Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders will be the cover athlete for Madden NFL 25. Sanders beat out Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson in a final cover vote by Madden fans.

To determine the cover athlete, EA held a 64-player tournament. One bracket was composed of retired greats, while the other was made up of current players. Fans then voted online on each matchup. Sanders beat out Ray Lewis, Marcus Allen, Joe Montana and Jerry Rice in previous rounds of the tournament.

Barry Sanders appears to be the first athlete to ever appear on back-to-back EA Sports game covers. He was featured on the NCAA Football 13 box along with RG3. He won those honors due to fan voting as well.

It's fitting that a running back is on the game's cover, because Madden 25 is said to focus on improving the ball carrier experience. EA promises better run blocking, stumble recovery controlled by the user, and more natural direction changing. Truck and stiff-arm moves have been completely redesigned as well.

The defensive side of the ball is getting some improvements as well. Defenders can make hard cuts to quickly change position. The Hit Stick and dive tackles have been both reworked as well. There's also some mention of "heat-seeker tackling," which sounds a bit terrifying.

Madden NFL 25 will launch on August 27th on the Xbox 360 and PS3. If you pre-order through GameStop, you'll receive a free San Francisco 49ers Franchise Pack. This DLC unlocks Eddie DeBartolo Jr., Bill Walsh and Joe Montana for use in the Connected Franchise or Madden Ultimate Team modes.

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