John Madden To Grace Cover Of Madden NFL 23 For First Time Since 2000

The 2023 edition of "Madden NFL" will feature the iconic John Madden on the cover for the first time since 2000.

EA Sports announced Wednesday that Madden will be on the cover of all three editions of the game, which is set to be released in August. Madden, the Hall of Fame coach who died on Dec. 28, was originally on the cover of then "John Madden Football" which was first released in 1988. Madden lent his commentary alongside Pat Summerall and Al Michaels until the introduction of the Xbox 360 and PS3 in 2006.

"We were thinking about this year's game and who was going to go on it; it almost became an obvious answer," said Seann Graddy, executive producer of Madden NFL, via ESPN. "I say that because we really wanted to celebrate Coach in the product this year and what he's meant to us for the 30-plus years that we've been using his name in our game."

Each of the three covers will showcase a different Madden, from his time as a coach, a broadcaster and a callback to the original "John Madden Football." The latter will be featured on the All Madden version, with Madden bursting through a diagram of X's and O's on a chalkboard.

The broadcasting cover shows Madden drawing on a telestrator, as he was known to do, while the coach cover has Madden being lifted up by his players after the Raiders' victory over the Vikings in Super Bowl XI.

"The thing that we wanted everyone to take away is that we're celebrating all three phases of Coach Madden's kind of legacy," Graddy said.

While many features of the game have yet to be released, Graddy said the opening experience will have two versions of Madden from the 1970s coaching against one another. One will lead a NFC All Madden Team and the other will lead a AFC All Madden Team. The game will be set at the old Oakland Coliseum.

"It's just kind of a fun fantasy experience where it's Coach Madden vs. Coach Madden," Graddy said. "With a callback from the All Madden teams that he used to create and that we used to have in our game, a mix of both legendary players and current-day players. Honestly, the thinking of why we wanted Coach vs. Coach is we want Coach to win."

Photos courtesy of EA Sports.