The Atlanta Falcons need another Madden cover superstar.
Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick graced the cover of the game in 2004 and he is arguably the most dominant player of a video game in sports history.
The Falcons aren’t known for having too many divas on their roster or even players with strong personalities. Warrick Dunn was a community man, Matt Ryan is about as vanilla as they come off the field and Julio Jones is lauded for skipping the antics that other guys bring to the field with them.
In fact, Roddy White may have been the most dynamic player in terms of personality the Falcons have had since Deion Sanders.
(We aren’t even going to count Takk McKinley because the player was so ineffective. He did run his mouth but his production doesn’t qualify for this conversation.)
It’s clear the NFL is becoming a superstar-type league.
It’s still not quite the same as the NBA where every year one of the best players in the league is in the Finals. But look at who the past few Super Bowls have featured. Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, heck even Russell Wilson (aided by the Legion of Boom), Von Miller, and Cam Newton. These are all stars that at some point were the brief or lasting face of the league.
It’s no surprise then that the past few Madden covers have featured Brady, Mahomes, Antonio Brown, and Gronk. Who, you guessed it, were all in the Super Bowl this year. In fact, going back to 2014 only two cover athletes have yet to make a Super Bowl appearance – OBJ and Lamar Jackson.
Who is that guy for the Falcons? Matt Ryan’s window has passed and with the emergence of young stars at the receiver position, it likely won’t be Julio Jones before he calls it quits. Unfortunately, the Falcons as a defense have been so bad guys like Grady Jarrett and Deion Jones won’t get a fair shot.
The Atlanta Falcons need to find their Madden cover player. Someone who can make a difference on the field and has some swagger off of it. A superstar if you will. Right now, Calvin Ridley and Jones are probably their best shots at getting there. But who knows how long Ridley will be in a Falcons uniform.
The team doesn’t have the cap space to make that splash in free agency, even if they do land a JJ Watt. But it should be something in the back of their mind heading into the draft. Find the next superstar who people want to see and can lead them to the promised land.
Seventeen years without a Madden cover and 55 without a championship is way too long.