The upcoming edition of the Madden NFL series will be called "Madden NFL 25" in honor of the 25th anniversary of the video game series.
On Thursday, EA Sports announced a release date of Aug. 27. It's the first game in the series not to be titled by year name since "Madden Football 64" in 1997. Fan voting will once again determine the cover athlete, but this year, with a twist: starting March 11, a field of 32 current players will be pitted in a tourney against 32 legends, to commemorate the history of the series. (Perhaps featuring already retired players on the cover will end the idea of the "Madden curse" leading to injured cover athletes.)
It's hard to believe, but the Madden NFL series is actually 25 years old. John Madden himself has fallen out of the spotlight -- now 78, he hasn't announced games since 2009 -- but the Hall of Fame coach has been immortalized by the video game series. The first edition, John Madden Football, came out in 1988 for MS-DOS, as a spinoff to the popular "Earl Weaver Baseball" title that EA had come out with. By 1993, it had an NFL license and could use real names of players and teams. In 1999, it was putting players on the cover instead of just Madden himself, and now, it's developed into the best-selling American sports video game franchise in history.