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John Madden gets posthumous cover treatment on his namesake video game

John Madden hasn’t been the main figure on the cover of the NFL’s signature video game in more than two decades, but he’ll return to the spot for all three covers planned for Madden 23.

The game, which is named after the Raiders’ Hall of Fame coach and featured his commentary, has placed players on the front in all of its 21st-century yearly editions. Madden, who died Dec. 28, had been on the cover from the original game in 1988 to Madden 2000, released in 1999.

Since then, current players have dominated the cover. Madden was initially still featured in a small box on the cover, but that ended in 2005. Last year’s edition featured both Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes and then-reigning Super Bowl champ Tom Brady of the Buccaneers.

Seann Graddy, the executive producer of the game, told ESPN that the coach “almost became an obvious answer” when deciding who should be the face of this year’s edition.

The All-Madden Edition cover uses the same image of a young Madden who graced the original cover 34 years ago, showing his role as a pioneer in the video game space.

Electronic Arts revealed the cover of “Madden NFL 23” and it will be the late coach himself John Madden. This is the first time he’ll be on the cover in more than 20 years. (Electronic Arts) 

The two other covers will also feature Madden, according to ESPN, but will depict him as a broadcaster and as a coach, completing the trio of places the Bay Area native most impacted the game.

Electronic Arts, the maker of the game, will have a “full reveal” of this year’s edition at 6 a.m. tomorrow. The game itself will be released to the public in August ahead of the NFL season.

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