Who could grace the cover of Madden 2022?

Who could grace the cover of Madden 2022?

Should Derek Henry be on the cover of Madden 2022?
Should Derek Henry be on the cover of Madden 2022?
Image: Getty Images

With the Super Bowl over, it’s time to begin arguing about this year’s Madden cover.

Historically, the franchise selects an exciting, typically young offensive player, with a clean reputation, to front its annual release. (Antonio Brown’s Madden 19 feature came before all that, so don’t count on a Tyreek Hill cover.)

Defensive players appear much less often, with Richard Sherman on Madden 15, Troy Polamalu on (half) of Madden 10, Ray Lewis on Madden 05. With only two and a half covers in total, defenders are clearly few and far between, and there is no obvious defensive choice for Madden 22 as there had been in Sherman’s year, or if, say, Darrelle Revis had been selected around 2010 or so. That said, with each passing year, Aaron Donald’s reputation as the arguable best ever grows. Donald won’t turn 30 until May and has already made a Pro Bowl in each of his seven NFL seasons. Despite being primarily a defensive tackle — who is regularly double-teamed — Donald has accumulated 85.5 sacks through his career, as well as 131 tackles for loss and 19 forced fumbles. Let’s make him a perennial honorable mention for a Madden cover until the day he retires, because he’s just that good.

With that aside, let’s look at the frontrunners for Madden 22’s cover.

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Kyler Murray

Kyler Murray

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In each of the last two seasons — Patrick Mahomes on Madden 20 and Lamar Jackson on Madden 21 — dynamic second-year quarterbacks have grabbed the mantle. Albeit Mahomes’ selection came after his historic 50-touchdown season, while Jackson had just earned MVP honors. Kyler Murray, however, was one of the most exciting young players on an Arizona Cardinals team that stood in the playoff race for much of the season. Murray, a dual-threat playmaker, is also one of the most marketable stars in the NFL, a leader in the next generation of the league, and just served as a headliner in the NFL’s Pro Bowl Madden stream. Presumably, the Cardinals should be good real soon, and video game covers typically aim to project, which is why we have Fernando Tatis Jr. featured on MLB The Show.

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Derrick Henry

Derrick Henry

Illustration for article titled Who could grace the cover of Madden 2022?
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Also appearing on the NFL’s Pro Bowl Madden stream was Henry, who would be the first running back to cover the series since Adrian Peterson and Barry Sanders appeared on different versions of the game’s 2013 cover.

Henry put together an MVP-worthy 2020, rushing for over 2,000 yards on a league-high 378 carries. Henry is easily the best running back in the league, and is on a team good enough to represent. He’s led the league in rushing in each of the last two seasons and, at 27 years old, is right at his peak. He’d be the second Tennessee Titans running back to front Madden, after Eddie George’s 2001 appearance.

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Stefon Diggs

Stefon Diggs

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After asking out of Minnesota and getting his wish with a move to Buffalo, Diggs not only looked like a genius — he looked like the best receiver in the NFL last season. The University of Maryland alum helped elevate Josh Allen into a Pro Bowl-level quarterback, raised the offensive ceiling of an AFC Championship contender, and led the league with 127 receptions and 1,535 receiving yards. Only three receivers have appeared on a Madden cover, with Calvin Johnson becoming the first in 2012, with Odell Beckham Jr. and Antonio Brown to follow. To some degree, there’s a receiver curse built within the famed Madden curse, but Diggs would be a worthy selection nonetheless.

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Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson

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Watson might get traded, but that won’t impact his chances. Brett Favre covered Madden 09 as a Green Bay Packer, and had to be updated after his trade with new copies of No. 4 in a New York Jets uniform. Like Murray and Henry, Watson was on the NFL’s Pro Bowl stream, and despite his Houston Texans going 4-12 in 2020, he’s cemented among the game’s most elite quarterbacks. He’s also just 25-years-old, and if he lands on a team like the San Francisco 49ers or Pittsburgh Steelers, that may only increase his chances seeing as how the team’s fortunes would change overnight.

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Tom Brady

Tom Brady

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Sigh. Yes, we’re only four Madden’s removed from the Brady cover, but we can’t get rid of this dude. We have to account for him in every possible scenario until he retires, and even then, he’ll probably be covering Legacy Editions. Regardless, coming off a Super Bowl victory with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and another Super Bowl MVP, what else needs to be said? Stats don’t need to support this point, he is who he is. Will EA Sports do it? Probably not. But would we be that surprised? Nope, not at all.

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