NewsFeed has long been fascinated by the evolution of the term ‘swagger’ from an annoying sports cliche to an annoying music cliche to an annoying pop culture cliche. Now, finally, it’s an annoying video game cliche!
Starting with Madden 2011, the official virtual simulacra of NFL players will be ranked not just on physical traits like speed, agility and strength — but also on the intangible quality of ‘swagger,’ which used to be a verb that actually meant something specific but is now a noun buzzword that vaguely means ‘cool confidence.’
In a video game first, the stat is being sponsored by the Old Spice deodorant company, one of the chief instigators of ‘swagger’s cultural ubiquity. What specific form the stat will take in gameplay in unclear (though some speculate it will act similar to NBA Jam‘s “On Fire” feature) but in general, bet on ‘swagger’ to be a way to pump up the ratings of players whose reputations overshadow their actual production. (Braylon Edwards and your 89 Swagger rating, I’m talking about you.)
Incidentally, EA’s leaked swagger ratings for the AFC East provide some fascinating minutiae. Did you know that Logan Mankins had almost three times the Swagger of Matt Light? Or that Marshawn Lynch and C.J. Spiller have the same amount of Swagger, both eight points higher than Fred Jackson? (Is Swagger just based on draft position?) Or that mediocre back-up quarterback Pat White has 15 points more Swagger than two-time Comeback Player of the Year Chad Pennington? (Is it a race thing?) The questions are endless! (from Kotaku, via Football Outsiders)