Madden 22 Cover Athlete: Two “goats” graze the cover in 2022?

On June 14, EA Sports’ Madden Twitter account released a teaser video for their 2022 cover athletes featuring two goats. The Madden 22 cover athletes were officially announced on June 17 as Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady. Following the announcement, let’s look back at who has graced the cover since 2001 and whether the “Madden Curse” is something NFL players need to worry about.

Who will be on the Madden 22 cover?

Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes will both grace the cover for the second time. Brady was first on the cover back in 2018, while Mahomes had the honor in 2020. The Madden 22 cover will be the fourth time in five years that a quarterback has been chosen as the cover athlete. Prior to 2018, there had not been a QB on the cover since Drew Brees in 2011.

Brady won his seventh Super Bowl last season and was named Super Bowl MVP for the fifth time. In 2020, Brady threw 40 touchdowns with 4,633 receiving yards and just 12 interceptions. Mahomes is coming off the back of his second straight Super Bowl appearance. In 2020, he threw for 4,740 yards with 38 touchdowns with just 6 interceptions. Mahomes will be hoping that history repeats itself after he won his first Super Bowl following gracing the cover of Madden in 2020.

Who has been on the Madden cover previously?

Legendary Raiders head coach John Madden graced the cover of the Madden series from its inception in 1988 to 2000. However, Madden 2001 was the first to feature an NFL player on the cover — keep reading to find out who. The first two-player cover occurred in 2010 with Steelers defensive star Troy Polamalu and Cardinals receiver Larry “Legend” Fitzgerald.

The cover athletes are usually players who dominated the prior season, both statistically and in the media. Lamar Jackson was voted the cover athlete of the most recent product in the franchise, Madden 21. Here is a list of each Madden cover athlete since 2001 by year:

2001: Eddie Georgie, Tennessee Titans
2002: Daunte Culpepper, Minnesota Vikings
2003: Marshall Faulk, St. Louis Rams
2004: Michael Vick, Atlanta Falcons
2005: Ray Lewis, Baltimore Ravens
2006: Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia Eagles
2007: Shaun Alexander, Seattle Seahawks
2008: Vince Young, Tennessee Titans
2009: Brett Favre, Green Bay Packers
2010: Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers and Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
2011: Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
2012: Peyton Hillis, Cleveland Browns
2013: Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
2014: Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings (PS4, Xbox One) Barry Sanders, Detroit Lions (PS3, Xbox 360)
2015: Richard Sherman, Seattle Seahawks
2016: Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants
2017: Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
2018: Tom Brady, New England Patriots
2019: Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
2020: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
2021: Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
2022: Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers & Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Should cover athletes be worried about the Madden curse?

Since athletes began donning the video game box art in 2001, some have suffered injuries or experienced a decline in production from their previous outing. This adversity has become known as the “Madden Curse.” The most recent example was Mahomes enduring a knee injury in the middle of the 2019-2020 NFL season. Yet, the Chiefs QB broke the curse in the same year. Mahomes returned to power Kansas City to their first Super Bowl victory in 50 years.

Still, players such as Gronkowski (2017), Adrian Peterson (2014), and Polamalu (2010) dealt with season-ending injuries. Furthermore, Drew Brees (2011) and Peyton Hillis (2012) underperformed compared to their prior performances.

There are many examples of cover athletes producing stellar campaigns like Calvin Johnson in 2013 and Richard Sherman in 2015. Whether you believe in the “Madden Curse” or not is up to you. But there is evidence for both sides to chew on.

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James Fragoza is a Writer and News Editor at Pro Football Network. You can read his other work here and follow him on Twitter @JamesFragoza.


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