You might be surprised to learn how many teams have never had a player appear on the cover of Madden NFL
With football season quickly approaching, we’re nearing the release of Madden NFL ‘23. Each year football fans and gamers are kept on the edge of their seats in anticipation of who the next Madden cover athlete will be. Gracing the cover of Madden has become an honor on the level of athletes on the Wheaties box back in the day.
By now, you’d think nearly every team would’ve had a player to grace the cover of the Madden video game. Surprisingly, 13 teams have never been lucky enough (unless you believe in the Madden curse) to have one of their players chosen.
New York Jets
Las Vegas/Oakland Raiders
LA/San Diego Chargers
Dallas Cowboys (never on the main cover)
You’re probably wondering why there are 14 teams and not 13, as stated above. The Cowboys have never had a player on the main cover of the Madden video game, but Terrell Owens was on the Hall of Fame cover edition of the Madden ‘19 game. That year, the main cover athlete was Antonio Brown, while still playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Eight teams have had at least two players (in some cases the same player) on the cover of Madden since 1999. The Patriots (3x), Chiefs, Ravens, Steelers, Seahawks, Vikings, Lions, and the Titans. Garrison Hearst of the San Francisco 49ers was the cover man of Madden ‘99 as an alternate option, not a special edition game.
It is no shock that teams like the Jets, Commanders/Football Team, Texans, and Jaguars have never had a player chosen for a Madden cover. But teams like the Broncos, Colts, and Raiders seem odd. Peyton Manning played for the Colts and Broncos, won a Super Bowl with each, five MVP awards, and never made the cut. Peyton Hillis of the Browns did make the cover of Madden ‘12. So, I guess that’s close, just not the right Peyton.
Another startling omission on Madden covers over the last 20-plus years is the lack of Cowboys that made it. The only one has been T.O., which was in retirement on the game’s special HOF edition cover. So, there still has not been a Cowboys player to make the main Madden cover.
Think what you want about Dallas, but that feels weird. It’s right up there with no Raiders players having been on any cover. With John Madden forever being linked to the Raiders, I can accept that more than the Cowboys or Manning being left out.
There are plenty of deserving players who could be the new cover athlete for Madden ‘23, which comes out in August. Of the teams who have never had a player reach the Madden cover, a few stand out from the crowd. But sometimes, E.A. Sports throws a curveball and gives us a player we may not have expected to see on the cover. So, it’s a bit of a crapshoot.
Most fans would agree that Bills QB Josh Allen should be the cover guy at some point, and I say there’s no time like the present. He’s one of the more exciting versatile signal-callers in the game and has Buffalo back in the driver’s seat in the AFC East for the first time in a couple of decades.
Since the Denver Broncos have never had their jersey on a Madden cover, why not start with their new franchise QB in, Russell Wilson. Wilson probably could have made the cover in the past as he’s been a top player in the league for quite some time. I don’t think anyone could be that upset with Wilson making the cover. Maybe Seahawks fans, but they’ve had two players make Madden covers, and Wilson wasn’t one of ‘em.
It feels like this will be Allen’s year to make the Madden cover after the season he had in 2021. Although I wouldn’t mind seeing a player that isn’t a Q.B. make the cover again, we all know what moves the needle. Just look at this year’s NFL draft and the lack of enthusiasm over it. EA could fool us this year, but I expect the cover athlete to be another QB.