Lamar Jackson will be the latest NFL MVP to be on the cover of the EA Sports Madden NFL franchise series, as the Baltimore Ravens quarterback announced he'll be the cover athlete of Madden NFL 21. Jackson will be the second Ravens player to be on the Madden cover, as Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis graced the cover of Madden NFL 2005.
"It's always been a dream of mine since I was a little kid," Jackson said in a conference call with reporters. "It's dope. For me to be on the front...it's a dream come true. That's what the cover is for, the kids around here (Baltimore), where I'm from, stuff like that. It's pretty cool."
Jackson is on the same career path of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes -- in a sense. Mahomes won league MVP his second year (like Jackson) and was the Madden cover athlete last season. The Chiefs quarterback bucked the trend of the infamous "Madden Curse" by winning Super Bowl MVP honors as the Chiefs won their first title in 50 years.
"I'm not worried about a curse," Jackson said with a laugh. "Patrick Mahomes was on the front and he also won a MVP, so I hope that's the curse. I'd love to follow Mahomes' path of MVP, then Super Bowl. That'd be a great path to follow right now."
Jackson had a historic season for the Ravens in 2019, becoming the first quarterback to throw for over 3,000 yards and rush for over 1,000 yards in a single season; Jackson also had the most rush yards by a QB in a season in NFL history (1,206), leading the league with 6.9 yards per carry and finishing with seven touchdowns. Jackson completed 66.1 percent of his passes for 3,127 yards, 36 touchdowns and six interceptions for a 113.3 passer rating. He led the NFL in touchdown passes and touchdown percentage (9.0) and his 43 total touchdowns led the league.
Jackson led the Ravens to a 14-2 regular season and the No. 1 seed in the AFC as Baltimore became just the seventh team in NFL history with multiple 1,000+ yard rushers (Jackson, Mark Ingram II). The Ravens set the NFL record for rushing yards in a season with 3,296 and Baltimore became the first team to pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 3,000 yards in a season.
Jackson was the AFC Offensive Player of the Week five times and was the AFC's Offensive Player of the Month for November. In the final eight games he played in the regular season, Jackson completed 69.4 percent of his passes for 1,477 yards, 25 touchdowns and just one interception. He also had 630 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns.
With how dominant Jackson was in 2019, it wouldn't be a surprise if Madden had his attributes similar to Mike Vick in Madden NFL 2004. Obviously the video game dynasty has evolved since, but playing as Jackson will be a popular pick in the next installment of the series.