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Bills QB Allen announced as Madden NFL 24 cover athlete

Timothy T Ludwig / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen will be featured on the cover of Madden NFL 24, EA Sports announced Wednesday.

It's Allen's first time on the cover. The 27-year-old is also the first Bills player to receive the honor.

Allen led the Bills to a 13-3 record in 2022 while throwing for 4,283 yards, 35 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. The dual-threat QB added 762 rushing yards and seven scores on 124 carries. He earned his second Pro Bowl selection and finished third in MVP voting.

"It's such a small group of people who have ever touched the face of Madden, so now to be on that list, it's very surreal," Allen said, according to ESPN's Michael Rothstein. "It's very humbling to think about where I was not too long ago and coming out of high school with zero offers, going to junior college and have one offer, University of Wyoming of all places, and then fast-forward to now."

The Bills signal-caller hopes he'll be ranked among the elite players at his position when the game launches.

"I'm hoping it's above 92. I would assume it's going to be, but you never know," Allen said. "I'm an honest man. I'm a realistic man. I'm a logical man, and I think it's going to be a little bit above 92, but until I get to that 99 club, I'll be working hard."

The first iteration of the video game franchise was released in 1988 as "John Madden Football," with Hall of Fame coach John Madden on the game's cover. The legendary coach and announcer graced the cover for each yearly iteration through Madden NFL 2000.

Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George was the first player to represent the game as a cover athlete on Madden NFL 2001. It's been a yearly tradition for an NFL player to be featured on the cover ever since.

Madden NFL 10 (Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu and Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald) and Madden NFL 22 (Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Tampa Bay Buccaneers signal-caller Tom Brady) broke this standard when each featured two players as co-cover athletes.

John Madden returned to the cover for Madden NFL 23, with EA Sports honoring the icon after he died in December 2021.

Offensive players, namely quarterbacks, have been featured far more frequently than defenders. Only Madden NFL 2005 (Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis), Madden NFL 10 (Polamalu), and Madden NFL 15 (Seattle Seahawks corner Richard Sherman) have spotlighted defensive players.

The cover athlete selection process has varied over the years. EA Sports will often select who receives the recognition internally, but the video game giant has also allowed fans to vote for who would be on the cover some years.

Despite selling millions of copies each year, a large segment of the fanbase has been disappointed with recent releases. The last version of the game to receive a fan Metacritic score better than 2.0 out of 10 was the Xbox One edition of Madden NFL 19, which garnered a 3.0 user score.

Madden NFL 24 is scheduled to release on Aug. 18 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows.

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