For those old enough to remember it, the annual release of Strat-O-Matic's baseball game was a red letter day on the calender. Seeing how the various player cards stacked up to real life was always fun, even if you knew that there was no way the players themselves gave a whit about the ratings.
That's not the case with the Madden video game series. The ratings are pored over for weeks in advance of the game's release, and as, T.J. Houshmandzadeh reminded us on Monday, it isn't just fans waiting with baited breath.
Houshmandzadeh is peeved with EA Sports over his ranking in Madden 10 and isn't taking it lying down. Housh told ESPN Radio's Colin Cowherd that he won't be playing this edition of the game because of how he's been disrespected.
"I understand I averaged 10 yards a catch, but it's the offense, not me. I'm not playing Madden no more until they get my rating right. ... I used to be the best in the world at Madden. I'm going to miss not playing it, but until they do me right, I'm not playing it any more."
Now, it's crazy enough in the first place to think that anyone cares whether or not someone is playing Madden, millions of others will take T.J.'s place, but it is even crazier once you look at the rankings. Houshmandzadeh is rated as a 91 out of 100, behind only Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Smith, Anquan Boldin, Calvin Johnson and Roddy White in the NFC. Those are five damn fine receivers, and you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who would deal one of those five for Houshmandzadeh straight up.
That's bringing logic into the discussion though, and it's best to check logic at the door. If we were dealing in logic, we'd be forced point out that Houshmandzadeh is free to alter his ratings to numbers that fit his own desires.
We'd also be forced to point out that all Houshmandzadeh has done is illustrate how good a job of designing the game EA Sports has done this season if he's rightfully ranked below those five wideouts. Therefore, his boycott actually serves as a commercial for the game, which to those of us in the logical world seems more than a little bit backwards.
Unless we're the ones who have it backwards, that is. It isn't easy to get noticed at the wide receiver position in the NFL. Thanks to the off-field antics and diva behavior of his peers, Houshmandzadeh has languished on the side of the stage. Bringing the crazy at the same time as he moves to Seattle could change all of that, which may actually make him the most logical man in the entire game.