First Take roasts Stephen A. Smith Photo credit: First Take

As Madden 24 player ratings are revealed this week, Stephen A. Smith shared his 98 rating and was promptly roasted by his colleagues at First Take.

The “You didn’t play” argument is a crutch frequently leaned on by current and former pro athletes when the media criticize them. While current and ex-athletes can still go on First Take to hit Stephen A. Smith with that argument, they probably can’t stand up to his Madden rating.

On Monday, Smith flaunted a screenshot of his Madden player profile and rating on Twitter, portraying the 55-year-old as a jacked wide receiver with nearly three decades of NFL experience. And on Tuesday, First Take was quick to mock Smith’s alter ego while he was on vacation.

“You know Stephen A. saw this and was like, ‘Damn, I look good,’” First Take host Molly Qerim joked. “He’s taking creatine right now, and he’s lifting heavy.”

“The picture is flawless,” Dan Orlovsky admitted with a smirk. “You know what it is? It’s how Stephen A. sees himself. It’s very far from reality, but it’s how he sees himself.”

No one doubts Smith has a big ego; his sports media fame and success justify some of that, and some of it is also self-inflated, as proved by his half-kidding desire to be president of the United States in the future. But even on a day when his ego is at its biggest, Smith would have to agree his arms are not chiseled like that. However, Skip Bayless probably thinks his chiseled arms are that brolic.

We can chide Smith for appearing as a ripped version of himself on Madden with a 98 rating. But Smith is all of us who ever created ourselves on Madden or any other sports video game, albeit I haven’t done it since I was probably 12.

[First Take]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to