John Madden is the Madden 23 cover star. Did we call it? Not quite, but almost. Coach was our third-placed pick in GR’s annual predictions feature, narrowly behind Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp, and Kansas City yards machine Travis Kelce. Below you can revisit all the other Madden 23 box-art contenders, with Kupp and Kelce already likely to lead the list of names for Madden 24. Originally published in April 2022, this is your Madden 23 cover vote guide.
10. Tom Brady (QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
EA wouldn’t… would it? The evergreen Brady was supposed to be retired back in February, but undid that decision just 40 days later. Rumours of a trade to Miami abound, but at the moment he’s primed to once more line up behind center for the Buccaneers. He’ll be 45 going into the upcoming season, and already owns every major quarterback honor. And, y’know, seven Super Bowl rings.
9. Patrick Mahomes (QB, Kansas City Chiefs)
If one Madden 22 cover star makes this list, then the other one has to too. As well as co-fronting last year’s game, the Chiefs talisman had the shelves all to himself back on Madden 20. (Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson took the honor for Madden 21.) Mahomes fell short of bringing another title to Arrowhead last season, but still had another imperious campaign, slinging for 37 touchdowns and 4,893 yards.
8. Derrick Henry (RB, Tennessee Titans)
The Titans thunderbolt was ‘leaked’ as the Madden 22 cover athlete by a Gamestop employee ahead of last year’s game. The only problem? Said employee had got his facts wrong, and a social media brouhaha was all for nothing. Still, he came close to 1,000 yards despite only starting eight games due to injury, putting himself in the cover conversation yet again. However, there is one running back who is more deserving, based purely on 2021 form. Namely…
7. Jonathan Taylor (RB, Indianapolis Colts)
Indi’s hot halfback was absurdly great in 2021, energizing the Colts offense and winning fantasy leagues in the same breath. He racked up 1,811 yards on the ground, almost 600 more than nearest contender Nick Chubb of Cleveland. 40 receptions were successfully snagged too. If Taylor is given the cover honor, it’ll be the first time a running back has fronted the game in a decade, when Adrian Peterson was chosen for the bizarrely named Madden 25.
6. Ja’Marr Chase (WR, Cincinnati Bengals)
This might be a season too early for the Bengals wide receiver, who stormed to 81 receptions and 1,455 yards en route to Rookie of the Year honours. Chase was a key contributor to Cinci’s shock Super Bowl run, marking the franchise’ first trip to the big one since 1988. He also triggered one of the season’s most hilarious commentary lines, with Tony Romo shouting “Chase is on the case” to accompany a mid-season touchdown. It’s a Paw Patrol thing…
5. Joe Burrow (QB, Cincinnati Bengals)
Hang on, there’s another possibility here. Could EA pull another double-deal on the front of the box, and surprise us further by going for two players from the same team? If so, Burrow would be the hot favorite to join Chase on store shelves across the globe. He grabbed the Comeback Player of the Year award in the season-ending honors list, having recovered from a torn ACL and MCL in order to steer Cincinnati’s Super Bowl charge.
4. Aaron Donald (DT, Los Angeles Rams)
No defensive player has been chosen as the series’ figurehead since Madden 15, when Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks received the accolade. Donald was our outside bet to break that streak last year, and has an even stronger case this time around. The monstrous D-lineman decimated the Bengals’ interior in Super Bowl LVI, and has been selected to the Pro Bowl in every one of his eight active seasons.
3. John Madden (HC, NFL Legend)
The king of Oakland, commentary and digitized football sadly passed away in December at the age of 85. His image hasn’t actually fronted the game bearing his name for 22 years, but if EA wished to pay tribute to the great man, this would be the time to do so. Madden’s moniker has been attached to the flagship Gridiron series since it first landed on MS-DOS and Commodore 64 back in 1988.
2. Travis Kelce (TE, Kansas City Chiefs)
If EA figures that two covers in three years is sufficient Mahomes love for now, then there’s a strong chance it turns attentions to KC’s other mega-marketable superstar. Rob Gronkowski was the last tight-end to make the cover, back on Madden 17, and many feel that Kelce is already on par with the Patriots and Buccaneers legend – and maybe, even, the greatest ever to play the position. A Madden cover someday is inevitable.
1. Cooper Kupp (WR, Los Angeles Rams)
Eight catches, 92 yards, and two touchdowns secured Kupp the MVP award at this year’s Super Bowl. With quarterback Matthew Stafford having already appeared on the box in his Detroit Lions days, those stats also secured the Rams’ starlet top spot in the Madden 22 cover odds. He’d be the first wide receiver chosen to front the series since Antonio Brown back in Madden 19. Let’s just hope EA doesn’t ask him to wrestle team-mate Donald for the ultimate honor.