‘Madden NFL 22’: Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes on video game cover, but inside are new realistic tweaks

The quarterbacks who competed in Super Bowl 2021 are facing off again – on the cover of the upcoming “Madden NFL 22” video game. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Tom Brady and the Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes both appear on the cover of the game, due out Aug. 20 ($69.99, for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/SX; $59.99, for PS4, Xbox One, PCs and Google Stadia). They are the most-recent two Super Bowl MVPs, though Brady won the big game in February.

It’s a rarity for Madden NFL to have two players on the cover, though in 2010, the video game series featured Super Bowl XLIII participants Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals and Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers as co-cover athletes.

Brady and Mahomes have each appeared previously on the Madden NFL cover; Brady in 2018, Mahomes in 2020.

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Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes share in "Madden NFL 22" cover honors after meeting in Super Bowl 55. (Photo: EA Sports)

“We are thrilled to have Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes both back for the ultra-rare dual-player cover. They are two of the greatest QBs in NFL history who have grown with Madden NFL over the years,” said the game’s executive producer Seann Graddy. “Both athletes embody elements of Madden NFL 22 whether that be the challenges of the stadiums and the opponents and dynamic game day or their unique career trajectory in franchise mode.”

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‘Madden NFL 22’ new features

EA Sports is also outfitting the upcoming Madden NFL video game with a roster of new features to add more authenticity to game.

Last year, Madden NFL added real-world player data from NFL Next Gen Stats. For the upcoming season, even more stats will be incorporated, including team-level behaviors. Quarterbacks’ passing choices and ball carrier moves will be more realistic, for instance.

“Stat-driven AI will significantly upgrade player intelligence and team tendencies so that playing single-player games will be as fun and meaningful as playing against human players,” said gameplay producer Clint Oldenburg in a presentation given to journalists during the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3).

Receivers will deliver more accurate sideline foot touches in 'Madden NFL 22,' due out Aug. 20 ($69.99, for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/SX; $59.99, for PS4, Xbox One, PCs and Google Stadia. (Photo: EA Sports)

That’s important because about 80% of Madden NFL games involve single players matched against computer-controlled opponents, Oldenburg said.

Also adding to authenticity is a new momentum meter, which will be viewable on the stadium scoreboard. Teams will have different momentum factors that can be earned based on how you are playing. For instance, as the home team, your offense might recover from fatigue when it gets into the red zone.

Each stadium will also have its own home field advantage that can be triggered as a boost. Crowd noise might make it harder for an opponent to see the projected routes of offensive players before the snap. Stadiums with extreme wind conditions will have a more challenging kick meter.

Team and game day momentum factors are “dynamic and based on the different types of context and environment you are playing in,” Oldenburg said. “They should feel different every time you go into a game.

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Improved stadium atmospheres are coming to 'Madden NFL 22,' due out Aug. 20 ($69.99, for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/SX; $59.99, for PS4, Xbox One, PCs and Google Stadia. (Photo: EA Sports)

Halftime adjustments in Madden 22

Another new addition is halftime adjustments, which allow your team to adapt its game plan based on your opponent’s first half strategy. At halftime, you will get Next Gen Stats data to help you make second half strategy moves, should you choose.

And a new weekly strategy feature lets you assess team tendencies of your upcoming opponent. Team tendencies will evolve all NFL season long, whether in Play Now or Franchise mode, as stats change in the real world or your franchise.

Madden NFL’s software has been improved for more fluid and accurate player movements, too. Quarterbacks like Mahomes will move more smoothly, and receivers will deliver more accurate sideline foot touches, for example. Player sizes and strengths will be factored in even more than in the past so that tackles are more lifelike.

In franchise mode, players will now have four coaching positions to maintain – coach, offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator and player personnel director – providing a role-playing game touch.

“Our goal is to make each game feel fresh with a deeper level of strategy telling unique stories as possibilities unfold with each matchup and unique stadium atmosphere,” Graddy said. 

Also, beginning Thursday, Madden NFL fans can help test the game on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S.

Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.

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