Since 1990, Madden NFL has released an annual football video game that has captivated both football fans and gamers worldwide. Today, the series is one of the most popular video game franchises in all of gaming, and had sold more than 130 million copies worldwide by 2018. Here are five fascinating facts about the Madden NFL video game franchise.
5 Madden NFL Facts
- The original game was set to have only six players, but John Madden himself decided against it. (source) While the first game in the series, John Madden Football (1988) was released until 1982, video game developer Electronic Arts actually first approached John Madden in 1984 about endorsing an NFL game. Technical limitations in gaming at the time only allowed for six players on a team. It was John Madden himself who wanted to wait for the technology to enable full teams, for realism.
- Garrison Hearst was the first ever cover athlete for a Madden NFL game. (source) For the first several years of the franchise, it was John Madden himself who appeared on the game’s cover each year. It was until the release of Madden NFL 1999 back in 1998 that an athlete made the cover. It was San Francisco 49ers running back Garrison Hearst who appeared on the game’s cover, and to date, it’s the only time that a 49ers player has been featured as the cover athlete.
- Despite the first game in the series being released in 1988, NFL players and NFL teams weren’t included until 1993. (source) In the early days of the series, the lack of NFL teams or NFL players disgruntled football fans and gamers alike. In 1993, developer Electronic Arts was able to acquire the rights to use the names of both NFL teams and NFL players, and rebranded the name of the games from John Madden Football to Madden NFL.
- Since 2000, only Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes have appeared as the Madden NFL cover athlete twice. (source) It’s an honor for any NFL player to be chosen as Madden NFL’s cover athlete, but to have it happen twice is a whole new level. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was featured on the cover of Madden NFL 18, with Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes being on the cover for Madden NFL 20. Just two years later, both were featured for Madden NFL 22.
- 1989 was the only year in the series where a Madden game wasn’t released. (source) Following the debut of John Madden Football in 1988, Electronic Arts wouldn’t release the second game in the series until 1990. The release in 1990 was also the series debut on the Amiga, Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo.
Madden NFL continues to be one of the most popular franchises in all of gaming! What’s your favorite team to use when you step onto the field?
Featured image photo credit: BrokenSphere, 2010. Originally found on Wikimedia.org. Image was resized and cropped. Creative Commons 3.0.