the previous table, he is just a hair better than the NFL average the last three seasons.

5.  Please sit down before you compare Garcon and Bowe.  You might fall over laughing.  They are both below the NFL average, but Bowe has received an inflated CAT attribute to say the least.  Garcon needs to turn Bowe into the authorities, because he stole that CAT attribute.  I don't know how Steve Breaston can play on the same field as Dwayne Bowe, it's got to be frustrating.



1.  Once again, big name (Bryant) versus lesser names (Floyd and Moore).  It's just too obvious at times that the popularity of a player or team effects Madden attributes.  Don't get me wrong, Bryant has a fantastic drop percentage.  That said, what about Moore and Floyd?  Moore has a great CAT at 90, but what is the reasoning for Bryant having 4 points more than Moore and 6 more points than Floyd?  This is why Madden fans get so frustrated with attribute ratings.

2.  Robert Meachem must not have had much support from the Saints fan base.  How on earth does he receive an 83 CAT attribute.  Charger fans, feel free to tweet @Donny_Moore about this one.  It makes no sense to me.

3.  Jordy Nelson enjoyed a breakout season during 2011; he only had 2 drops all year (2.86% drop rate).  That is an excellent drop rate, but should his previous two seasons be ignored.  I don't think so.  This is when we get into trouble with Madden ratings; one great season (or bad season) should not be the only factor.

Are Madden ratings based on only the most current year?  I don't think so, nor should it.  EA gives many veterans the benefit of the doubt for past performance.  The question is, how far back do you go?  I like 3 seasons, some might like 2 or 4.  Either way, we shouldn't put too much weight into one season.

Currently, Nelson has the 3rd highest CAT attribute among WR's.  I say, let him prove it one more year before including him with the ELITE pass catchers.  Think of it this way, does Nelson deserve to have the same CAT attribute as Reggie Wayne?  I don't think he does.



1.  This table includes many rookies and players who don't have a high number of receptions.  This is pure inconsistency.  The players with RED highlighted percentages are below the NFL average.  Notice Armstrong is the only WR below the Madden 13 average in CAT, while Decker is right on the average.  Do I even need to address how bad the Sanzenbacher rating fo 82 is?

2.  Victor Cruz, had a great year in 2011 and came out of no where to do it.  Unfortunately, for Cruz, I am not a Giants fan who will ignore his drops.  Donny Moore got beat up all year in regards to Victor's attributes, he responded by giving him an inaccurate CAT attribute.

We only have one NFL season to evaluate Cruz, in that season he was clearly worse than the average wide receiver in drop percentage.  So why did this statistic get ignored by EA?  Why did Cruz end up with the 5th highest catch attribute for a WR in Madden 13?  The answer, perception.  All people talked about were the great things Cruz was doing on the field, while forgetting to mention that he does have an issue with dropped passes.  This needs to stop.  Would this error really get by an objective team of evaluators?  

4.  It should be noted, that Darrius Heyward-Bey did improve last year with an 8.57% drop rate.  Prior to last season, he was flat out awful.  When you look at the last three seasons put together, he still has a horrible drop percentage.  Despite his track record, Heyward-Bey received an 83 CAT attribute, which is five points higher than the Madden 13 average of 78.

Some Raider fans think DHB is getting the short end of the stick, I think they should be content with his current rating and see if he can duplicate or improve on his 2011 performance.  I will continue to say, "One season should not make or break a players Madden attributes."


In future blogs, I will cover the catch in traffic (CIT) and spectacular catch (SPC) attributes as well as doing a Tight End blog very soon.

Thanks for reading this blog and have a great weekend.


  1. Great stuff Mike. The Catch attributes are my biggest pet peeve. Your numbers tell the truth. Hope EA responds accordingly.

  2. It seems like Madden has a big problem confusing ability to get open with ability to catch (ex. Victor Cruz, Wes Welker)