The Madden NFL 21 player ratings have been trickling out this week, and on Wednesday morning, it was revealed that Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle and former Pitt star Aaron Donald was one of the members of the video game’s “99 Club” once again.
" We in the #99Club " - @AaronDonald97— Madden NFL 21 (@EAMaddenNFL) July 15, 2020
His 4th straight appearance pic.twitter.com/Nvsdadh9FN
The former Pitt star found out that he had been included in the 99 Club when his fiancee, Erica Sherman, informed him of the news and surprised him with a gift box from EA Sports that included a “99” chain made by Jason of Beverly Hills and a “Welcome to the Club” note. The note read:
You are the rising generation. You bring a fresh perspective to the gridiron and a true devotion to your craft. There is an art to your game.
The Madden 99 Club is the exclusive tier of NFL talent representing the highest level of prestige within the Madden NFL franchise. Your performance and skill set have solidified you as the pinnacle of ingenuity and inspiration on the football field.
In the presence of greatness, both past and present, you are setting the new benchmark for what greatness means.
Keep moving the game forward.
The 99 Club consists of the players in the Madden game that have an overall rating of 99 out of 99. Donald has been included in the 99 Club in every version of the game since Madden NFL 18, meaning this is the fourth straight year that the game’s talent evaluators have deemed him to be as good as an NFL athlete can possibly be by their standards.
Delving into greater detail, Donald is the top-ranked player in Madden NFL 21 in terms of both strength and power moves, with 99 ratings in each of those categories. For comparison, Matthew Ioannidis came in second in strength with a 98 rating, and Cameron Jordan came in second in power moves with a 97 rating. Donald also holds a 99 rating in play recognition.
Donald is one of six players in Madden franchise history to earn a 99 rating at least four times. The others with four 99 ratings are Tom Brady, Jonathan Ogden and J.J. Watt. Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis has five 99 ratings, and former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning has six.
Madden NFL 21 is set to be released to the public on Aug. 25. However, those who pre-order the game will be able to play Aug. 22.