Each year since 1999, the Madden NFL
video game has selected one notable National Football League player to grace the cover. These Madden NFL
cover athletes were each selected for the honor for one reason or another, such as being the best in the league at their position, winning the Super Bowl or doing something really awesome.
The popular football video game was first released in 1988 and initially featured Pro Football Hall of Fame former player turned broadcaster John Madden on the cover. In 1999, Electronic Arts started the trend of selecting one NFL player to appear on the cover, thus starting the Madden NFL
cover athlete tradition. Garrison Hearst was the first to take the cover from Madden, appearing on the video game in 1999.
While the Madden NFL
cover athletes receive the distinction of gracing the cover of the video game and landing in the homes of millions of football fans around the globe, many believe with great glory comes the Madden Curse.
Similar to athletes who have appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated
magazine, many who were selected to appear on Madden NFL
saw some sort of misfortune in the following season such as injury or legal trouble. Accordingly, fans often campaign against their favorite player appearing on the cover out of fear of the curse.
Curse or not, just like the NCAA Football cover athletes
, the football players who have appeared on Madden NFL
received a great honor that will be remembered for years to come.