In today’s day and age one of the most flattering accomplishments that an NFL player can obtain is that of appearing on the cover of one of the most popular video games on the market, Madden. To be on the cover of the game you have to be a superstar and one of the most talented players in the league. Throughout the years there have been some players that found themselves on the cover that have never quite lived up to the hype. On the other hand there have been players that have excelled at their position and never received such honors. Madden has only been around for thirty or so years, so players prior to then will not be eligible to make the list. Which players are most deserving of being on the cover of Madden?
10. Tony Gonzalez. One of the factors you have to consider when you are looking for the best player to put on Madden is excitement. How exciting is the position of the player and how electric are they on the field? Gonzalez is certainly in the discussion as the greatest tight end to ever take the field, and solidified this by owning many of the tight ends records. When Gonzalez hung up his cleats in 2013, he owned the NFL record for receptions (1,325), 100-yard games (31) receiving yards (15,127) and was 2nd in touchdown receptions.
His resume may be one of the strongest on this list, but unfortunately the position of tight-end is not the most glamorous especially when Gonzalez was playing. Only one tight end has ever been on the cover of Madden and that player was Rob Gronkowski on Madden 17.
9. Julio Jones. This one is tricky because Jones still has a lot to prove in the league. He will most likely have many productive years in his future and plenty of opportunities to find his way to the cover of the game. This being said his counterpart Antonio Brown received this accolade just last year on Madden 19. While is seemed at the time that Brown had earned this award because he was in fact phenomenal on the field. But, as we know his off field antics certainly shouldn’t make him a role model for kids on a video game.
In 2019, Jones finished the 2019 season compiling an average of 96.2 receiving yards per game,. This was an NFL record and the next highest was 8.7 yards a game fewer. This was not the only insane stat that Jones cooked up. In the same year Jones had 1,394 yards receiving which added up to six seasons of at least 1,300 yards. Only Jerry Rice had more. Safe to say Julio Jones is a man among boys and has earned a spot as a likely candidate for a Madden cover.
8. Patrick Willis. Willis played the duration of his career in San Francisco and quietly became one of the greatest linebackers of all time. While it is rare for a defensive player to make the cover, Willis should have at least been in the conversation. Willis made it to the Pro Bowl and made the All-Decade team. He was underappreciated his entire career and never quite received the praise that he was due.
7. Marvin Harrison. Much like Willis, Harrison seems to be swept under the rug when it comes to greatest of all time at their position arguments. In 2002, he shattered the NFL single-season record for receptions with 143 and made it to eight Pro Bowls. Throughout his career in Indianapolis, he racked up huge numbers such as 1,102 career receptions, 14,580 yards, and 128 touchdowns. There is no question that Marvin Harrison was one of the best receivers to strap them up and was certainly talented enough to be on the cover of Madden.
6. Adrian Peterson. Though Peterson did appear on the cover of Madden 25, Barry Sanders stole the show while Peterson was shown on an alternative cover. Peterson is an explosive running back and one of the few half backs to win the MVP trophy. He was undoubtedly the best player on the Vikings through the duration of his tenure there, he led the league in rushing yards three years and led the league in touchdowns in two. After seven Pro Bowls he earned a spot on the 2010’s All Decade team. It is safe to say that there would be no reason to not place him on the cover of the video game.
5. Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers career like Julio Jones has not been finalized yet. He still has some chapters in his story that have yet to be written. Although this is the case, it seems as if we have seen the best of Rodgers and he has now entered the latter end of his prime. In his hey-day Rodgers was said to have been the greatest talent at quarterback the league had ever seen.
In 2010, he performed one of the best single-season performances of all time and certainly should have been the leading candidate for the cover of Madden. Perhaps Rodgers will find a “second wind” and rediscover his peak talent and shock the world.
4. Ed Reed. Reed was a member of one of the greatest defenses in NFL history, and participated and won a Super Bowl. In 2002, his teammate Ray Lewis was shown on the Madden cover and rightfully so, but Reed was no less impressive and is arguably the greatest safety of all time.
Much like Patrick Willis it can be difficult to make the cover while playing on the defensive side of the ball, but Reed was the 2004 Defensive Player of the Year, and owns the record for most interception yardage in a career (1,590), as well as the most seasons leading the league in interceptions at 3. Legends like Bill Belichick agree that he is the best to ever do it, should this qualify him for a spot on a Madden Cover?
3. LaDainian Tomlinson. There were years where Tomlinson was the most exciting player in the league. He was a wizard on the football field and broke records at every turn. Like Adrian Peterson he also took home the MVP trophy in 2006, and owns the record for touchdowns in a season (28). Tomlinson also co-owns the consecutive games with a touchdown record. Clearly, Tomlinson deserves to be one of the most talented players that never was on a Madden.
2. Randy Moss. Few snubs are as disrespectful as that of Randy Moss’ absence from Madden Covers. Randy Moss repeatedly surprised viewers and shocked the world with his next level athleticism and skill. After receiving the Offensive Rookie of the Year award in 1998, he went on to lead the league in touchdowns for five different years and ended his career with 15,292 receiving yards and 156 touchdown passes. He owns the record with 23 receiving yards in a season. He is truly one of the best players in the last century, and changed the game of football as we know it.
- Peyton Manning. This one seems quite obvious. Peyton Manning is undoubtedly the best and most talented player that never had the opportunity of gracing the cover of Madden. Not only was he a quarterback, which is the face of a team, but he was one of the best quarterbacks of all time and still is one of the faces of the league. By the end of his career he had tied for the most touchdown passes in a game all-time (7), has the most passing yards in a season all-time (5,477), and also has the most touchdown passes in a season (55). Peyton Manning was a statistical juggernaut and one of the best players we have ever seen.