Updated June 1, 2022
BY Lance Cartelli

Ranking the 10 Best 'Madden' Video Game Covers Ever

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It doesn't really feel like the football season is coming until we see "Madden NFL" covers. 

The incredibly popular football simulation game, that got its name from the legendary coach John Madden, is still going strong after selling more than 130 million games in its history. 

This year, EA Sports has decided to feature the former Raiders coach on the cover following his death on Dec. 28, 2021. 

With Madden back on the cover of his own football game, we decided to rank the 10 greatest covers in the game's history. 

10. John Madden Football

EA Sports

Prior to being known as just "Madden," the NFL video game franchise was called "John Madden Football" and featured the larger-than-life coach. 

He's back on the cover this year as a tribute to the Hall-of-Fame coach. 

The cover featured above is great because it shows the pure joy Madden had for football. Pictures speak a thousand words and so does the "John Madden Football" cover. 

9. Madden 09: Brett Favre

EA Sports

The "Madden 09" cover belongs on this list because of its fascinating story. 

Back in 2008, Brett Favre retired (for the first time) and was commemorated on the "Madden" cover... until he un-retired (for the first time) and joined the Jets a week before the game was released. 

EA Sports made an alternate cover, with Favre in a Jets uniform, available. 

8. Madden 2005: Ray Lewis

EA Sports

Usually, it's offensive players who make the cover of "Madden" games. But Ray Lewis is the perfect outlier. 

The dominating middle linebacker was the perfect representation of the "hit stick" feature that "Madden" introduced. 

7. Madden 25: Barry Sanders

EA Sports

"Madden" featured multiple covers for the 25th-anniversary edition -- including Adrian Peterson -- but the Barry Sanders cover takes the cake. 

The most electrifying running back in NFL history retired before he could make the cover, so it's nice to see him get his due. He would be a fun to player to use in modern "Madden" games. 

6. Madden 21: Lamar Jackson

EA Sports

If Michael Vick is the biggest game breaker in "Madden" history, Lamar Jackson isn't too far behind. 

The former NFL MVP earned his way onto the cover after being one of the most entertaining players to watch in the league.

His cover also uses a different template, which is a nice change. 

5. Madden 17: Rob Gronkowski

EA Sports

The Gronk Spike is one of the simplest (and best) touchdown celebrations in NFL history. 

And there's no doubt that arguably the greatest tight end of all time's signature celebration fits perfectly on the cover of "Madden." 

4. Madden 16: Odell Beckham Jr.

EA Sports

Odell Beckham Jr. took the league by storm his rookie year, putting together one of the greatest first years the wide receiver position has ever seen. 

His most famous catch was, of course, his one-handed touchdown grab that shook the world and broke the internet. 

While the cover isn't quite a re-enactment of one of the best catches ever, it is a representation of Beckham's one-handed skills that literally leaps off the cover. 

3. Madden 18 G.O.A.T. Edition: Tom Brady

EA Sports

It took decades, but the GOAT, aka Tom Brady, finally graced the cover of "Madden" in the 2018 edition. 

While Brady was given two covers, it's the GOAT Edition," with his signature scream, that makes this cover so great. 

Unfortunately, "Madden 18" wasn't quite the greatest entry in the series. 

2. Madden 2004: Michael Vick

EA Sports

There hasn't been a more dominating player in "Madden" history than Michael Vick. 

The dual-threat QB was essentially a cheat code thanks to his incredible speed and rocket arm. That alone puts his cover, with the four-time Pro Bowler in scramble mode, as one of the elite covers in the video game's history. 

1. Madden 10: Troy Polamalu and Larry Fitzgerald

EA Sports

Following an epic Super Bowl XLIII, which the Steelers won on an incredible go-ahead touchdown catch by Santonio Holmes, two of the biggest stars of the championship contenders made the cover for the popular video game. 

Featuring two future Hall of Famers instead of a typical single-player cover helped make this cover feel even more special. The artwork didn't hurt, either. 

Photo: EA Sports

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