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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Madden 24 Cover Predictions: Who Will Be On The Madden NFL Cover This Year?

At the time of publishing this, it’s not even June, but believe it or not, that means it’s almost Madden season already. That’s because the annual Madden beta tends to kick off in June. Though EA hasn’t revealed a Madden 24 beta start date just yet, it stands to reason that we’ll be hearing about it soon. Along with that news, we’ll also surely get a cover reveal. The Madden cover athlete is an annual point of good-natured debate and speculation. Who deserves it? Who will get it? Ask 20 football fans and you’re liable to get 15 or more different answers.

Like we did last year–when we correctly guessed it, may we add–we’re looking at the possible Madden 24 cover stars and saying why each NFL superstar deserves the honor. Be sure to leave your best guesses too–especially if you think we completely missed someone.

Jalen Hurts, Eagles QB

The Eagles QB may be the odds-on favorite, as he’s got everything modern Madden cover stars tend to have: an elite in-game rating at a major position, off-the-field star power, and he’s still young and rising. EA loves a hip choice–someone cool with the youth–and Hurts’ surge toward the top of the league’s QB rankings, plus the famous video of him squatting 600 lbs., makes him seem cooler than maybe everyone else on this list. The only thing working against him is he just lost the Super Bowl, and he would definitely seem a bit cooler if he won it.

Joe Burrow, Bengals QB

Of course, we can’t talk about cool without mentioning another quarterback, the Bengals’ Joe Burrow. Mired by shoddy offensive line play and a rookie season injury, Burrow’s resume still includes back-to-back trips to the AFC Championship game and some of the best QB play league-wide. If you called him a top-three QB, most wouldn’t bat an eye. He’s lost a Super Bowl too, but it was a few years ago, so maybe he doesn’t bring that baggage to the Madden cover.

Travis Kelce, Chiefs TE

Most Madden covers over the years have featured QBs, WRs, or RBs. Only one to date has featured a tight end: Madden 17 with Rob Gronkowski. So history is not on Kelce’s side. However, most else is. He’s got a massive personality, an even bigger podcast, and he’s either the best tight end in NFL history or just behind Gronk according to most in the football cognoscenti. He’s also a defending champ, which doesn’t hurt. Speaking of that podcast…

The Kelce Brothers, Travis (Chiefs TE) and Jason (Eagles C)

The most outside-the-box idea is also the one I’m growing most fond of as I type out this article. The Kelce Brothers include the aforementioned Travis and Eagles center Jason. They’re coming off a Super Bowl showdown in which baby brother Travis emerged victorious and later Jason decided not to retire after mulling it, which means he’s close. If EA wants to lean into the pop culture that surrounds Madden and the NFL, the publisher may decide to do its third-ever two-player cover and feature the brothers on it together. Their podcast, New Heights, is one of the biggest in any genre right now, and helps Madden have a broader appeal, if that’s even possible for the only NFL sim on the market. Still, I’m sure EA would love the brothers doing ad reads for Madden 24 every episode.

Justin Jefferson, Vikings WR

I thought about other wide receivers–AJ Brown, Ja’Marr Chase, Tyreek Hill–but ultimately only one makes sense to me. As perhaps the league’s best receiving talent, Jefferson has not just the skills, but the personality to match. He made the Griddy dance so famous that it ended up not just in Madden, but even in Fortnite. He just looks the part, whether he’s torching DBs or dancing on the cover this August.

Aaron Rodgers, Jets QB

Now this one would be sort of funny. If EA put Aaron Rodgers on the cover, it would perhaps be motivated by a callback. Madden historians will recall Madden 2009’s cover featured the Packers’ Brett Favre. However, Favre was traded to the Jets later that summer, and EA remade the cover to reflect Favre’s new team. Similarly, Packers QB Rodgers was recently traded to the Jets, giving football fans, and maybe Madden players, a bit of deja vu.

We’re past the point where EA would need to “fix” the cover, but I could see the publisher releasing a Jets-Rodgers cover for launch and then either having a reversible cover or a downloadable version later which calls back to Rodgers’ illustrious Packers career.

Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, Jets CB

There wasn’t a better rookie last year than the Jets’ cornerback Ahmad Gardner, better known as “Sauce.” EA doesn’t do a ton of defensive players on the Madden cover, but it’s done them when it’s either made gameplay sense–like when Ray Lewis was on the cover of Madden 2005 because Tiburon introduced the Hit Stick–or just when the defender is that good–like Madden 15 when Richard Sherman landed on it during the peak Legion of Boom era in Seattle.

So a defender is unlikely, but among them, Sauce is perhaps most likely, as he’s got the youth vote, the likely skyrocketing overall Madden rating, and he plays in the big New York market, even if he happens to be on the franchise that’s traditionally seen as lesser than the stadium-mate Giants. Full disclosure: I previously thought about giving Micah Parsons my lone defender spot on this list, but I think Sauce’s trajectory is still at a point where EA can latch on to its figurative rocket ship before it’s exited the atmosphere, where as Parsons is already a certified star.

Stick around for more Madden NFL 24 chatter as we approach the official reveal, which should occur sometime in June ahead of a presumed August launch on PC, Xbox, and PlayStation.

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