There was little surprise when the Madden 23 cover was revealed as a tribute to John Madden following his passing late last year.
Now, the Madden 23 cover artist has spoken out about how the three unique John Madden covers came together.
Madden 23 cover artist speaks about his John Madden tribute covers
When news broke that the Madden 23 cover athlete would be the namesake of the entire gaming franchise, there was almost unanimous praise about the move.
EA unveiled three unique Madden 23 covers earlier this month representing different stages of John Madden's lengthy career, but now we've learned more about the process of creating them.
Philadelphia based artist Chuck Styles, a staple of sports art who also worked on Topps' Project70, recently spoke to Philly Voice about how these covers came to be.
When initially contacted by EA, Styles had to sign an NDA before even being informed of the reason they were interested in working with him.
Once he was outright told they wanted him to do the Madden 23 cover, Styles said he "needed like a 20-minue break just even before [he] responded" because of how blown away the opportunity was.
He'd already planned to do a tribute to John Madden, but this opportunity allowed Styles to make an even more lasting impact as he paired up with longtime EA partnered design agency Cinco, which has worked on branding before for EA titles.
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John Madden's vast legacy honored with each of the three Madden 23 covers
Together, Chuck Styles and design agency Cinco collaborated on each of these unique Madden 23 covers representing different parts of his lasting legacy.
On the left in the image below, the new gen (PS5 & Xbox Series X|S) Madden 23 Standard Edition cover features the iconic image of Madden raised above his players' shoulders after winning the Super Bowl in 1977.
In the middle image with the past gen (Xbox One, PS4, PC) Madden 23 Standard Edition cover, the legacy of John Madden the broadcaster took center stage.
Finally, in the far-right image above the Madden 23 All Madden Edition cover celebrates the far-reaching impacts of John Madden in uniting sports and video games.
As Styles explained, Cinco "were the ones that actually had the idea of highlighting the 1988 cover," as many fans likely noticed the All Madden Edition is very reminiscent of the first-ever John Madden Football cover from well over three decades ago.
"They wanted my artistic interpretation, highlighting Coach Madden, remixing that cover in a sense," Styles explained. "They paid attention, EA and Cinco. Their attention to detail as far as paying attention to my work, they've seen that I use a lot of gestural lines, a lot of bright colors... They saw that resembled the way Coach did his play lines when going through some of the plays and they were just like 'Aw man, he's perfect for the job!'"
At the reveal for the cover, Styles talked about his memories of playing Madden games with other kids when he was younger as his work now becomes a part of that legacy.
Chuck Styles also confirmed something that may not be a surprise to many as the choice of John Madden was essentially universal with basically everyone at EA and Cinco in agreement he was the only option this year.
Madden 23 is still a few months away from launch, but we've got more details here about the new features coming this year as revealed in the closed beta.
For more articles like this, take a look at our Madden page.