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Madden 22 release date, leaks, cover athlete, and more

EA Sports Madden NFL 22
EA Sports Madden NFL 22
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Walter Sharp

EA Sports will announce the cover athlete of Madden 22 on June 17, 2021. There's a lot of speculation around who's going to grace the cover of the latest edition. After a tiny little inkling in a recent tweet from Madden NFL 22, it appears the cover athlete could be either Tom Brady or Peyton Manning.

The Twitter post features two goats breaking through a barn door, with former cover athlete Peyton Hillis making a phone call after the goats break the doors open. Madden using goats points towards Tom Brady featuring on the cover, but Peyton Hillis making the phone call could be an indication of Peyton Manning edging this contest.

There's a possibility that Madden could have different cover athletes for both PlayStation and Xbox. Tom Brady could be the Xbox cover athlete, and Peyton Manning could be on the PlayStation cover. There's also a rumor going around that since Peyton Hillis was a running back, Derrick Henry could be the cover athlete.

All these rumors will be put to rest in three short days when EA Sports officially unveils the Madden 22 cover athlete. Here's everything Madden fans need to know regarding the release of the newest edition.


When will Madden 22 be released?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady
Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady

EA Sports has released Madden games on a Friday for the last three years. Assuming they follow that same plan, the game will be released on either August 20 or August 27.

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Who will be the Madden 22 cover athlete?

Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry
Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry

WhatCulture.com and Reddit seem to believe that Derrick Henry will be the cover athlete for Madden 22. The name of the cover athlete is not set in stone, and fans with a penchant for creativity will likely put out several different covers over the next three days.

All things considered, Derrick Henry has a decent chance of gracing the cover, after the monstrous season he had in 2020.


Who are the past cover athletes for Madden?

Past Madden cover athletes
Past Madden cover athletes

The first NFL player to appear on the Madden cover was Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George back in 2001. Before George made his Madden cover debut, the game had legendary head coach and broadcaster John Madden on the cover.

Here's a list of the players to have featured on the cover of Madden:

  • Eddie George, 2001
  • Daunte Culpepper, 2002
  • Marshall Faulk, 2003
  • Michael Vick, 2004
  • Ray Lewis, 2005
  • Donovan McNabb, 2006
  • Shaun Alexander, 2007
  • Vince Young, 2008
  • Brett Favre, 2009
  • Troy Polamalu and Larry Fitzgerald, 2010
  • Drew Brees, 2011
  • Peyton Hillis, 2012
  • Calvin Johnson, 2013
  • Barry Sanders, 2014
  • Richard Sherman, 2015
  • O'Dell Beckham Jr., 2016
  • Rob Gronkowski, 2017
  • Tom Brady, 2018
  • Antonio Brown, 2019
  • Patrick Mahomes, 2020
  • Lamar Jackson, 2021

No athlete has appeared on the Madden cover more than once. That said, Tom Brady has made it a habit of going where no athlete has gone before.


The talk around the Madden curse

Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes

Patrick Mahomes was the cover athlete for Madden 20 and remains one of the few athletes to have dodged the dreaded "Madden curse".

A total of 22 players have so far been selected as cover athletes for the Madden game. Of the 22 players, 16 have had troubling or abruptly-shortened seasons immediately following their cover debut. More than a handful of athletes have suffered season-ending injuries after featuring on the cover, giving credence to the Madden curse.

Is the Madden curse real? It's unlikely, since NFL stars are well aware that injuries are a part of the game.

Maybe the Madden curse is a thing of the past. After all, the last three cover athletes have dodged the bullet. Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson have all ducked the supposed curse.


Edited by Colin D'Cunha
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