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John Madden returns to the cover of Madden NFL for the first time in more than 20 years

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The very first John Madden Football launched for the Apple 2 on June 1, 1988, kicking off one of the most successful and longest-running videogame series of all time. 34 years later, on June 1, 2022, Electronic Arts has announced that the legendary NFL coach and commentator, who died in December 2021 at age 85, will return to take the cover of Madden NFL 23.

“Coach Madden has been synonymous with the sport of football for more than 50 years and to honor his legacy for the next generation, Coach Madden returns to the cover of Madden NFL 23 for the first time in more than two decades,” Electronic Art said.

Madden NFL 23 will be available in three different covers, each of which will “pay tribute to a different chapter in Coach Madden’s unforgettable life.” One shows Madden celebrating after coaching the Oakland Raiders to victory over the Minnesota Vikings at Super Bowl XI in 1977; another showcases Madden in his later-career analyst role, drawing play patterns on a simulated glass screen; and the third, for the All Madden Edition, is a throwback to the original John Madden NFL cover, created by artist Chuck Styles. Each of the covers bears a note saying, “Thanks, coach.”

This will be Madden’s first appearance on an NFL game bearing his name since Madden 2000, released in 1999. He had been on every cover prior to that, but in 2001 EA began using NFL players for Madden cover art instead—a switch that also gave us the infamous Madden Curse.

Madden NFL 23 will be fully unveiled with a reveal trailer that will go live tomorrow, June 2, at 10 am ET.

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