Patrick Mahomes became the latest victim of Tom Brady's greatness during February's Super Bowl, but the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback can take solace in one thing regarding No. 12.
He'd be Brady's first choice if the all-time great couldn't control the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when sitting down to play a game of Madden.
"I'm taking Mahomes and [Travis] Kelce and Tyreek Hill and the Chiefs," Brady told Bleacher Report when asked which team he would choose instead in Madden NFL 22. "If I can't play with my team, I'm playing with them because they've got an explosive offense, and there's nothing that a quarterback likes more than explosive offensive players."
If throwing to explosive offensive players is on top of a quarterback's wish list, sharing the cover of Madden NFL 22 with a fellow superstar probably isn't far behind.
Brady and Mahomes will grace the cover together across all editions and Madden NFL Mobile when it is released Aug. 20. It is the first time the popular video game franchise has used a dual athlete cover since Troy Polamalu and Larry Fitzgerald featured on the cover of Madden NFL 10. As is the case with the two quarterbacks, that came after their teams met up in the Super Bowl.
This cover also means Brady and Mahomes are the first players to be featured stars on a Madden cover more than once in their careers. Barry Sanders was on the cover of Madden NFL 25: 1989-2014 but just in the background on Madden NFL 2000.
Cover stars should be unbeatable at the game, right?
Well, that may not be the case anymore for the 43-year-old Brady, who prefers to keep things simpler when he hits the virtual gridiron.
"When I was younger, they were obviously a lot better," he said of his Madden skills. "As the game's gotten more complex and the younger generation has spent more time on it than me, it's not even a fair competition anymore. I love playing, a lot of times I just look for the deep guys to throw to and try to throw bombs and posts and go routes. It's such a detailed game now, there's so many defenses and strategies and it's so lifelike."
This year's game will be even more lifelike, as Madden NFL 22 will unleash brand-new dynamic gameplay features through Gameday Atmosphere, Gameday Momentum and Next Gen Stats: Star-Driven AI.
Gamers will experience new on-field reactions, player personas and animations as part of Gameday Atmosphere; specific home-field advantage tailored to individual stadiums with a new Gameday Momentum meter; and updated player actions and team tendencies through the Next Gen Stats: Star-Driven AI that relies on dynamic real-world data.
Madden NFL 22 will also include an updated Face of the Franchise: United We Rise mode that allows players to create their story as a linebacker for the first time for more defensive-minded gamers who do not want to be limited to the quarterback, wide receiver and running back positions.
The Yard will also feature new locations, new celebrations and new gear, as well as a new ranked mode that allows players to earn additional rewards as they progress.
Playing against some of the top gamers in such a mode might be more difficult than it sounds. Just ask Brady himself.
"For the people who are really good at it—and there's a lot of NFL guys who play a lot more than me—they're tough to beat," he said. "My kids already beat me, and I'm never going to catch up to them."
Brady may be playing from behind when it comes to Madden, but nobody in NFL history may catch up to his on-field accomplishments. He just added his seventh Super Bowl title—which is more than any single franchise has—to a resume that includes three league MVPs and 14 Pro Bowl selections.
The Buccaneers ended their championship run with eight straight wins and will become the first team in the NFL's salary cap era to return every Super Bowl starter, but Brady knows that doesn't guarantee anything for the upcoming season.
"Having all the guys come back is really an amazing thing. I don't think that's ever happened for the times I've been in this situation," he said. "I think what we've realized is that it's a totally new year. And there's going to be a lot of new challenges. We don't even know what those challenges are going to be yet.
"There's so many things that are unpredictable about NFL football. There's teams that are going to surprise everybody, there's teams that people think are going to be good and they're not going to be good. In the NFL, everyone has the goal that, 'Oh, this is going to be our year.' You see it every year, 32 teams at the beginning of the season are talking about all the different things they are going to accomplish, and by early November, teams are already playing for the next season. It's a very unpredictable thing, it's a very unpredictable sport."
One thing is for sure, even if the actual season is unpredictable. The Buccaneers will be one of the most unstoppable teams players can control in Madden NFL 22 with one of the cover stars leading the same offense that won the Super Bowl.