Madden NFL Covers - A Complete Visual History

Madden NFL Covers – A Complete Visual History

When we talk about famous video game franchises, characters like Mario, Donkey Kong, Pac-Man and Sonic the Hedgehog often come to mind. For a lot of gamers, though, John Madden is the biggest icon in the industry, at least within the realm of sports games. Since 1988, the franchise has sold billions of dollars worth of games. And just like the game has evolved, so too have the Madden NFL covers.

The first video game featuring the iconic football personality came out in 1988, primarily for computers running MS-DOS. The second version of John Madden Football, which arrived in 1990, was the first for consoles, running on the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis platforms.

For more than two decades, the graphics and gameplay have continued to improve. While they started out as primitive pixels, it is now more lifelike than ever.

Order Madden NFL 18 on Amazon

Over the years, Madden NFL covers have changed as well. Until 2000, John Madden figured prominently on the game fronts. It is worth noting that some of the early PAL versions of the game that were distributed primarily in Europe had players on them.

Beginning in 2000, the overall focus shifted to NFL stars. Brett Favre, Drew Brees and Marshall Faulk are some of the bigger names to appear on Madden NFL covers. Others, though, haven't fared so well. Vince Young and Peyton Hillis, who was a surprise vote-in choice for Madden NFL 12, come to mind. And there is also that pesky curse that is rumored to plague the cover athletes.

Recent Madden NFL Video Games and Figures

Among the newer editions, Madden NFL 16 shows Odell Beckham Jr.'s instant-classic, one-handed grab. Madden NFL 17 goes with the Gronk and a ferocious football slam. The notorious playboy and all-world tight end, Rob Gronkowski is one of the most well-known players in the NFL. He is also the first tight end to ever grace the cover of the game.

Up next in 2017, the Madden NFL 18 cover opts for the man, the myth, the legend: Mr. Tom Brady. While the primary cover star has not been announced for Madden NFL 19, recent HOF inductee Terrell Owens graces the Hall of Fame Edition. Based on info from EA, the main cover will not feature Owens.

Similar to Madden 17 and Madden 18, there is also a figure collectible associated with the 2017 version. McFarlane Madden NFL 19 Ultimate Team offers a line of seven-inch figures that come with in-game codes for Madden NFL 19.

McFarlane Madden NFL 19

With the gallery below, you can see not only how Madden NFL covers have evolved over the years, but the systems as well.

Madden NFL Covers Through the Years Gallery

Click on the listings or images to shop available games on Amazon. 

1988 - John Madden Football

Main Systems: PC

1990 - John Madden Football

Main Systems: Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo

1991 - John Madden Football II

Main Systems: PC

1991 - John Madden Football '92

Main Systems: Sega Genesis

1992 - John Madden Football '93

Main Systems: Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo

1993 - Madden NFL '94

Main Systems: Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo

1994 - Madden NFL 95

Main Systems: Game Boy, Game Gear, Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo

1995 - Madden NFL 96

Main Systems: Game Boy, Game Gear, PC, Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo

1996 - Madden NFL 97

Main Systems: Game Boy, PC, PlayStation, Sega Genesis, Sega Saturn, Super Nintendo

1997 - Madden NFL 98, Madden NFL 64

Main Systems: Game Boy, PC, PlayStation, Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64 (NFL 64 only)

1998 - Madden NFL 99

Main Systems: Nintendo 64, PC, PlayStation

1999 - Madden NFL 2000

Main Systems: Game Boy Color, Mac, Nintendo 64, PC, PlayStation
On the Cover: Barry Sanders (Background)

2000 - Madden NFL 2001

Main Systems: Game Boy Color, Nintendo 64, PC, PlayStation, PlayStation 2
On the Cover: Eddie George

2001 - Madden NFL 2002

Main Systems: Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Color, Nintendo 64, Nintendo Game Cube, PC, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Xbox
On the Cover: Dante Culpepper

2002 - Madden NFL 2003

Main Systems: Game Boy Advance, Nintendo Game Cube, PC, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Xbox
On the Cover: Marshall Faulk

2003 - Madden NFL 2004

Main Systems: Game Boy Advance, Nintendo Game Cube, PC, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Xbox
On the Cover: Michael Vick

2004 - Madden NFL 2005

Main Systems: Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Game Cube, PC, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Xbox
On the Cover: Ray Lewis

2005 - Madden NFL 06

Main Systems: Game Boy Advance, Nintendo Game Cube, PC, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Xbox
On the Cover: Donovan McNabb

2006 - Madden NFL 07

Main Systems: Game Boy Advance, PC, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Game Cube, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PSP, Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360
On the Cover: Shaun Alexander

2007 - Madden NFL 08

Main Systems: Mac, PC, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Game Cube, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PSP, Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360
On the Cover: Vince Young

2008 - Madden NFL 09

Madden NFL 09

Main Systems: Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PSP, Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360
On the Cover: Brett Favre

2009 - Madden NFL 10

Madden NFL Covers - Madden NFL 10 PS3

Main Systems: PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PSP, Wii, Xbox 360
On the Cover: Troy Polamalu, Larry Fitzgerald

2010 - Madden NFL 11

Main Systems: Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PSP, Wii, Xbox 360
On the Cover: Drew Brees

2011 - Madden NFL 12

Madden NFL Covers - Madden NFL 12 Xbox 360

Main Systems: PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PSP, Wii, Xbox 360
On the Cover: Peyton Hillis

2012 - Madden NFL 13

Madden NFL Covers - Madden NFL 13 Xbox 360

Main Systems: PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360
On the Cover: Calvin Johnson

2013 - Madden NFL 25: 1989 to 2014

Madden NFL 25 Cover - XBOX

Main Systems: PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360
On the Cover: Barry Sanders

2014 - Madden NFL 15

Madden 15 XBox360

Main Systems: PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
On the Cover: Richard Sherman

2015 - Madden NFL 16

Madden 16 PS4

Main Systems: PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
On the Cover: Odell Beckham Jr.

2016 - Madden NFL 17

2016 Madden 17 NFL XBOX ONE

Main Systems: PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
On the Cover: Rob Gronkowski

2017 - Madden NFL 18

Standard - Buy on Amazon

G.O.A.T. Edition - Buy on Amazon

Main Systems: PS4, Xbox One
On the Cover: Tom Brady

2018 - Madden NFL 19

Standard  -  TBA

Releases August 10

Hall of Fame Edition - Terrell Owens

Releases August 7

Main Systems: PS4, Xbox One
On the Cover:  Main - TBA; HOF - Terrell Owens

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Ryan Cracknell

E-Mail Author | 
Ryan is a former member of The Cardboard Connection Writing Staff.   His collecting origins began with winter bike rides to the corner store, tossing a couple of quarters onto the counter and peddling home with a couple packs of O-Pee-Chee hockey in his pocket. Today, he continues to build sets, go after inserts with cool technologies, chase Montreal Expos and finish off his John Jaha master collection.

User Comments

  1. the madden cover is all wrong,they messed up because one of the nfl games are missing nfl players which is madden nfl 12,madden 13 and 25 ruines the game series,i say madden 10 the best one guys.madden 25 sucked,it shouldn’t been called that,who ever voted for the cover is a jerky idiot that didn’t deserve to vote on the cover of next years cover before we ha another mishappening ,the wrong by mistake the nfl is saying putting detriot lion three times on cover which is wrong and saying here go picking the right choice tommy maddox is the one that shold have been on the cover,they did a mistake putting detroit lions back to back cover votes is kind of lame putting adrain peter eaterson ,dumb covervote you ask me? don’t buy madden 25, buy madden 1998 for playstation

  2. It’s nice to be able to look back and see the covers and think of things and how far we have come!!

  3. Great Article!

    My Favorite Madden and Cover has to 2005. The introduction of the HIT STICK!

  4. Peyton Manning should be on the new cover madden 17 he is retired now and never been on the cover

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