The legend lives -- and plays -- on!
John Madden -- a Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach of the Raiders, legendary NFL color analyst and namesake of one the highest-selling sports video games of all time -- is returning to the cover of Madden NFL 23 for the first time in more than two decades, EA Sports announced on Wednesday.
Three unique Madden NFL 23 covers will pay tribute to different chapters in Madden's life.
The announcement comes on June 1 -- #MaddenDay -- which is the anniversary of the first launch of John Madden Football on June 1, 1988. In addition to the cover reveal, Electronic Arts announced an update on the $5 million John Madden Legacy Commitment to Education and the dedication of a field to honor Madden.
Of the three Madden covers, one features artwork from Chuck Styles, who's responsible for the Madden 23 All Madden Edition.
"As someone who grew up loving football, playing in the suburbs of West Philly, it's a full circle moment to now be able to contribute to the culture of the sport by honoring an icon like John Madden, who has influenced generations of football fans through his passion for football and unmistakable energy, through my art," Styles said in a statement.
Gameplay innovations featured on Madden are set to be revealed beginning Thursday and through the coming weeks. One major introduction already known is that the first interactive experience will showcase two versions of coach Madden leading teams of "All Madden" players against each other in the 1970s Oakland Coliseum. In continuing with the theme of looking back while striving forward with updates and renovations, the voice of Madden will be back in the game thanks to remastered audio.
EA also announced Wednesday the commitment of $2.5 million from the John Madden Legacy Commitment to Education to support programming for the next five years to College Track, Mission Bit, StreetCode Academy and Girls Who Code. The remaining $2.5 million from the Madden legacy commitment will be devoted to the creation of the EA Madden Scholarship in partnership with the United Negro College Fund.
"Coach Madden was a lifelong believer in the importance of education," EA Sports executive vice president and general manager Cam Weber said in a statement, "and we're privileged to support these amazing organizations that are creating opportunities for the next generation to pursue their dreams in his honor."
Thursday also marked the official dedication of "John Madden Field" at EA's headquarters in Redwood City, California. The renovated and rechristened field will be opened by EA CEO Andrew Wilson, Madden NFL executive producer Seann Graddy, members of the Madden family and a gathering of EA employees. Four Bay Area youth flag football teams from NFL Flag will also be welcomed to play on the new field.
Madden will be honored in a variety of other ways in Madden NFL 23, which will be announced by EA Sports in the coming weeks.