For the first time since 2000, Hall of Famer John Madden will be on the cover of his own video game.
EA Sports released the cover of Madden NFL 23 this morning, with the former coach and commentator featured on the front. There are three different variations, with the primary one being a tribute to the first-ever John Madden Football video game cover from 1988.
Madden passed away this past December at the age of 85. As head coach of the Oakland Raiders from 1969-1978, the team had an overall record of 103-32-7 (.750). Madden helped lead the franchise to its first-ever Super Bowl title in 1976, a 32-14 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
The featured cover is an illustration by Chuck Styles, who is a popular artist in sports culture.
“I grew up loving football, playing in the suburbs of West Philly. It’s a full-circle moment to now be able to contribute to the culture of the sport by honoring an icon like John Madden. He influenced generations of football fans through his passion for football and unmistakable energy, through my art,” Styles said.
The other two covers feature pictures of Madden being carried off the field by his players after the Super Bowl win, as well as a portrait of him set up in the broadcast booth.
According to EA Sports, Madden will be “celebrated in-game” with new features.
“The first interactive experience will feature two versions of Coach Madden leading opposing teams of ‘All Madden’ athletes facing off in the 1970s Oakland Coliseum. In addition, the unforgettable voice of Coach Madden returns during the game in remastered audio clips that callback to his legendary days as a broadcaster,” a press release said.
In the initial tweet, EA Sports also teased a “full reveal” trailer on YouTube that will stream tomorrow – Thursday, June 2 – at 9 a.m. CT.
The History of the Madden NFL Cover
Since Madden last graced the cover in 2000, the video game featured NFL players on the cover. Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George was on the 2001 edition, while quarterbacks Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes were both on the 2022 cover.
The vast majority of the cover athletes have been superstars like Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu and Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald in 2010. Then there was Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis (who?), who won a fan vote and was put on the 2012 cover.
What was your favorite Madden NFL cover? The debate continues.