“Madden NFL Ratings Performance Adjuster”: Former CSU, Broncos player’s gig in video games

GILLETTE, Wyo. — Clint Oldenburg once had Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton take his walking boot after the star NFL player had knee operation.

Newton was taking a tour of their EA Sports offices in Orlando, Florida, and he even had something on his head.

Newton, listed at 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds, is a athletic miracle. He also even ’s built like a linebackerthat could act like a running back and comes with an arm which could make even the most gifted quarterbacks envious.

Following the ankle operation, Newton noticed his agility and speed rating in EA Sports’ blockbuster Madden NFL video game franchise was a small reduced.

Ahead of his rookie year in 2011, Newton conducted a 4.59 40-yard dash at the NFL combine and’d always been a running quarterback prior to his 2015 MVP season.

Oldenburg said Newton wondered why these Madden guys so low on his pace and agility?

“We seem down and that he ’s at this walking boot because he’d operation,” Oldenburg told the Gillette News Record. “So he chooses his boot off and informs us it’s all healed up and then he ’s actually wearing it around kind of for series. ”

That interaction, and many others before and since, is how Oldenburg, the former Campbell County High School standout and Wyoming High School Athlete of the Year, noticed that Madden ratings mean a lot.

Especially to those from the game.

Years earlier Oldenburg assessed professional football players, he was evaluated as a professional prospect himself.

He was also an outstanding athlete to the Camels. In 2002, he was the most Simpson Award finalist since the best boys prep athlete on the nation.

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In Colorado State University, Oldenburg started 28 games in every offensive line position except center.

Away from the field, Oldenburg earned a degree in science fiction, was named to the Mountain West Academic All-Conference team his junior and senior years and served as a teaching assistant for a journalism course.

The New England Patriots picked Oldenburg from the fifth round of the 2007 NFL draft. He then bounced across the league a little with stints at Washington, Denver, New York and Minnesota.

After battling injuries and going around a lot, his brother showed him that a posting for an internship with all an EA Sports NCAA Football video game.

Together with his degree, Oldenburg guessed he would become some sort of sports journalist after his playing career. He wished to write for publications, then guessed he could transition to broadcasting fairly easily.

But when the EA Sports gig opened up, ” he didn’t return.

Six weeks to the profession at Orlando, EA offered him a position as an associate designer for the flagship video game, Madden NFL.

“My brother and I would play with Madden constantly as kids,” he said. “We would create ourselves at the game and this is a dream come true to see myself in the match once I was in the league. ”

Oldenburg was among the first former NFL players to be hired from the production team in EA Sports.

Due to his on-field experience, Oldenburg was in charge of defensive and offensive line growth. He helped create the way the offensive line blocks from the video game, how players move and how the scheme changes the manner linemen block, run and handle.

Within his first year, he also added depth to the match ’s playbook for each team, figured out how offensive plays can be broken and employed methods to correct those broken plays with approaches on the offensive line.

That is still his full-time job with Madden. But about a year ago, another possibility opened up and thanks to some tweet, that side gig went viral.

Madden NFL is popular for many reasons: hyper-reality of the game play, the up-to-date play novels and the in-game player celebrations.

Among the primary reasons it’s popular among athletes who are showcased in the game is due to each one of them — if they like to acknowledge it or not — maintain a close eye on their Madden score.

A player’s Madden score is a cumulative grade of different ability sets a participant has. Usually speed, agility and awareness are factored in, together with other position-specific skills.

As the match ’s popularity started to increase, more people talked about the ratings. A bit over a year ago, EA Sports assemble a team whose job it would be to adjust the ratings weekly.

The position is unpaid (save for traveling and other expenditures ) and is made up of watching NFL games from the sidelines with a game plan.

The little group worked in secret for a while until early November when a person saw Oldenburg in the sidelines at Washington, D.C, for a game between the Redskins and the Atlanta Falcons.

An NBC sports reporter out of D.C. tweeted a picture of Oldenburg sporting an EA Sports coat that read, “Madden NFL Ratings Performance Adjuster. ”

What a country pic.twitter.com/Nm31BxVbm5

— Peter Hailey (@PeterHaileyNBCS) November 4, 2018

The tweet — which theorized that the wearer of the coat has one sweet gig — went viral and the little group of talent evaluators was pitched to the spotlight.

“It all took off quicker than we believed it would,” Oldenburg said. “Our primary rating adjuster couldn’t be everywhere at the same time, so we put together a small team of five and we have our principal focus on the field. ”

Oldenburg is responsible for assessing the line and on occasion the defensive line or, as he calls it, the trenches.

Madden has been upgrading players’ ratings on a weekly basis for a couple of years, but never had a team which would evaluate in person.

Oldenburg reported the most challenging part about his job is turning around all of the information he receives on Sundays out of the sidelines and out of the movie room on Monday and Tuesday to find new ratings up from Thursday.

“The turnaround time, especially when you’re operating with a video game, is an obstruction,” he said.

The Cam Newton story is simply one of dozens which Oldenburg has approximately gamers making their pitches for better ratings.

A memorable one was once Carolina Panthers kicker Graham Gano (who was using the Washington Redskins in the time) delivered in tape of a high school track meet that showed him winning state from the 100-meter dashboard.

“He desired us to have a close look in his pace and get it up a bit,” Oldenburg said.

Oldenburg reported that’s actually the best method for a player to acquire a rating boost.

“The eye at the sky doesn’t lie,” ” he said. “The movie tells the story. If a participant can send me film and hopes to convince me, I’ll make a change. ”

Oldenburg said that special teams players make the most pleas for evaluation changes. He thinks it’s because they’re that the unrepresented gamers in the league and don’t feel as though they receive their due.

“Kickers, punters, all those exceptional team guys are crucial to a team’s success, however it’s hard to recreate that at a game,” he said.

He also said rookies coming to the league have a tough time with low ratings.

“You have a number of these guys who have been the best college players in the country, but they still need to establish it,” ” he said. “The experts have earned it. ”

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