Tom Brady named 'Madden NFL 18' cover athlete

By Alex Butler  |  May 12, 2017 at 9:54 AM
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May 12 (UPI) -- For the second straight year, the New England Patriots have the cover athlete on Madden. On Friday, EA Sports officially announced that Tom Brady will front Madden NFL 18.

"The Madden NFL 18 cover is a great honor for me," Brady said in a release from EA. "Especially since I have been playing the game since growing up next to EA headquarters in the Bay Area. I'm not one to believe in curses, so I'm ready to take the challenge head on like always! It doesn't stand a chance!!!"

The game launches worldwide Aug. 25. A new mode for the game and other details are expected to be announced on June 10 at EA Play.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski was on the cover of Madden NFL 17.

Madden NFL 18 is the first edition of the game powered by EA's exclusive Frostbite engine. It will also be the first time in Madden history that teammates have been on the cover in back-to-back years.

The G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) Edition of the game is available for preorder Friday. It gives fans the standard edition of the game and also three-day early access to the full game. The G.O.A.T. Edition also gives users one of five G.O.A.T. players of their choice on Ultimate Team mode and more.

EA Madden NFL teased the cover on Wednesday, posting a partial photo featuring a player carrying a gray and wearing a gray outfit.

Since featuring John Madden on its cover throughout the 90s, Madden has featured 19 different athletes. Its first cover athlete was Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George in 2001.

Since then, Daunte Culpepper, Marshall Faulk, Michael Vick, Ray Lewis, Donovan McNabb, Shaun Alexander, Vince Young, Brett Favre, Troy Polamalu, Larry Fitzgerald, Drew Brees, Peyton Hillis, Calvin Johnson, Barry Sanders, Richard Sherman, Odell Beckham, in addition to Brady and Gronkowski have graced the cover.

"We inquired with Tom Brady last year, and from that moment on, he was passionate about the Madden brand and our partnership strengthened from there," said Josh Rabenovets, senior director of Global Product Marketing at Electronic Arts. "It helped that he grew up playing Madden, so he had a personal connection to the brand."

"Tom has always been in the consideration set for the Madden cover athlete, but for a variety of reasons it didn't come together, including multiple years of a fan vote. Sometimes timing is everything and we couldn't be more excited to have the five-time Super Bowl champion grace the cover of Madden NFL 18."

Rabenovets said the so-called "Madden Curse" does not "impact EA's relation with NFL players whatsoever."

Brady was ranked No. 2 on the NFL's top 100 players for 2016. The top half of the 2017 list has yet to be released. He ranked No. 3 in 2015 and 2014 and No. 4 in 2013 and 2012. Brady topped the list in its first year in 2011. The lists are voted on by NFL players.

"Tom Terrific" is arguably the greatest quarterback of all-time. The 39-year-old is entering his 18th season on the heels of his fifth Lombardi Trophy. Brady is also a two-time NFL MVP, two-time All-Pro and 12-time Pro Bowl selection.

After notoriously being picked in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft out of Michigan, Brady teamed up with Bill Belichick to form one of the greatest dynasties in NFL history.

EA announced pre-order offers for two editions of Madden NFL 18. Fans who pre-order the standard edition will get benefits including: the choice of an Elite player from their favorite NFL squad to use in Ultimate Team mode, and five squad packs, which can be redeemed at the launch date.

G.O.A.T. Edition owners can begin playing their seasons on Tuesday, Aug. 22. EA Access members can play for up to 10 hours starting on Aug. 17 with the EA Access Play First Trial.

"This year will offer a Madden like you've never seen before," Rabenovets said. "It starts with Frostbite, Electronic Art's state-of-the-art engine that powers many of our world-class games including Star Wars Battlefront, Battlefield 1 and FIFA 17. For Madden NFL 18, this means the spectacle of NFL game day will now come to live in our most photorealistic Madden to date. There is much more to Madden NFL 18 from a brand-new mode to new ways to play, all of which is set to debut June 10 at EA PLAY."

Madden NFL 18 is available for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

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