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    The Player Who Broke Madden’s Rating System: How an NFL Legend Earned an Unprecedented 189 Overall Rating

    Earning 99 is the highest validation for NFL players on any Madden game, but one legend surpassed that mark with his astonishing 189 rating.

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    In the Madden video game universe, joining the “99 Club” is the ultimate validation for any NFL player.

    That rating is often reserved for current players who demonstrate their dominance weekly during the fall. Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Donald earned 99s from EA Sports. Jerry Rice, somehow, never received that rating, yet he’s the owner of the most astonishing overall rating in the game’s history.

    Revisiting the Highest Rating in Madden History

    To this day, the legendary San Francisco 49ers wide receiver has the highest rating of any NFL player in the Madden era — and it wasn’t 100. Rice was handed an uncanny 189 overall rating for Madden ’98.

    His score came during a time when PlayStation 2 and Xbox weren’t even built and placed on electronic store shelves. No other NFL player — from Mahomes to Donald to even seven-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady — has come close to Rice’s rating.

    Back in 2012, Rice himself was stunned to learn that he was the sole member of the 189 club.

    “You’re kidding, right?” Rice said to ESPN’s Jon Robinson. “My son plays and loves the game, but I’m not very good at it. But wow, that’s amazing that I was ever rated that high.”

    Rice was referencing how he wasn’t good at playing the video game. Yet, gamers back then got a feel for Rice’s dominance through a controller.

    Rice’s high score wasn’t considered a glitch either. Anyone who played Madden NFL 98 on Nintendo 64, PlayStation One, or Sega Dreamcast likely recalls Rice’s unprecedented score.

    But during the release of Madden 13, Rice was asked who he saw was worthy of the highest rating for the game — even if it meant not earning his 189.

    MORE: The Best Madden Players of All Time — 10 Stars Who Were Unstoppable

    “There are a lot of these guys I call the young generation, these young pups coming along like A.J. Green and Julio Jones, but right now, you have Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson, and they’re doing big things for their teams,” Rice said. “These guys are big-play receivers who can just completely take over a ballgame.”

    Now in today’s Madden era, Davante Adams of the Las Vegas Raiders and Justin Jefferson of the Minnesota Vikings are the most recent wide receivers to join the 99 club. Adams earned 99 before the release of Madden 23, while Jefferson’s rating arrived the following year.

    Jerry Rice’s Legendary NFL Career

    While the league has grown more WR-heavy and seen the market reshape with blockbuster contracts, Rice earned “greatest of all time” status before the 21st century’s passing explosion.

    Rice went on to rewrite the league record books for wide receivers and is the proud owner of 38 different NFL records. Here are some of the major records Rice holds to this day.

    • Career receptions: Rice snatched 1,549 passes in his illustrious 21 NFL seasons. He got there by delivering four 100-catch seasons with the 49ers, including leading the league twice in receptions (1990 and 1996).
    • Receiving yardage: The Hall of Famer racked up 22,895 total receiving yards. Rice even finished as the league leader in receiving yards six times in his career — the most ever during the Super Bowl era.
    • Touchdowns: Rice found the end zone 197 total times. That includes the 22 he scored in 1987 when the league operated on a 14-game schedule. His single-season record was later broken by Randy Moss in 2007 with the New England Patriots.

    Rice holds a litany of accolades beyond the three major receiving categories, including owning four Super Bowl rings with the 49ers.

    KEEP READING: Madden Covers By Year — Every Player Who Earned the Honor

    However, his most impressive feat might be a video game mark that’ll likely never be touched in the era of the “99 Club.”

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