EA Sports will celebrate the 25th anniversary of its iconic video game by placing Barry Sanders on the cover of Madden 25.
In some ways, it's difficult to believe this franchise has been around for 25 years. Then again, I can't even remember what life was like without Madden. What did I do with all my free time?
For this final showdown, voters were forced to decide between one of the most exciting players in sports history in Sanders, and the reigning NFL MVP in Peterson.
Sanders' win aside, it has been a productive 25 years for this franchise. The hold this game has on the public is evident in many ways, not the least of which is the kind of reaction the announcement that Sanders would be on the cover drew on Twitter.
In honor of the announcement being made on their show, ESPN's SportsNation tweeted a sneak peak at the cover:
Here it is, your @EAMaddenNFL Cover Winner: @BarrySanders! http://t.co/SOjGN7FIuv2013-4-25 00:59:44
How popular is the Madden vote? Sports Business Journal's Eric Fisher gives us a glimpse with the rising total of votes for the cover.
Eric Fisher @EricFisherSBJ
Madden cover vote this year drew 40 million votes, more than 2X last year and more than 3X two years ago.2013-4-25 00:04:16
While this vote was a tough choice, it turns out that the appeal of having a legend on the cover was too much for fans to resist. Michigan Sports News tweeted the results:
Michigan Sports Guy @SportingNewsMI
Barry Sanders wins Madden cover vote. Sanders beat Adrian Peterson with 58 percent of the finals vote. http://t.co/PBkogSZ0Gf2013-4-25 01:04:12
Meanwhile, the Lions and their fans haven't had a lot of football success to celebrate, but they do have the honor of being the home for the past two Madden cover winners. Anthony Ianni celebrates that with this tweet:
Anthony Ianni @AI44LYD
Back 2 Back yrs the Lions have had the Madden cover!! Congrats @BarrySanders #greatestofalltime2013-4-25 01:02:16
In case you're wondering if this has ever happened before, ESPN's Darren Rovell has the answer:
Darren Rovell @darrenrovell
1st time in Madden history that players of the same team (Lions) were on the cover in back to back years (H/T @CJ_Matson)2013-4-25 01:06:42
The Lions' diametrically opposed fortunes on the real field as opposed to the virtual one did not go unnoticed.
NFL Retweet sums it up well here:
NFL Retweet @NFLRT
The Lions can't win a playoff game, but they can win the Madden Cover back-to-back years. #MaddenCursed2013-4-25 01:14:34
While there were undoubtedly a legion of Vikings fan pulling for Adrian Peterson to get this nod, don't expect every fan to be hanging his or her head—for reasons explained in this tweet:
Glad to see that Adrian Peterson is NOT on the madden cover ... We don't need that madden curse2013-4-25 01:06:58
Barry #Sanders has snagged the cover of Electronic Arts pro football video game #Madden 25 in a fan vote. How does the curse work with this?2013-4-25 01:26:28
Meanwhile, the results of this vote speak to the epic career of Barry Sanders. His mythical status is only growing after his premature retirement.
Assistant basketball coach at Marian Marcus Wiegert points that out here:
Marcus Wiegert @CoachWiegs
Barry Sanders on the cover of Madden. Crazy! He has basically disappeared since retiring and still getting love! #madden #shakeshakeshake2013-4-25 01:17:03
I'm delighted to see Sanders on the cover, if for no other reason than that it has been an excuse to watch his jaw-dropping highlights. So, here's to wishing that Sanders enjoys a healthy year as the face of Madden!