John McGinn’s volley rating in FIFA 19 was 71, and yet:

The differences between very good and great players at the professional level are a lot slimmer—absolute freak outliers like Messi and Ronaldo excepted—than FIFA’s gulf in statistical values would have you believe. We’re talking groups of footballers who are all in the 99th percentile among humanity for their skills at the game, where the best and the merely excellent are separated only at the margins (a clinical finish here, a defter touch there), but sports games are putting 10 and even 20 percentage points between them, and the results just don’t reflect the game.


What I’m basically saying is, can sports games—and I’ve only used football as an example here; I’m sure Knicks and Jets fans can also sympathize—settle games at the same margins? Because slogging around a field like an out-of-breath pensioner isn’t an accurate representation of an elite professional athlete, no matter how close to the bottom of the league they are.

Especially considering one of the other things that separates great teams from merely good ones—the tactical ability of a manager or coach—is up to the player, and should be left in the player’s hands, instead of being approximated solely on the pitch by simply making worse teams terrible.


The problem isn’t even the use of stats to grade players, it’s how that scale is broken. Bringing players closer together except for a few key areas would make team selection a lot more interesting! And, at the bare minimum, would be a small blessing for those of us who follow bad teams, because we suffer enough in the real world, we don’t need to cop it in the virtual one as well.