Hardly two years into his professional football career, Lamar Jackson already has a list of trophies and awards to his name that would make seasoned players quiver. He won the Heisman Trophy in college, and last year he became the second player ever to win the year's NFL Most Valuable Player with a unanimous vote. Now, he's also going to be an EA Madden cover star... but, it seems he should've kept that under wraps a bit longer.
Jackson, quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens, announced to reporters today that he'll grace the cover of Madden NFL 21. On social media, the Ravens quickly boosted the clips of Jackson's video conference. You'd think there'd be similar fanfare from the official EA Madden account, but it took about two hours for it to acknowledge the move. Evidently, Jackson and the Ravens actually didn't have the go-ahead for the big reveal.
"When the @Ravens leak your Cover Athlete..." reads a tweet from @EAMaddenNFL, the series' verified account. In a reply, the Madden account also linked to a recent piece from Complex Sports ranking the Twitter accounts of all the NFL teams that put the Ravens at number one. "We disagree," says the Madden account.
USgamer has reached out to EA regarding the announcement but has yet to receive a response. Presumably, EA will make its official rollout for the Madden NFL 21 cover star soon, but with some of the wind taken out of its sails it looks like EA's content to poke fun at the Ravens for rushing things.
If a seemingly botched announcement is the worst that being a Madden cover star has in store for Jackson, he got off easy. With the Kansas City Chiefs' Super Bowl win earlier this year, quarterback and Madden 20 cover star Patrick Mahomes broke the so-called "Madden Curse" that's plagued players in the past. Mahomes was also voted NFL MVP a year before Chiefs' win. "I want that curse," says Jackson, himself the league's latest MVP. "I hope that's a curse."
USG's Editor-in-Chief Kat Bailey decided to skip a review of Madden 20 last year, saying she's "a little tired of writing the same review year after year." Every year there's a chance that the Madden series will shake things up for the better, and with the next-gen consoles on the horizon, hopes may ride a bit higher. But with both widespread game delays and the 2020 NFL season looking uncertain due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it's kind of hard to count on seeing a new Madden this year. At least if we do, we apparently know who'll be on the cover.
Header photo by Shawn Hubbard, team photographer for the Baltimore Ravens.