Many NFL stars dream about it. Fans are obsessed with it. Who will it be? Does he deserve it? Is the honor cursed?
We are, of course, talking about the Madden football video game cover.
This is a feat reserved exclusively for superstars. Tom Brady, Antonio Brown, Rob Gronkowski, Odell Beckham Jr., Richard Sherman, Adrian Peterson, Calvin Johnson, Barry Sanders, and many, many more huge names have graced the cover in the past.
The question we’re left to ask in advance of the next edition of the game: Should the Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson be the next chosen superstar to make the cut?
In a vacuum, the answer is “Heck yes!” Jackson is not only an NFL MVP but a unanimous MVP. And while the Ravens sputtered during their playoff run at the end of his sophomore season, he has shown more versatility than most quarterbacks in NFL history.
Make a list of the players from years and eras past who could run like Jackson and throw like Jackson. He is a threat to get downfield with both his legs and his arms. He’s even shown some situational blocking.
His football IQ, meanwhile, is through the roof. He doesn’t throw a ton of interceptions, he knows how to escape traffic when his offensive line collapses, and he has a knack for threading needles through tight coverage in the secondary.
Some people have compared him to Michael Vick. He’s not Michael Vick. Jackson is better. Much better. The NFL has never seen anyone like him.
If we’re going strictly by merit, no one else should get the Madden Cover over Jackson. This isn’t a Robert Griffin III situation, in which we might be overreacting to his rise to stardom. Jackson is elite, and he’s going to remain elite.
Only one player really has a semi-strong case against LJ: Patrick Mahomes, the quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs. He, too, is an MVP—someone who has a best-player-in-the-league ceiling. His argument for the Madden cover is further buoyed by the fact that he has a Super Bowl victory to his name. Jackson hasn’t hit that height so far, though it should be noted that he also hasn’t been in the league as long.
Regardless, it is impossible to go wrong when choosing between Mahomes and Jackson. If we’re going strictly off who had the better individual year last season, though, it isn’t much of a question. Jackson should be the guy.