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Madden 23 cover to feature NFL legend John Madden

The NFL legend and Hall of Famer is honored on the cover of his namesake game after his passing last December.

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Update:

Nearly half the teams in the NFL have yet to see one of their superstars grace the cover of a Madden video game.

That trend will continue in 2023, with the honor not going to any player at all. Instead, the cover of the iconic game will feature a photo of the game’s namesake John Madden. The former Raiders coach passed away just after Christmas.

The honor of being selected for the cover of Madden typically goes to a player that had a particularly hot year the season prior, not necessarily the best overall player in the league. Last season Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes graced the cover together. Lamar Jackson earned the cover spot the season before in 2021.

It’s only fitting for the Hall of Fame coach to get the spot again in 2023, though given how much he’s done for the game and how accessible he’s allowed the sport of football to be once he became a commentator. Madden had typically been on the cover of the game frequently but hasn’t been on it since Madden 2000. In that span, there’s only been one year that the cover featured a non-current player, in 2013 when Barry Sanders was the cover athlete for Madden 25.