Madden Covers

Spread the love

madden coversMadden NFL is a video game series developed by EA Sports and EA Tiburon. Named after Pro Football Hall of Fame coach and former National Football League broadcaster John Madden, the series was initially known as John Madden Football before 1993, when EA acquired the rights to use NFL players and teams in their games. A new, updated version of the game is released annually just prior to the start of the NFL season. The gameplay and graphics of each new game have enhanced over the years, but most players are also passionate about the annual Madden covers and the athletes on them.

One of the traditions EA has for the football franchise is the selection of their Madden covers. The featured cover athlete on every version since  Madden NFL 2001 has either been selected by EA themselves, or more recently, through various fan voting methods and tournaments. John Madden himself was on the front of every game from 1988 through 2000, until EA thought to switch over to the professional athletes due to obtaining the rights from the NFL to use player names and team team logos within their products. Since the inception of this concept many players exhibited on Madden covers since Eddie George, have been said to have been put under a “Madden curse” that tarnishes either the following season or even their career. With that said, it is still an accolade that every NFL player would love the opportunity to participate in.

Below is a list of all Madden covers since the series was established in 1988.


1John Madden Football 1988

  • No actual NFL teams are included due to the lack of NFL or NFLPA licenses for authentic teams, player names, and stadiums.
  • It is the only Madden game to be released for the Commodore and the Apple II.

2John Madden Football 1990

  • Madden becomes more arcade style and is available on consoles such as Sega Genesis.
  • For the first time in a football video game, the game is played from above and behind the quarterback rather than from the side.

3John Madden Football 1992

  • Ambulances come on the field to take away injured players.
  • New aspects of this version include instant replay, two-player cooperative play, quarterback injuries, review and overturn pass interference calls, and more audibles.

4John Madden Football 1993

  • Go no-huddle and taunt your opponents with this iteration of the series.
  • New modes such as tournament play and sudden death become available for play.

5Madden NFL 1994

  • For the first time, official team names and logos become available in Madden.
  • It was the first Madden game to use the famous “EA Sports – It’s in the Game” audio tag.

6Madden NFL 1995

  • This was the first Madden game to have both the NFL team logo and NFLPA licenses.
  • The cover has John Madden on it, but it also features two actual NFL players, Dallas Cowboys left tackle Erik Williams and San Francisco defensive lineman Karl Wilson who has his number edited to show the fictional number 70 which was not used on the 49ers roster.

7Madden NFL 1996

  • New features included create-a-player and classic teams.
  • Because the Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars were newly added to the league in 1995, neither team had a classic team available for play.
  • Madden ’96 was originally supposed to be the first NFL game on the PlayStation console, but the game was canceled due to not meeting the quality assurance standards set by EA.

8Madden NFL 1997

  • The game adds a team of real free agents, which can be traded and added to other teams’ rosters and could be played by using a cheat code.
  • This was the first edition of Madden to implement the use of a salary cap when customizing team rosters.

9Madden NFL 1998

  • Madden debuts on the Nintendo 64 with stunning visuals.
  • It was the last version of the Madden series to be released for the Super NES, Genesis and Sega Saturn platforms as well as the last Madden game to utilize the 2D sprite based in-game models for the players/referee, on 3D playing fields.

10Madden NFL 1999

  • The game was the first to feature the concept of covering the ball while running and the chop block and “clothesline” techniques, which were later scrapped and moved to players simply tackling ball-carriers.
  • It was available for PlayStation, Nintendo 64 and Microsoft Windows, with the former version being in rendered polygon 3D graphics for the first time.

11Madden NFL 2000

  • The video at the introduction on the CD-ROM versions of the game is an unnamed track by rapper Ludacris.
  • It was the first Madden game to be released for the Game Boy Color, PC and Mac.

12Madden NFL 2001

  • The first PS2 release for Madden featured player cards that unlocked secret game codes.
  • For the first time in the series, John Madden doesn’t appear on the cover and running Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George is displayed individually.

13Madden NFL 2002

  • Madden hits the GameCube and XBOX platforms for the first time.
  • The Madden NFL 2002 commercial first aired during Super Bowl XXXVI, three days after Madden NFL 2002 started selling in Japan by Electronic Arts Square.
  • Daunte Culpepper, former quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings, is the cover athlete.

14Madden NFL 2003

  • Madden hits cyberspace with online play.
  • It features then-reigning 3 time NFL Offensive Player of the Year, and former St. Louis Rams running back Marshall Faulk on the cover.

15Madden NFL 2004

  • New features in Madden 2004 include a new owner mode option that allows the player to control a franchise.
  • Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick appears on the front of Madden ’04.

16Madden NFL 2005

  • Features former Baltimore Ravens star linebacker Ray Lewis on the cover.
  • The game is the first Madden game to feature Xbox Live.

17Madden NFL 2006

  • The product features former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb on the cover.
  • The game also features WWE and UFC superstar Brock Lesnar as a playable character for the Minnesota Vikings.

18Madden NFL 2007

  • It is the first in the video game series to be released for the PlayStation 3 and Wii consoles, and the last one to be released on the Game Boy Advance.
  • Former Seattle Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander is highlighted as cover boy.

19Madden NFL 2008

  • Co-op play allows gamers to team up with their friends online to take on humans or the CPU.
  • It features former Tennessee Titans star quarterback Vince Young on the cover.

20Madden NFL 2009

  • The first version to offer online, league game play, allowing up to 32 players to compete in an online, simulated NFL season.
  • Brett Favre appears on the front of the game wearing a Green Bay Packers jersey, even though he came out of retirement and became a member of the New York Jets just five days before the release date.
  • On August 12, 2008, EA issued an alternative version of the cover to show Favre in a Jets uniform, which was presented on their website and allowed players to download and print for free.

21Madden NFL 2010

  • PRO-TAK animation technology allows up to nine man gang tackles and fumble pile-ups to help players “fight for every yard.”
  • The first game of the series to feature two players: Larry Fitgerald, wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals, and Troy Polamalu, strong safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both players were participants in Super Bowl XLIII.

22Madden NFL 2011

  • This version features several new additions to the franchise, such as Online Team Play, Online Scouting and online attribute boosts for co-op play.
  • “GameFlow” enables the player to create a situational game plan based on down and situation, and is advertised to speed up playing time as much as one half of the total game time from previous versions of the game.
  • Drew Brees, quarterback of the New Orleans Saints, appears on the cover.

23Madden NFL 2012

  • The release was delayed by two weeks due to the NFL lockout.
  • For the first time, EA had a bracket-style tournament featuring one player from each NFL team and allowed fans to vote for the Madden ’12 cover player. Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis was announced as the winner on ESPN’s SportsNation as the 66% to 34% winner of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick.

24Madden NFL 2013

  • The first game in the series to have Kinect support as well as a new physics engine promoting real in game physics.
  • EA held another bracket similar to the one that was used for the voting of the Madden 12 cover player, but let fans pick from two players from each team instead of just the one.

25Madden NFL 25

  • Instead of numbering it Madden NFL 14 with the year like in previous versions, the “25” in the title refers to the 25th anniversary of the Madden NFL series.
  • Barry Sanders, Hall of Fame running back who played for the Detroit Lions when he was in the league, was voted to be featured over Adrian Peterson.

26Madden NFL 2015

  • Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman won the cover vote via ESPN to elect the cover athlete for the game, which only included 16 players due to a delay in the release of the game.
  • Camera-lock behind a selected defender to play the game from the defense’s point of view for the first time.

27Madden NFL 2016

  • Madden NFL 16 introduced the new game mode “Draft Champions” to Madden.
  • Superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. of the New York Giants was selected as the cover athlete via a fan vote through the Ultimate Team game mode in the console’s version of the game and collectible cards on Madden NFL Mobile.
  • Beckham Jr. is shown making his infamous one-handed fingertip catch.

28Madden NFL 2017

  • New Ball Carrier UI Prompts help teach moves available to you, while the new Path Assist helps you navigate and anticipate down field.
  • New announcers are implemented in the game: Brandon Gaudin calling the play-by-play and Chalres Davis doing the color commentary and game analysis.

You may also like...