EA Sports has announced that New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will be on the cover of ‘Madden NFL 17’:

The choice is certainly no surprise, with Gronk’s play on the field (double-digit touchdowns five of the last six seasons), personality, and off-the-field lifestyle making him one of the most popular players in the league (especially when talking the target audience for selling video games). Heck, just this morning, Gronk announced that he is also on the June cover of GQ Magazine:

Gronk is the first tight end to ever grace the Madden cover, and surprisingly — when you consider Tom Brady and the team’s success over the last 15 years– is the first Patriots player to be on the cover.

As Bryan Wiedley (@PastaPadre) of Sporting News explains, this is the first time since 2009 that EA Sports went ahead and picked the cover athlete on their own, rather than letting a fan vote decide:

This is the first time since 2009 that the cover was selected by publisher EA Sports rather than put to a fan vote. Diminishing returns and social fatigue probably played a role in going away from that, at least for this year, but the company was also able to settle on a player it determined would represent its product the best and may not have been able to get him through a fan-vote competition.

Gronk was the runner-up to New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in the fan vote last year, before going on to have 72 receptions, 1,176 receiving yards, and 11 touchdowns on the 2015 season. So, EA Sports certainly already knew that  fans would be just fine with this choice.

As for the MADDEN CURSE?! Gronk told ESPN that he isn’t worried:

“It’s definitely reversed itself from back in the day,” Gronkowski said. “You have to look at the players that were on it recently. You have Odell, who had an unbelievable year last year. You have Richard Sherman, who went to the Pro Bowl the year he was on it. Calvin Johnson, who broke the receiving record when he was on the cover.

“It’s the present now. It’s the future of the cover. I feel like I’ve already went through all my injuries at that time, so I feel like I’m good. I’m blessed right now to be on it. I feel like everything is going to go smoothly.”

Following the cover reveal, EA Sports also released the first teaser trailer for Madden NFL 17:

A couple of the main features EA Sports is talking up with the latest Madden entry are a renewed focus on franchise mode, and a more authentic defensive A.I. system.

Madden NFL 17 is set for an August 23 release on Playstation 4, XBOX One, Playstation 3, and XBOX 360.

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

He can be followed on Twitter at @Matt2Clapp (also @TheBlogfines for Cubs/MLB tweets and @DaBearNecess for Bears/NFL tweets), and can be reached by email at mclapp@thecomeback.com.

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