Madden NFL has been one of the most cherished sports video game brands ever since its initial release in 1988. However, one thing that excites football players even more than playing in the game itself is putting on a show of such caliber that the magazine chooses them as the cover hero.
The cover star for Madden 24 has not yet been selected however, it wouldn’t be surprising to see quarterback Patrick Mahomes featured for the third time in his illustrious career. He led the Kansas City Chiefs to Super Bowl glory back in February following a herculean effort that saw his side overturn a ten-point half-time deficit to lift the coveted Lombardi Trophy. Heading into the new season, which gets underway on September 7th, the latest NFL lines and futures have made Mahomes and his Chiefs the +600 favorites to go all the way once again this season.
In this article, we’ll go through the list of Madden NFL cover athletes in the last seven years. Keep reading to find out who graced the cover and whether the “Madden Curse” was true or just a myth.
The Madden Curse
The world of sports is full of crazy superstitions, myths, and legends. One phenomenon that gained notoriety in recent years is the Madden Curse. It’s an unspoken jinx that supposedly befalls the athlete featured on the cover of this iconic franchise. Many football fans believe appearing on the cover marks the beginning of bad luck and injuries for the athlete. Over the years, players like Daunte Culpepper, Troy Polamalu, and Michael Vick are cited as victims of the curse, however, Tom Brady appeared on the cover of Madden 18 and won his sixth Super Bowl title that year, perhaps breaking the curse once and for all.
Madden NFL 22 – Patrick Mahomes
It’s not hard to see why the prolific Patrick Mahomes was chosen to grace the front cover in 2022, after delivering yet another stellar season with the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s a well-deserved distinction for the rookie quarterback after standout games against the Baltimore Ravens and Tampa Bay Buccaneers confirmed his spot among the league’s finest. Since the 27-year-old produced an MVP-caliber performance on the way to capturing his second Super Bowl ring last season, it’s safe to assume that he has avoided the terrible curse. Of course, tremendous power comes with great responsibility.
Madden NFL 21 – Lamar Jackson
Lamar Jackson’s incredible season prior to being selected as the cover star of Madden 21 had fans and critics alike singing his praises. With his remarkable speed, agility, and precision, Jackson managed to lead his Baltimore Ravens team to victory time and time again. It’s not shocking that he received the coveted front cover place, a distinction only awarded to the greatest of the best, and he will be attempting to convince fans all around the world that he still ranks among the top quarterbacks in the game today.
Madden NFL 20 – Patrick Mahomes
The aforementioned Mahomes makes his debut as the Madden cover star in 2019. It’s not surprising that EA Sports chose him for the coveted front cover of Madden 20 given the praise he received for his stellar season with the Kansas City Chiefs from both fans and critics. That season, he immediately ensured that he would be regarded as one of the league’s most thrilling players to watch, and we can anticipate more of the same from the former Texas Tech star in the coming years.
Madden NFL 19 – Antonio Brown
Antonio Brown is accustomed to being in the public eye. He has established himself as one of the most famous figures in American football thanks to his unquestionable talent on the field and charming personality. It came as no surprise when it was revealed that he would grace the cover of Madden 19.
With a season prior that saw him shine brighter than any other player in the NFL, it was only fitting that Brown be given the coveted front cover spot. Fans relished the chance to play as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ star receiver and it’s well worth digging this game out of your library for one final time.
Madden NFL 18 – Tom Brady
Tom Brady proved that he was truly deserving of being the cover star for the upcoming Madden 18 video game by his outstanding performance on the field during the previous season. This honor was well-deserved for a player who, although being widely regarded as the underdog, had managed to guide his team to victory in the Super Bowl the previous season, which numerous platforms were streaming worldwide.
Fans and critics alike had taken note of Brady’s accomplishments on the field and realized that his seemingly ageless performance still held the ability to completely change the game.
Madden NFL 17 – Rob Gronkowski
Rob Gronkowski’s selection as the Madden 17 cover star was a long-overdue honor for one of the league’s most dominant tight ends. After accumulating over 1,100 receiving yards and hauling in 11 touchdowns, Gronk had just completed an amazing season. From his signature touchdown spikes to his infectious charisma, Gronk proved time and time again that he was not just a football player, but an icon in the making.
Madden NFL 16 – Odell Beckham Jr.
As we’ve already established, superstitions and jinxes are common in the world of sports, particularly when it comes to appearing on the box art for video games. Odell Beckham Jr.’s selection as the cover star of Madden 16, therefore, sparked some questions among both fans and industry experts. Nevertheless, the New York Giants wide receiver had undoubtedly earned the honor with a phenomenal season in which he set numerous records and seemed to defy the laws of physics on a weekly basis.
With his lightning-fast speed, mesmerizing footwork, and stunning catches, Beckham Jr. had become a household name and a sensation on the field. Now, the question on everyone’s mind was whether he could continue his success and shake off the infamous Madden curse. And having fallen short of the lofty heights he reached back in 2015, it’s safe to say that OBJ may well have fallen victim to the daunted curse.