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EA Sports names Ravens’ Jackson to “Madden” cover

EA Sports, makers of the annual National Football League video game franchise “Madden NFL,” has named Baltimore Ravens quarterback and reigning league Most Valuable Player Lamar Jackson as the cover athlete for the upcoming “Madden NFL 21.”

Jackson will be featured across the marketing for the game, which will be the first in the venerable franchise now in its fourth decade that will be available on the upcoming next generation of gaming consoles from Sony and Microsoft set for release later this year.

“Dynamic agility and blazing speed make the Baltimore Ravens superstar QB untouchable in the open field,” EA Sports said. “The face of a fearless new generation of rising NFL stars, Jackson has changed the game.”

For many years, being named to the “Madden NFL” cover was thought to be bad luck and after subpar and injury-plagued years posted by many cover athletes there was open talk in the gaming community of the so-called “Madden Curse.” But more recently, honorees such as then-Seattle Seahawks defensive back Richard Sherman, then-New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, and former Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson also posted banner campaigns during their years on the “Madden NFL” cover.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who was on the cover last year of “Madden NFL 20,” also led the Chiefs to a victory in Super Bowl LIV.

There will be three covers for the game, with each corresponding to standard, deluxe, and MVP versions. Because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, EA Sports was not able to conduct a standard photo shoot for the game, and instead working with the Ravens to create covers based on collages of existing photos taken primarily by Ravens team photographer Shawn Hubbard. 

The naming of Jackson as the next cover also arrives as EA Sports recently finalized a contract extension with the NFL that keeps the league’s exclusive simulation video game rights with the company through at least 2025. 

“Madden NFL 21” will be released August 28 for PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and XBox One. Versions for next-generation consoles PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will follow later in the year.