Madden Cover Athletes: Where Are They Now?

With Madden 17 right around the corner, let’s take a quick look at what the last ten cover athletes are up to nowadays. Spoiler Alert: One of them is a Soybean farmer. 

Up Next: No-Handed Catches

Madden 16

Odell Beckham Junior – New York Giants WR

OBJ became the youngest player to ever be on the cover of Madden, when he was voted to be the cover athlete after his rookie season, where he broke more than a dozen Giants franchise and NFL Rookie records. The highlight of that season was OBJ’s mid-season one-handed catch against the Cowboys, and many seem to believe Madden took their cover athlete’s famous grab a little too far, as they introduced the “Aggressive Catch” mechanic that same year. Now his third year with the Giants, OBJ is poised to rack up another 1,000+ receiving yard season, and his team is aiming to rise to the top of their dormant division.

Stop. Hammer-time.

Madden 15

Richard Sherman – Seattle Seahawks CB

Sherman was named the cover athlete coming off two dominant seasons, where his team went to back-to-back Superbowls, winning the first and losing the second. Sherman and his Legion of Boom led the league in fewest passing yards allowed both years, and Sherman himself has been seen by many to be a shutdown corner, or, at the very least, a defensive-back quarterbacks avoid. For the upcoming 2016 season, Sherman is looking for his team to take back the NFC West, and remind the league that the Legion of Boom still commands the field on game day.

But what about Madden in 2025?

Madden 14 (25)

Barry Sanders – Detroit Lions RB


Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings RB

Madden’s 14th installment celebrated the franchise’s 25th anniversary, and Barry Sanders was chosen as the cover athlete because HE’S BARRY SANDERS.  Sanders retired in 1999, leaving the NFL with a legacy of 15,269 rushing yards, 99 touchdowns, and multiple records. He was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2004, and now spends his retirement with his four children, and stays busy with a variety of community involvement and charitable projects

Peterson was on the cover of Madden’s PS4 and Xbox One versions, and is currently in his 11th season with the Minnesota Vikings. After being on the cover, Peterson only rushed for 75 yards in the 2014 season, after being indicted on child abuse charges. When he returned in 2015, Peterson lead the league with 1,485 rushing yards, and his team went 11-5 on the season before losing 9-10 in the Wild Card Playoffs. For the upcoming season, Peterson’s production is expected to be just as good as last year, and the Vikings are hopeful that Teddy Bridgewater can stretch the field with Rookie Laquon Treadwell and Sophomore Stefon Diggs, to open up more holes for Peterson.

Eyes on the ball.

Madden 13

Calvin Johnson – Detroit Lions WR

Megatron won the Madden cover vote the same he became the highest-paid NFL receiver, signing  an eight year, $132 million dollar contract that came with $60 million in guarantees. After that, Johnson went on to break a slew of Lion franchise and NFL records, including being the fastest player to 11,000 receiving yards. Johnson announced his retirement just this past March, closing out his nine season career with 11,619 yards and 83 touchdowns.


Madden 12

Peyton Hillis – Cleveland Browns RB

Hillis won the cover vote coming off of his 1,000+ yard and 11 touchdown breakout 2010 season. After that, Hillis became a prime example of the proposed Madden Curse, having a slew of unimpressive games, injuring his hamstring, and, once the Browns let him go into the free agency, getting tossed from team to team, before retiring in 2015. Hillis is now spending his retirement with his wife and three-year-old son, on their 1300-acre soybean farm in Tennessee. Yea, that isn’t a joke, soybeans


Madden 11

Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints QB 

Brees is in his tenth season with the New Orleans Saints, and hasn’t let off the gas since his Superbowl fueled Madden cover. He broke Dan Marino’s season passing yard record in 2011, signed a huge $100 million dollar contract in 2012, and has thrown for 4,800+ yards and 32+ touchdowns every season since. This year, Brees is hoping to bounce back from last year’s 7-9 season, although his team’s defense is still looking a bit shoddy and the Carolina Panthers have no intention of loosening their grasp on the division.

Voted Best Hair Class of 2010

Madden 10

Troy Polamalu – Pittsburgh Steelers SS 


Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona Cardinals WR

Polamalu and his hair rode out their career with grace, commanding Pittsburg’s secondary for four more years after he donned the Madden cover, before retiring in 2014 with career marks of 770 tackles, 32 interceptions, and 3 touchdowns. Polamalu now spends majority of his time watching movies with his family (he’s a huge movie buff apparently), running his Polamalu foundation, and shampooing his locks.

On the other side of the ball, Larry Fitzgerald is in his twelfth season with the Arizona Cardinals, having recently signed a one-year extension with the team through 2017. After the Madden Cover, Fitzgerald has continued to be a terror for opposing defensive backs, regardless of Arizona’s sometime questionable quarterback situation. This season, Fitzgerald expects his team churn out the same high-powered production as their 13-3 run last year. Many expect Arizona’s running back David Johnson to have a huge year on the ground, which will open up Fitzgerald downfield.

Remember that benchpress mini-game?

Madden 09

Brett Favre – Green Bay Packers QB

Favre’s cover photo was a bit confusing, since it showed him in his Packers jersey and he had un-retired and signed with the Jets just before the game’s launch. Turns out that was just the beginning of his roller coaster exit from the league. He played the 2008 season with the Jets, before getting picked up by one of his old team’s biggest rivals, the Minnesota Vikings. He played for Vikings for two years, getting involved in a sexting scandal in the middle of his final year. Brett Favre was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame this August, commemorating his 508 touchdown, 71,838 yard, 20 year career. Favre runs his Brett Favre Fourward Foundation, Favre4Hope, and can be seen on your local television set pitching shaving kits and denim jeans.

Back when Madden and NCAA got along

Madden 08

Vince Young – Tennessee Titans QB

After Young earned the cover for his electric Rookie Year, the rest of his career proved turbulent, due to injury and sporadic locker-room drama. He finished out his last few years in the NFL participating in only practice-squad and offseason roles with the Bills, Packers, and Browns. Nowadays, Young hosts his Vince Young camp in Texas, and is active on the University of Texas campus supporting various programs involving low-income and first-generation students.

Who else misses picking parents to create a superstar?

Madden 07

Shaun Alexander – Seattle Seahawks RB

After landing on the cover of Madden 07, Alexander broke his foot the third week of the 2006 season, seemingly succumbing to the Madden Curse, but eventually trucked his way through two more seasons, one more with the Seahawks and a final short-lived season with the Redskins. According to his official website, he now spends his retirement quietly with friends and family, but is an active spokesperson and member of groups like, the National Center for Fathering, The Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Rescue Freedom.

Seems like after being the Madden Cover Athlete you either get injured and tank your career, or play long enough to take your endorsement money and run. Are you buying Madden 17? Skipping this years release? Waiting for 2k to get their hands of the NFL license? Or are you waiting for your Soy Bean business to take off? Let’s start a discussion in the comments down below!

Author: Alex McNeal

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