The Fitzgerald Scale – How Reliable Are FIFA Ratings?

As I write this, we are a week away from the official release of FIFA 18. As anyone who reads my work regularly will know, not only am I a hardened video game enthusiast, but I also love myself some football. As such, it’s only natural that I hotly anticipate every FIFA release each year, and this year is no different.

Not only are my lovely Hibees finally back for selection after years away, but there has also been a host of eye-catching transfers over the summer, meaning that there will be no shortage of interesting battles to be had amongst all the top sides. Will PSG now be utter beasts with Neymar in their squad? Will Manchester United, with their host of big name stars, now be completely unbeatable? Which upper middle side in the top leagues can become all conquering with a couple of good transfer windows during career mode?

I can’t wait to answer these questions, and I will most likely spend months trying to, but a couple of things jumped out at me when I saw some of the player ratings. For those not acquainted with the series, players on FIFA are given a score out of 100 to highlight how good they are in the game.

Such ratings can sometimes be contentious, with fans and even real life players themselves getting annoyed if they feel scores are not correct. Indeed, just recently Tottenham Hotspurs’ Dele Alli was vocally outraged at his player coming in at an overall rating of 84, despite the fact this rating made him one of the overall best players in the game.

Perusing the ratings for my team Everton, I must say that some of them raised an eyebrow with me. For instance, right back Jonjoe Kenny was a major part of England’s Under 20 World Cup win over the summer and has come highly rated as a member of Everton’s youth set up for years. He also managed to get on the pitch in Everton’s last two senior outings, impressing in the process.

Despite this, EA Sports deigned that Kenny only deserved a paltry rating of 57. Meanwhile, the aging and, for large parts of this current season practically useless, Ashley Williams came in at a whopping 82. In addition, laughable flop Cuco Martina also comes in at a staggering 71. Surely, they got his and Kenny’s ratings the wrong way round?

I bear someone like Williams no ill will, but to see him rated so highly whilst Kenny is so much lower makes me question if anyone at EA Sports has ever watched an Everton match in their life? It certainly doesn’t help the case of those who will steadfastly declare a player to be good because they are “boss on FIFA”.

I’m sure a lot of work is put into calculating these ratings, but some of them are sometimes so far out that it can be almost staggering. I understand that this is ultimately a computer game, and that to expect every single rating to be accurate would be an exercise in the impossible, but sometimes EA Sports gets these things very wrong indeed.

For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t argue too strenuously over most of the Everton ratings, but I wouldn’t be surprised if every team had at least one Jonjoe Kenny, where the rating is so spectacularly out of whack for it to be hilarious. Hey, if one of your team’s players is laughably under/over rated, then please feel free to share it in the comments.

One thing I am sure of is that you shouldn’t rely solely on FIFA’s ability as a realistic barometer for how good a player is or will be. There will, of course, be cases where the game accurately predicts a future megastar in the sport. But for every one of those cases, there will be another example where the game is way off from the realm of reality.

As an Evertonian, I can say that FIFA was ahead of the curve in predicting how good Seamus Coleman was going to be. Long before an injury to Tony Hibbert finally allowed Coleman into the starting XI in real life, he was already part of a lot of people’s virtual Everton starting line ups. The same could be said for Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany, who was always a great signing on FIFA long before his big move to Eastland’s back in 2008.

That being said, Renato Sanches was an absolute monster on FIFA 17, and as of right now he has currently failed to live up to that. Indeed, both Sanches and Borja Mayoral were important players in a multi championship winning Everton side for me on FIFA 17, and I don’t think any title chasing teams are going to beating the door down to procure their services anytime soon.

So at the end of the day, though FIFA ratings can be interesting, they aren’t always the magic mirror to the future that some would like to think they are. At the end of the day, if a player is indeed boss on FIFA, the smart approach would still be to take an actual look at them in real life first before you jump on board with them.

I do personally think that there’s a player in there when it comes to Renato Sanches, and I live in hope that he can someday match his FIFA 17 prowess, but I also accept that he could fall into the trap of reality never matching his virtual endeavours.

As for Dele Alli, mate, you’re 84 out of 100. Get over yourself. That’s a great score. There’ll be thousands of players in the game that won’t even touch that. I personally hope EA Sports patch the game and put every Spurs player’s rating in the game up by 1 but leave you at 84, just for giggles!

Thanks for reading

Until next time;

Enjoy Yourselves!!!

The Urban Dictionary defines “The Fitzgerald Scale” as “A scale used to measure the awkwardness of a situation. The Fitzgerald Scale is divided into ten subunits, called ‘Geralds’. Each Gerald is in turn divided into ten Subgeralds, which gives 100 possible levels of awkwardness. One Gerald is a commonly awkward level, where a ten Gerald situation would be a scarring event.”

Man, the atmosphere of that party was off the Fitzgerald Scale when we decided to leave

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