First Call: 1 Steeler loves his ‘Madden’ rating; Penguins legend Ron Francis gets new gig |
Breakfast With Benz

First Call: 1 Steeler loves his ‘Madden’ rating; Penguins legend Ron Francis gets new gig

Tim Benz
Steelers running back Benny Snell Jr. during an NFL football practice, Tuesday, May 21, 2019, in Pittsburgh.

In Wednesday’s “First Call,” at least one Steeler is happy with his EA Sports “Madden NFL 20” ranking. Brooks Koepka is big-timing Tiger Woods. And a new gig for a Penguins legend.

Madden madness

The EA Sports ratings are out for this year’s “Madden NFL 20” video game. And everybody is mad at them.

You can’t go on Twitter without seeing NFL players ticked off over how they are rated. Look at Steelers cornerback Joe Haden, for instance.

He was an 84, outside of the top 20 for cornerbacks. And he’s not happy about it.

But there’s at least one guy who doesn’t mind his rating and is actually happy about it. Steelers rookie running back Benny Snell apparently was thrilled to find out he was given a 69.

EA Sports ratings adjuster Dustin Smith told NFL Network that Snell actually thanked him for giving him a rating that high because he thought he was going to be somewhere in the 30s.

“He was elated,” Smith said. “Couldn’t be happier.”

Fancy footwork

Speaking of those ratings, Aaron Donald appears motivated by them, even though he was one of only four players to get a coveted 99 mark.

The former Pitt Panther posted this video of his footwork technique. In it, one of his assistants is reminding him that he “only” got a 95 for footwork in his Madden rating.

If that’s a 95, what does a 99 look like?


If you want NFL Hall of Famer Joe Montana’s house, you can have it.

For $28.9 million.

The Ringgold product is selling his 500-acre European-style estate in California’s wine country.

Maybe he’ll downsize to a pleasant two-bedroom ranch back in New Eagle or Monongahela.

The 49ers legend initially put the house on the market back in 2009 for $49 million … get it?

Here’s the description from the The Wall Street Journal, “the Montanas’ 9,700-square-foot, three-bedroom home has lots of European details, including a small moat and bridge out front. Inspired by the monasteries and historic villas the couple saw while traveling around Europe, it also has two turreted towers, elaborate wood-beamed and vaulted ceilings, carved statues, tapestries and large fireplaces, including one featuring a fresco of the Montana family crest.”

See you in Seattle

Penguins Hall of Famer Ron Francis reportedly has a new job.

The Seattle Times reports that Francis will be the general manager of the new Seattle franchise.

Francis was GM in Carolina from 2014-18. But they never made the playoffs.

The former Penguins center played in the NHL for 22 seasons and is fifth all-time in points.

Seattle starts play in the 2021-22 season.

Dissing Tiger

How big is Brooks Koepka now?

Big enough to blow off Tiger Woods.

During media availability prior to the British Open, the former king of golf claimed he reached out to the new guy on the throne. Woods wanted to see if Koepka was interested in playing a practice round on the tournament’s Royal Portrush course.

And Koepka blew off the text.

Based on the Masters, Tiger still may be good enough to win in Northern Ireland. I wouldn’t give him any tips, either, if I was Koepka.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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