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cdj
02-25-2011, 02:31 PM
EA SPORTS has posted an interview with ratings guru Donny Moore (http://www.easports.com/news/item/file/Scout) to learn how the Madden NFL team comes up with the player ratings, particularly for rookies.

***

Thereís probably still confetti and BBQ sauce stuck to hidden places in Cowboys Stadium and weíre already turning our attention to the future of football. In video games.

Each February the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis provides hundreds of football players the opportunity to run, jump and lift their way into the NFL. This time of year also finds the EA Tiburon development team hard at work on Madden NFL 12 adding new features, adjusting what works and updating teams, players and other details youíll surely notice. As these two occasions line up, we get the opportunity to discuss the topic that drives heated Madden NFL conversations year round: player ratings.

We got a hold of Madden NFLís ratings czar/designer, Donny Moore, to get a peek at what heís looking for at this time of year when it comes to NFL players in general and rookies in particular. Not all college superstars translate to the NFL and even with updatable rosters, Moore wants the new game to get it right on the new players as soon as possible.

What follows is a Q&A session that scratches the surface of the science behind the method.

EASPORTS: Accurate representations of players in Madden NFL is what you do, but what specifically are you trying to accomplish when coming up with ratings for rookies?

Donny Moore: Weíre trying to portray each player and their on-field performance as accurately as possible, and thatís difficult to do because so much is subjective, -ratings like speed, jumping, agility acceleration; you can put a number on them and be pretty accurate.

Weíre putting all that stuff together right now. Up to this point, thereís been no [Scouting] Combine but weíve received scouting reports and, -I use ESPN Insider, Sporting News War Room reports, Football Outsiders and similar resources. We have access to a number of different scouting services. I try to use all that information and accumulate as much information as possible.

Take Mark Ingram, for example running back from Alabama. For his speed, heís probably going to get a decent grade. Heís not a guy thatís known for speed. Thatís not why he won his Heisman, thatís not why heís a great back and thatís not why heís going to be the first running back taken off the board. His speed's not great, but itís not terrible. Where is it? Well we donít really know because he hasnít run yet. These scouts make projections. They say ďthis guyís probably a 4.5 [seconds in the 40 yard sprint] guy, this guyís a 4.55 guy and this guyís a 4.45 guy.Ē And then youíve got guys who are your sub-4.4 guys. All that information has a big weight right now when Iím creating these guys. Iíll put in numbers; -Iím giving Mark Ingram a speed rating now. Iím giving all these guys speed. When the NFL Combine happens that solidifies my data. Or, it could screw someoneís rating up. In the case of Ingram, if heís a 4.55 guy and he ends up running something in the 4.6s? Well then I immediately have to take whatever I had his speed at initially, like say 87, 88, 86, and end up subtracting 2,3,4 points from his speed, wherever 4.6 fits into our range. At the same time itís not as if we say ďOh, the dude ran this 40 time? Thatís how fast he is.Ē At the end of the day, itís game speed. Itís how fast he plays with pads on because thatís what you do in the video game and what you do in life. Youíre not playing in shorts and running the way Usain Bolt does.

EASPORTS: How involved do you get in these projections? It sounds like youíre putting together your own big board or something.

Moore: Yeah. Although we donít put together a board to say ďthis is who we think is going to be what.Ē Weíre just strictly reacting. Weíre always trying to react to whatís going on in the real world. A lot of that is based on perception right? We donít know whoís going to get drafted where but we have a pretty good idea of where a lot of these guys rank right now. Most of the time, that doesnít change dramatically between now and the actual NFL Draft. Jeff George a few years ago, I donít think he was perceived as the number one quarterback, but heís a guy that the Colts ended up taking first pick overall and [ESPN draft analyst, Mel] Kiper ended up jumping all over them. A lot of that was because nobody perceived Jeff George as a guy you needed to spend a big pick on. Itís perception but itís all based on scoutís perception and the punditís perception and these other experts that really follow football. Itís all about trying to come up with this one number for whatever that rating might be, and a lot of times youíll see conflicting information, of course.

EASPORTS: How do you treat the Heisman caliber players compared to incoming player who donít have the same name recognition?

Moore: Ingram is a guy that had the great track record AND heís a high profile guy. Itís all about figuring their draft position and how their skills are translating to the NFL. Eric Crouch, we didnít have him with decent quarterback skills when he came into the league after winning the Heisman because his NFL quarterbacking skills were below average. They turned him into a safety.

If a guy won an award and heís considered a sixth round linebacker, weíre not going to give him much of a bump if at all. Heíll have better awareness than probably your average linebacker if he was a guy that won awards and things like that. That said, we donít give points to the guys that were well known in college. Itís all about where he ends up getting drafted and what his pro prospects look like.


EASPORTS: What's the process of giving a rating to a rookie player?

Moore: To quickly walk through the process: Iíll take a guy like Mark Ingram or Blaine Gabbert and Iíll find what everyone perceives is his best NFL comparison. Just to throw an example out there let's say Mark Ingramís baseline equivalent is Ricky Williams. Iíll take Ricky Williams and utilize him as a template. Iíll know right away that the Mark Ingram player Iím creating is in a similar mold as a Ricky Williams. From there, obviously, Iím tweaking each individual rating to how Ingram plays. Itís just a starting point to give me a template for a player and how he plays.

MCdonnieG
02-25-2011, 03:59 PM
That's a good point Donny made in regards to Heisman Trophy winners. Especially bringing up Eric Crouch! Need I say Danny Wuerfel!! I definitely like how the Madden team is inviting us/gamers into the intricacies of what they do from day-to-day. March is right around the corner and my mouth is watering in anticipation to new updates on Madden and NCAA!!!

JBHuskers
02-25-2011, 04:06 PM
That's a good point Donny made in regards to Heisman Trophy winners. Especially bringing up Eric Crouch! Need I say Danny Wuerfel!! I definitely like how the Madden team is inviting us/gamers into the intricacies of what they do from day-to-day. March is right around the corner and my mouth is watering in anticipation to new updates on Madden and NCAA!!!

Or good ol' Gino. He basically had a cup of coffee in the NFL.

MCdonnieG
02-25-2011, 04:47 PM
Or good ol' Gino. He basically had a cup of coffee in the NFL.

Haha good one, I forgot about good ol' Torretta! How about this one.....Jason White. I don't even think he got a chance to have coffee!

JBHuskers
02-25-2011, 05:12 PM
Haha good one, I forgot about good ol' Torretta! How about this one.....Jason White. I don't even think he got a chance to have coffee!

Nope, he spilled it in his lap and sued McDonald's.

jaymo76
02-25-2011, 07:22 PM
aw... too bad. Based on the title of the post I thought Madden was going to tell us about an all new scouting system for Madden 12. My fingers will stay crossed on this one.

JeffHCross
02-25-2011, 07:35 PM
EASPORTS: What's the process of giving a rating to a rookie player?

Moore: To quickly walk through the process: I’ll take a guy like Mark Ingram or Blaine Gabbert and I’ll find what everyone perceives is his best NFL comparison. Just to throw an example out there let's say Mark Ingram’s baseline equivalent is Ricky Williams. I’ll take Ricky Williams and utilize him as a template. I’ll know right away that the Mark Ingram player I’m creating is in a similar mold as a Ricky Williams. From there, obviously, I’m tweaking each individual rating to how Ingram plays. It’s just a starting point to give me a template for a player and how he plays.[/I]Amazing. In some ways, that's extremely similar to what I did in my Historical Players effort ... but in a lot of ways, it's completely, totally different.

MCdonnieG
02-28-2011, 09:59 AM
Nope, he spilled it in his lap and sued McDonald's.

Haha...that was a good fall-back plan Jason!!! Smart move!!