Philadelphia Eagles: Madden has no love for Jalen Hurts… yet

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Ah, EA Sports’ Madden franchise, the iPhone of video games.

Every year a new one comes out, a few minor tweaks are made for the sake of, well, tweaking something minor, and in the end, people continue to buy them up because it’s sort of the thing to do… and because you want the latest roster.

Has EA attempted to shake things up from time to time? Most definitely. They added the vision cone to quarterbacks in 2005 – much to the chagrin of players – the Ultimate Team in 2009, and the Connected Franchise in Madden 25, but throughout the history of the game, which turns 32 this year, the franchise has stayed fairly honest to its roots.

But do you know what does change every year? Which fanbases are angry that one of their star players was underrated in the game’s initial roster. Make no mistake about it; someone will always be upset about the Madden ratings, it’s basically clockwork, but who gets the proverbial rub changes depending on national perception, internal reporting, and just general oversight.

Unfortunately, fans of the Philadelphia Eagles will probably be among the camp cheesed off by the fine folks over at EA Sports, as they apparently aren’t too high on Jalen Hurts‘ potential heading into the 2021 NFL season, as he’s been rated a 71 heading into the regular season.

Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles can prove the doubters at EA Sports wrong.

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Is there a player in the NFL today with a more varied perception than Jalen Hurts?

Seriously, for every take on his ceiling or quote from teammates past or current about his tireless work ethic or impressive leadership abilities, you’ll see a website like PFF listing him as a bottom-10 quarterback or Chris Simms leaving him off of his top-40 quarterbacks list altogether.

Heck, Hurts doesn’t even have universal support from his own Philadelphia Eagles fanbase due to the nature of how he was initially acquired and how his midseason quarterbacks competition ended up this spring.

Can Hurts do anything about these perspectives now? No. It doesn’t matter how many times Hurts assembles his receiving corps for offseason workouts; some detractors won’t be convinced otherwise until they actually see Philly’s new QB1 light up defenses on the national stage – which, to be honest, is totally fair: Hurts is very much an unproven commodity who didn’t come into the NFL in the most conventional way.

Should he be considered a lesser quarterback prospect than Taysom Hill and 2021 fourth-round pick Kellen Mond? Goodness no, that’s a brutal take from the younger, spleenless Simms, but a healthy skepticism about Hurts shouldn’t be outright shamed.

If Hurts wants to prove his doubters wrong – and improve on his 71 rating in Madden –  he’ll have 17 chances to do so this fall, maybe more, depending on how the season plays out.

Armed with a new number one wide receiver, a new head coach, a fourth-place schedule, and an improved secondary thanks to the signings of Steven Nelson and Anthony Harris, the Eagles are the sort of team who could surprise people this fall a la Washington under Ron Rivera in Year 1… or struggle mightly like Matt Patricia’s tenure in Detriot.

If the Eagles fly into the former category and are able to at least sniff the playoffs in the new format of the expanded season, especially if it’s because of Hurts’ on-field theatrics, expect EA’s weekly Madden ratings to bump the rating of Philly’s quarterback up with each passing week, just like they did with Justin Jefferson and Justin Herbert in 2020.

And if not? Well, the Eagles could very well have three first-round picks next spring and may just use one to bring in some competition for Hurts moving forward, if not to replace him outright if their pick falls top-3.

Next. Is Howie Roseman trying to skip the rebuild phase?. dark

For the first time since 2016, the Philadelphia Eagles are a team without a clear path for their forthcoming season. They aren’t quite bad enough to go all-in on a youth-driven tank fest, Howie Roseman’s job certainly wouldn’t survive another four-win season, but they don’t have a clear path to the playoffs either, as there isn’t a one unflappable single position grouping on the roster, save maybe longsnapper. If the season turns out well and Jalen Hurts proves himself a top-tier quarterback of the future, the national perception of South Philly’s faithful will surely swing back to its 2017 form. And if not? Well, then it surely won’t matter what each individual player’s preseason Madden rating is, as their real-life counterparts will be in for a rude awakening next spring.