Each NFL offseason, fans -- and players! -- eagerly wait to see how the gurus at EA Sports ultimately decide to rate each player in the NFL for the upcoming edition of "Madden." While "Madden 19" ratings are yet to be revealed fully, we do know a select handful of players who are blessed with greatness in the upcoming game, having been inducted into the first "Madden 99 Club."
Of course, 99 is the highest possible rating a player can achieve in Madden. And there have long been players who were operating at peak powers and landed the top rating. Terrell Owens in 2004 comes to mind. But this is the first year that EA Sports is actually naming a group, and it is highlighted by a pair of Patriots in Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski.
Brady, who won the 2017 NFL MVP at the age of 40, hasn't slowed down a bit (he was also the cover athlete last year) and is locked in as one of the top athletes in "Madden." His 96 throwing power and 99 awareness (duh) are part of the reason why.
Joining Brady in the club is his teammate Gronkowski, who just put together another huge season. Gronk's got a 97 Catch in Traffic Rating, as well as an 87 Stiff Arm rating, 86 Trucking rating and 94 Spectacular Catch rating.
The only other quarterback joining Brady in the club is, to no surprise, Aaron Rodgers of the Packers. Rodgers has 97 Throwing Power and 79 Speed (!), as well as 99 Awareness. He also sports the best Throw on the Run Rating (97) in "Madden."
Three defensive players join this group as well.
Aaron Donald, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, should be no surprise. The Rams defensive tackle is lightning quick off the line, but his Strength rating (97) in "Madden" is eye popping. He also has a 98 Power Move rating and a 99 Play Recognition rating.
Von Miller is one of the best edge rushers in football and the Broncos outside linebacker was rewarded with a 99 overall as a result. Miller, seen below doing his NSFW sack dance, has a stupid 90 Acceleration rating and 87 Speed rating along with a 90 Agility and 95 Finesse rating.
And the final member comes from the Panthers, as Luke Kuechly received a 99 rating at middle linebacker. Kuechly has 86 speed, as well as 99 Play Recognition and 99 Awareness. He also sports a 98 Tackling rating -- if he gets near you, you're going down.
The ratings in modern Madden fluctuate, thanks to the advent of online servers. These ratings used to be locked for the year and now move a bit as the season goes along depending on how players play. But don't be surprised if all of these guys sit at 99 for a while to start the year, if not the entire season.
All seven are next-level superstars when healthy, and all seven are critical to their team's success. They'll probably help your online team a little bit too.