The NFL’s official Instagram account released a teaser for the upcoming installment of the Madden franchise, teasing “two goats” appearing on the cover. Does this mean Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will appear a second time? Who would join him?
Regardless of your opinion on the Madden franchise at this point, you think it’s great, you think it’s useless paying for a yearly roster update, you long for the days of the ESPN NFL franchise, or perhaps all of the above, it no doubt gets the NFL world talking.
With this recent teaser, everyone is speculating on who the cover athlete of the ’22 installment of the game will be. You can see the teaser here:
Peyton Hillis, the one-year wonder running back for the Cleveland Browns who controversially appeared on the cover of Madden ’12 (with a fan-vote potentially rigged against then-Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick but that’s a discussion for another time) is universally seen as the worst-cover athlete in the history of the game, so his involvement in the teaser and being a good sport about the whole deal is pretty hilarious.
So that brings us to the speculation. With the assumption that “two GOATs” will appear on the cover, naturally it’s easy to assume that Brady will be one of them. As for the other, that’s where the fun begins. Brady would be the first Buccaneers player to appear on the cover of the game.
There haven’t been two cover players on the same cover since Madden ’10 when Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu and Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald were chosen after facing off in Super Bowl XLIII. Perhaps Madden ’22 will go that route and have Patrick Mahomes appear with Brady. They just faced off and Mahomes is (perhaps prematurely) seen as the GOAT heir-apparent to Brady.
Perhaps they choose to go the retired legend route. Legendary Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders appeared on the cover of the 25th-anniversary installment of the game in 2013-14 after a fan vote. He is the only retired player to appear on the cover. Brett Favre was retired when he appeared on the cover of Madden ’09 but that didn’t last too long. Perhaps they bring things full-circle and have Sanders appear with Brady.
Of course, Brady idolized Joe Montana growing up, and the San Francisco 49ers legend was seen as one of, if not the GOAT before Brady. Having these two appear together on the cover would be something everyone, especially Brady, could get behind. A long shot would be Browns back Jim Brown, who was another player many saw as the GOAT before Brady. In fact, some still see him that way. Another who fits that bill is Jerry Rice, who more people still view as the GOAT at this present time.
At the end of the day, none of that really matters in the grand scheme of things, especially since Brady was the one who essentially ended the “Madden curse” when he appeared on the cover of Madden ’18 because of course he did. His teammate at the time with the New England Patriots Rob Gronkowski appeared the next year on Madden ’19, and since they’re teammates again with the Buccaneers, perhaps they have the GOAT quarterback and tight end appear.
Of course, they may also go full-mayhem and have Hillis appear with Brady. Madden has basically been messing with their fans for years, so covering both ends of the GOAT spectrum would be very fitting. We’ll find out for sure when Madden does their official cover reveal on June 17th.