While Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers just unlocked a major achievement by winning a third league MVP award, one major hurdle still eludes Rodgers. Aaron Rodgers has never graced the cover of EA Sports’ Madden series.
EA Sports announced the cover to Madden NFL 22 will be revealed on June 17th. This event always draws a crowd as fans hope their favorite player or favorite team will earn the honor of gracing the cover. The player chosen tends to represent the season as a whole, so the player isn’t limited to a Super Bowl-winning team, though someone on the Super Bowl-winning team or the league’s MVP is common.
Aaron Rodgers had arguably the best season of his career in 2020, and while his 2010, 2011, and 2104 seasons didn’t make the cut, could 2020 be his chance?
For the record, the last few cover athletes have been Lamar Jackson in 21, Patrick Mahomes in 20, Antonio Brown in 19, Tom Brady in 18, Rob Gronkowski in 17, and Odell Beckham Jr. in 16. These players were either league MVPs or some of the most prolific skill position players in the league. A defensive player hasn’t made the cover since Richard Sherman in Madden NFL 15.
Statistically, it makes sense to put Rodgers on the cover. He’s one of the league’s most renowned and respected players, is on a popular team, hasn’t been on the cover, and had an outstanding 2020 season.
Unfortunately, his current status with the Packers clouds this. If Rodgers sits out or ends up traded, do you switch players? Switch uniforms if traded?
In fact, does this odd circumstance fall in line with the rumored Madden curse? For those unaware, an urban legend suggests that Madden cover athletes tend to get injured or fall off in some way (or fade completely into obscurity in the case of 2012’s Peyton Hillis). Could Rodgers have been the intended target, only to get the curse earlier this year?
Of course, the curse is poppycock, but a fun distraction. Whether Rodgers was considered or not initially, the hint released by EA Sports seems to be pointing in a different direction.
In their short video, EA showed Peyton Hillis and two goats, with one appearing older than the other. Of course, G.O.A.T. is a common term in sports, with the implication being two “greatest of all time” players (a fun contradiction)– an old GOAT and a young GOAT.
This seems to hint that there will be two athletes on this year’s cover (and 2020 was a weird year, so a weird cover makes sense). The easiest guess is that the cover will feature Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes, as their teams faced each other in the Super Bowl earlier this year. Both have previously been on a Madden cover before, but, as mentioned, 2020 was a strange year.
Rodgers has never truly been thrown into GOAT-ness like Brady. Despite probably being the more talented quarterback, QBWinz are the king stat for GOAT arguments, so Rodgers making the cover seems unlikely. Theoretically, the cover could represent both Rodgers and Brady, who will face off in “The Match” later this summer, but the younger GOAT seems to point to Mahomes.
Still, Rodgers has more than earned the right to grace the cover of sports-related video games’ best cash cow. Maybe he sticks around for one more shot at that prestigious honor. Heck, maybe they’ll throw everyone off and put David Bakhtiari on front. Offensive linemen deserve love, too.Matt Hendershott is a Packers fan and Miller High Life enthusiast from Northwest Ohio. He has a Master of Arts in Media and Communication from Bowling Green State University. You can follow him on Twitter @MattHendershott.