The legacy of the Madden NFL video game franchise is in the news this week following the sad death of John Madden. His name has graced the game since its inception in 1988 and some of the real greats of the modern NFL have been on the cover since the turn of the century.
The latest edition featured two players in Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady, bringing two generations of quarterbacks together to honor the legacy of the game. That raises the question of who has been on the cover the most.
Has any player even been on the cover more than once? The answer requires a closer look at the history of the video game franchise.
Who has been on the cover of Madden the most?
2001 was the first year in which a player appeared on the cover of Madden NFL. The player was Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George. Before that, Madden was on the cover himself.
That makes the game's namesake the answer to the question here. He was on the cover for over a decade.
That made perfect sense when the game debuted. The developers did not have an NFL license and Madden himself was the selling point of buying the game and learning the game of football in a more in-depth, entertaining way.
But consoles started to develop further and George was the first player to appear on the game's cover by himself.
So have any players appeared twice? If you look at the main console version of the game and not any mobile editions, Brady and Mahomes are the only players to ever be on the cover twice.
Brady made his debut on Madden NFL 18 and Mahomes was on the cover of Madden NFL 20. Then both made the cover for Madden NFL 22.
Mahomes is only at the beginning of his career and has already been on twice. He may be able to make it a third time if he is around for well over another decade. Yet it remains surprising that it took Brady so long to make the cover.
Madden himself has not been on the game's cover in years. That may change with the next edition in order to honor his legacy.