As a tribute to its namesake, the Madden NFL 23 video game cover will have one person on it: John Madden.
Madden, the Hall of Fame coach who died on December 28, will be on the cover of all three editions of this year’s game, which will be released in August. It’s the first time in more than two decades that Madden will be the focus of coverage, which tends to use current athletes.
“We were thinking about this year’s game and who was going to be in it; it almost became an obvious answer,” Madden NFL executive producer Seann Graddy told ESPN. “I say this because we really wanted to celebrate Coach in the product this year and what he has meant to us for over 30 years of using his name in our game.”
Last Madden was the main cover person for the 2000 edition of the game, which was released in 1999. He appeared in a small box in the next four editions of the game with his signature and the All Madden logo on the side of the main game . cover athlete before disappearing from the cover of Madden NFL 06, which featured Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb.
EA then pivoted to use current athletes for each year’s coverage. Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady shared it last year.
Graddy told ESPN putting Madden on the cover had only been discussed for this year’s game, but said “anything is possible, to be honest” about putting the former coach on the cover at the coming.
The cover of All Madden – one of three covers this year – is reminiscent of the original John Madden Football, released June 1, 1988. This cover featured a red-haired young Madden holding a football and punching a hole in a diagram of Xs and O’s on a blackboard with the name of the game at the top of the box.
The cover of the All Madden edition features a similar-looking young Madden holding a soccer ball running through what appears to be a paper filled with Xs and O’s. On the side of the cover, in white lettering, is “Thank you , Coach”.
Chuck Styles, a Philadelphia-based artist who has created exclusive trading cards for Topps in his Project70 version as well as numerous works featuring NBA players, designed the cover for the All Madden edition.
The other two covers, not created by Styles, view Madden as a trainer and broadcaster. The broadcast cover shows Madden in a blue shirt and tie appearing to draw on a telestrator, which he was famous for in his career. The coaching cover has Madden, who coached the Oakland Raiders from 1969 to 1978, being lifted by his players after beating the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI.
“What we wanted everyone to take away,” Graddy said, “is that we’re celebrating all three phases of Coach Madden’s legacy.”
Madden has been immersed in the game from the start, demanding it be 11 vs. 11 and handing over his old playbook to game developers to create more realism. As the game grew, so did its influence on players. Many current NFL players say Madden was part of their upbringing — Detroit Lions defensive back Jeff Okudah told ESPN in 2020 he learned football playing Madden — and it always has been. a point of pride for the game’s namesake.
“It gives you the satisfaction of doing something worthwhile,” Madden told ESPN in 2021. “You and everyone involved put in the time, and it works and influences people not just to enjoy the game, but to be able to to play. the game.
“It helps them become better players. And I think that’s true in high school, college and in the pros. There’s a real satisfaction that you see when someone talks about it.”
While many gameplay features of this year’s edition have not been announced, Graddy said the opening experience will feature two versions of Madden from the 1970s training against each other – one leading an NFC All Madden team and the other an AFC All Madden team. — at the old Oakland Coliseum.
“It’s just kind of a fun fantasy experience where it’s Coach Madden versus Coach Madden,” Graddy said. “With a reminder of the All Madden squads he used to create and we used to have in our game, a mix of legendary players and current players.
“Honestly, the reason we wanted Coach against Coach is that we want Coach to win.”
During this experience, Graddy said, there will be lines spoken by Madden interspersed with comments about some of the players on the All Madden rosters.
As part of the coverage announcement, EA announced that its $5 million donation to John Madden Legacy Commitment to Education will be split, with $2.5 million going to nonprofits College Track, Girls Who Code, StreetCode Academy and Mission Bit to support five years of programming. in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. The remaining $2.5 million will help create the EA Madden Scholarship, which will work with the United Negro College Fund to provide scholarships to students at 12 historically black colleges and universities.