EA Sports has released the Madden NFL 22 cover, which features both the winning and losing quarterbacks from Super Bowl 55, as well as breaking some tradition by featuring the losing quarterback from the game.
Earlier this week, EA Sports released the cover art for Madden NFL 22 Coins, which features not only the Super Bowl-winning quarterback Tom Brady, but also the quarterback of the losing team, Patrick Mahomes. An established Madden tradition has been broken.
When it comes to the covers of its video games, the Madden NFL franchise has a long history. The most recent tradition began when EA Sports' Madden 2001 chose to feature Super Bowl winner and running back Eddie George on the game's cover; however, twenty years later, the game breaks that tradition as well as several others.
Madden Covers Throughout Time
In 1988, the first two Madden Football games were released under the title John Madden Football. Later, the titles were updated to include the year of release, and eventually the titles were simplified to Madden NFL plus the year of the upcoming Super Bowl. The cover of every Madden game up to and including Madden 2000 featured Madden himself on the front. When EA Sports decided to change the cover of Madden 2001 to a player from the winning Super Bowl team, it was a controversial decision that has remained in place to this day.
Long-time fans are taken aback by the decision to break with tradition because the previous tradition conveyed a sense of victory for both the fans and the player in question. It has become customary in recent years to consider the Madden cover an award, as having a physical copy of the game that depicts a winning team can be interpreted as a reward for a fan's dedication to the franchise. Many fans are disappointed with the new cover, which is a more modern and inclusive design than previous ones.
In terms of appearance, the new cover is a departure.
Older Madden covers typically featured an image of the player standing up or at the very least playing in full pads and a helmet, which was a stark contrast to the new one's minimalist design. After a decade of including the cover player in a helmet and posing as though on the field, EA Sports changed the overall design in Madden 18. The player now approaches the camera without a helmet, which was first seen in Madden 14. It has taken time for the franchise to see this transformation take place.
With its aim for a new direction and a change in aesthetic, this new cover is anything but subdued. To give the new cover a vintage polaroid feel, the players' portrait is surrounded by an off-white beige color with orange highlights. A nod to the history of madden coins covers, which have come a long way since 1988, or a change to simplify the cover so that two players can fit on it are possible explanations for this decision.
The Madden Curse: Will This Change End It?
It has happened more than once that players who have appeared on Madden NFL covers have also suffered injuries during the following football season. It is too soon to tell whether Brady or Mahomes will be injured at this point, but sports news outlets are sending their best wishes to them. Despite the fact that not every player on the cover has been injured in the following season, the number is high enough that it has become ingrained in the collective memory of NFL fans.
Perhaps a new theory will emerge as a result of this cover, according to which one NFL player may be cursed and the losing player may be fortunate. Given how physically demanding the sport is, there will be no definitive answer until the season begins in 2021-2022. Furthermore, because the curse is a fan theory in the first place, it is impossible to predict what will happen. Without getting into the weeds, this is a bold new direction for the series, one that could last for the next twenty years if fans are open to it.