It has long been a theory of hardcore Madden gamers that certain ratings make absolutely no impact on the game.

For example, a popular idea is that awareness ratings on quarterbacks have absolutely no impact on how that quarterback performs in a game but does have an outsized impact on a quarterback’s overall rating. This is a thesis that we pioneered 8 years ago and still holds true today.

A similar topic came up recently on Twitter when a well known member of the Madden community, NY_Kia31, mentioned that the play action rating (PAC) for quarterbacks didn’t seem to do much.

Former NFL Offensive lineman Clint Oldenburg, now in a charge of Madden gameplay production, replied and confirmed that the play-action rating has basically been tuned out of the game citing various reasons.

You can check out that tweet conversation below:

That of course leads to the obvious question of, “If it serves no purpose, why have it in the game?” Another Twitter user asked and Clint replied that it still has some functionality just it’s impact has been minimized.

So we decided to take this into the lab and give it a test on our own to see for ourselves. We went into it looking for the following question to be answered.

“Does a player’s play action rating impact how the opposing defense reacts (and if so how much)?

We ran a bunch of different tests but because we know attention spans are short, we condensed our findings into a quick 1 minute video.

The experiment we ran in the video above was broken into 3 main parts.

The first part showed Aaron Rodgers doing a play action pass on the left side of the screen. On the right side of the screen, he does the exact same play against the exact same (Cover 3) defense with the only change being that we hot routed the running back to block in order to cancel the playaction.

Keep in mind that Aaron Rodgers has a 93 play action (PAC) rating in the latest Madden 21 roster update.

The second part of the video did the exact same thing but this time with Packers’ kicker Mason Crosby subbed in at QB. He has a 20 play action (PAC) rating.

The third and final part of the experiment shows a side by side comparison of both Aaron Rodgers and Mason Crosby doing the same play action pass against the same defense so you can see what (if any) differences there are in how the defense reacts.

The video shows pretty clearly that there is no difference (at least in terms of how a standard zone defense reacts) between a 93 PAC rating and a 20 PAC rating.

We ran a bunch of different tests and from what saw in our limited sample, this appeared to hold true for pretty much every defense we tried and every different type of play action pass we tried.

This, of course, makes plenty of sense from a game balancing standpoint. If defenders bit hard on well timed play action passes, it would only be a matter of time before a savvy Madden player exploited that to his advantage leading to much bigger complaints and problems.

Play action passes can still be effective based on the way the camera zooms and how you can manipulate your opponent’s user defender but don’t expect it to work any better with a player who has a 99 PAC rating than it does with a player who has a 50 PAC rating.

What are your thoughts about how the play action rating works in Madden 21? Should it be removed in Madden 22? Do you want it to be more effective than it is now? Sound off in the comments section below!