More One-Handed Grabs for Beckham Coming - in Madden Game

Odell Beckham Jr. will make more acrobatic one-handed touchdown grabs this season -- in the Madden video game.

Beckham’s overall player rating was boosted four points today to 84 by publisher Electronic Arts Inc., making him one of three National Football League wide receivers with a perfect 99 “spectacular catch” rating in the game, joining the Detroit Lions’ Calvin Johnson and the Chicago Bears’ Alshon Jeffery.

The New York Giants rookie jokingly complained about his ratings earlier this week after his one-handed catch against the Dallas Cowboys drew praise from many in the sports world as the greatest catch they’ve ever seen. His “spectacular catch” metric rose 14 points, which Madden NFL Associate Producer Donny Moore called “a huge jump when most ratings are changed more incrementally.”

“If ratings didn’t cap out at 99 he probably would have gone higher,” Moore, nicknamed the “Madden NFL Ratings Czar,” said in an e-mail.

EA Sports typically updates the ratings of 500-600 of the roughly 1,700 NFL players a week, based on their roster status and recent performance. Since the season started, 36 players, including four wide receivers, have had overall increases larger than Beckham’s.

The higher a player’s spectacular catch rating, the more likely he is to make diving, one-handed or sideline grabs than other players. Wide receivers have 19 other relevant metrics that determine their performance, including catching, agility and awareness, which were boosted for Beckham this week.

“The catching could definitely go up,” Beckham, 22, said between smiles in a video posted on the EA Sports Facebook page earlier this week. “We gotta get that fixed. ASAP.”

Seeking Upgrades

Beckham isn’t the first NFL player to lobby for better ratings. In an EA Sports promotional video released in July, eight rookies, including Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel and Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill, complained when shown their inaugural scores.

A day after Hill ran for 154 yards and two scores against the Jacksonville Jaguars earlier this month -- including a 60-yard touchdown run in which he outran two defenders -- Hill took to Twitter, asking the official Madden account “how about upgrade on the speed haha.” That week the rating was boosted two points to an 88.

Originally started in 1988, the Madden video game franchise, named for former NFL coach and broadcaster John Madden, has sold more than 100 million units to date, and earned about $3.9 billion in net revenue, according to EA Sports spokesman Brad Hilderbrand. It is the most popular sports game in North America.

This year’s game was priced at $59.99.

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