Madden 23 controversies include removed CPR, Mahomes rating

By William Davis


Feb 3, 2023

Reading time: 3 min

Madden 23 was meant to be a straightforward affair, but a series of controversies are impacting the franchise’s future.

Madden games are supposed to release like clockwork, with the most exciting new feature sometimes being the cover art. Its real draw is how closely it’s tied to the real-life NFL, with live stat adjustments and events based on the season. However, several problems, both real and digital, have plagued the title since its launch. Here are all the controversies facing Madden 23 explained.

Unfortunately, this year’s NFL season has brought some real-life tragedies that resulted in content being removed a little too late. In addition, technical problems have repeatedly prevented players from playing Madden 23 at all. And finally, on the gameplay side, Patrick Mahomes’ 98 rating has repeatedly soured many fans on the game’s accuracy to the real league. 

The game’s launch was immediately met with criticism for its technical issues. Even with several months of post-launch support, Madden 23 players are still reporting temporary lockouts and server outages. 

The worst problem of all is suddenly disappearing save files, which by this point can contain several months of progress. EA Sports has acknowledged these instances but has yet to announce a plan of action, leading many players to believe that the issue will never be solved.

Madden NFL 23 screenshot

In addition to technical issues, EA has also had to remove some in-game content to avoid referencing a real-life tragedy. Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest during a game after being tackled. The story quickly developed into a national tragedy, and Hamlin is still in the process of recovering. 

For Madden 23, however, it also meant an unintentionally tasteless interaction with a certain touchdown celebration animation where players performed CPR on each other. The animation was swiftly removed by EA Sports, but not before clips of it could be posted on the internet.

Madden 23 controversies spill into esports and licensing 

Despite a phenomenal season with 37 touchdowns and a shot at the Super Bowl, Patrick Mahomes still isn’t invited to Madden 23’s exclusive 99 club.

Life in the NFL can be hard, but getting maxed-out character stats in Madden appears to be even more difficult. This is something Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes can attest to. Despite an incredible season that could end with a Super Bowl championship, Mahomes’ in-game rating has yet to tick over 98. 

Mahomes started the season with a score of 95, which placed him behind two of the game’s enduring heroes in Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. His stats have slowly ticked up as the season has gone on, but in the final version of the game before Super Bowl LVII, he’s still just short of the maximum of 99.

Blog post image

This may seem like a small complaint, but the impacts bleed over into the Madden 23 esports world. Due to this rating, which a massive portion of the player base disagrees with, Madden 23 Mahomes will perform statistically worse in tournament settings.

By extension, this questionable decision will affect the betting scene surrounding the game. The odds algorithms used to develop match bets could be affected by this decision, which will result in real money being won or lost.  This doesn’t mention how the outcomes of Madden 23 esports matches may also be affected. In 2020, the NFL reached an agreement to extend their exclusive rights deal up to 2026 for a cost of $1.6 billion, which goes some way to showing the marketability of the game. However, controversies like these are disappointments for both fans and developers. As for its relationship with the actual NFL, the delayed removal of a CPR celebration certainly doesn’t help.  


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