John Madden on Madden NFL 23 cover

Here’s who will be on the cover of Madden NFL 23 and why

By Steven Rondina


Jul 3, 2022

Reading time: 3 min

The Madden NFL 23 cover will be a tribute to one of the greatest voices in sports.

Since 2000 one of the biggest parts of the buildup to each installment in the Madden NFL franchise is who would appear on the cover. For years, the former Oakland Raiders coach John Madden was the exclusive cover model for the games. Over time he started sharing the cover with individuals from top teams. But with Madden 2001, there was a complete shift towards highlighting star players.

Though there has been a mix of both controversy and superstition surrounding Madden cover status, appearing on the front of the game is treasured status in football. Here’s who will grace the cover of Madden NFL 23.

John Madden returns to cover with Madden NFL 23

After more than 20 years of players appearing on the front of Madden games, the legendary coach and commentator John Madden graces the Madden NFL 23 cover. This is his first time appearing on the box since Madden NFL 2000, which came out in 1999.

Madden NFL 23 alternate covers

There will be three different covers for different versions of Madden NFL 23, with each one paying homage to different facets of Madden’s legacy. One cover will use a photograph from the Oakland Raiders’ victory in Super Bowl XI. Another will use a portrait from his days as a commentator. The third and final variant is an homage to the original John Madden Football game published in 1988.

Madden returning to the cover of the franchise named for him was well-met by fans of the football legend and the games.

Why is John Madden on the cover of Madden NFL 23?

John Madden’s return to the cover of Madden NFL 23 serves as a memorial to the late coach and commentator.

The covers are meant to pay tribute to Madden following his death at 85 years old in 2021. Madden died in December 2021, four months after the release of Madden NFL 22. Fans called for him to return to the cover of the games following his death and EA Sports obliged.

Will John Madden be on the cover of future Madden NFL games?

Odds are that Madden will not be featured so prominently on the cover in Madden NFL 24 and beyond. The NFL has many star players to promote, and it would be difficult to resist the temptation to show off notable players like Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen.

John Madden’s return to the cover of Madden NFL 23 is likely meant to serve as an homage in the first release of the game since his passing. While EA Sports hasn’t discussed the matter, fans should expect one of the top performers of the 2022-2023 NFL season to land on the cover of the next game.

Madden could, however, return to the games’ covers in a smaller recurring capacity. John Madden was for a time featured on the covers in a smaller portrait while star players were given greater highlighting on the cover.

EA Sports is looking to make a splash with this year’s installment in the series. The game is set for release in August.


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