Saints LS claps back at league-low Madden rating

METAIRIE, La. -- Zach Wood won't be so disrespected by EA Sports' Madden NFL ratings anymore.

The New Orleans Saints' third-year long-snapper was given the lowest rating in the league in the recently released edition of the popular video game -- a 36, which tied him with Oakland Raiders long-snapper Trent Sieg.

Wood delivered a clever and convincing response Friday. The Saints shared a video clip of Wood knocking a copy of the video game out fellow long-snapper Nick Moore's hand with a perfect-strike snap from 14 yards away -- on his first attempt.

"The pressure was on. I'm not used to being on camera," Wood said Saturday. "I was worried. ... If I miss this thing five or six times in a row, they're gonna be like, 'You deserved that 36 Madden rating.'"

A Madden representative emailed the Saints to let them know that Wood's rating would get a boost.

Wood acknowledged being surprised by the low rating, considering how successful the Saints' kicking operation has been the past two years with the elite punter-kicker combo of Thomas Morstead and Wil Lutz.

"I was like, 'Whoa, what's going on? Am I not doing a good job?'" Wood said. "But I think we work really well together, and having Tom and Wil there to help make me right has helped me look a little bit better, too."

Wood, 26, later repeated his feat when he made a cameo appearance in the Saints' daily quarterback challenge -- which featured the team's quarterbacks playing a version of "skeet shooting" with copies of the video game.

But Wood wasn't able to escape some friendly ribbing from quarterback Drew Brees, who pointed out that he was still the league's lowest-rated player despite getting a 3 percent boost from his 2018 rating.

Brees did come to Wood's defense after his successful snap, though, yelling to the camera, "So much for that Madden rating. There's your 36. How 'bout your 36 now?"

Wood said he "absolutely" has been teased about his rating -- especially by friends -- but noted it's part of his personality to have fun with it.

He is actually listed as a tight end by Madden -- like many other long-snappers who also bring up the rear in the game's ratings. Asked if he has ever used himself as a tight end while playing the game, Wood said he didn't know if he could.

"I don't even play Madden. I have no idea," Wood said. "But I wouldn't because I'm a 36. You're not winning much games with that."

Wood began his NFL career as an undrafted defensive end and long-snapper with the Dallas Cowboys in 2016 before he landed a job as New Orleans' long-snapper shortly before the 2017 season.