At just 22 years old, New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. became the youngest cover athlete of EA SPORTS' Madden NFL series. He will grace the cover of the Madden NFL 16 edition.
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. has been voted as the cover athlete of EA SPORTS' Madden NFL 16.
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EA SPORTS issued a press release on its official website on May 13 saying Beckham edged New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski for the honor:
"New York Giants Pro Bowl wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. defeated Rob Gronkowski to be named the cover athlete of Madden NFL 16.
"Over the past two weeks, fans have voted via Madden Ultimate Team, Madden NFL Mobile and ESPN.com culminating with Beckham being revealed as the victor during a special segment on SportsCenter.
"Beckham joins an exclusive fraternity of cover athletes comprised of some of the greatest NFL playmakers of all time.
"Beckam is one of the NFL's most explosive playmakers, highlighting an exceptional rookie season with an electrifying one-handed catch against the Dallas Cowboys in primetime.
"In his rookie season, Beckham broke out with over 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns, despite playing in only 12 games."
Among the other contenders for the Madden NFL 16 cover athlete were Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown and Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson, per ESPN New York's Dan Graziano.
Graziano stresses the 22-year-old Beckham becomes the game's youngest cover athlete, beating out former Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young, who was 24 years old when he was named Madden NFL 08 cover athlete in 2007.
EA SPORTS senior director of marketing Randy Chase dubbed Beckham "a perfect fit" for this year's cover of the Madden NFL series, per the company's official website:
"Odell Beckham, Jr. is a true playmaker and a perfect fit for this year's game.
"He's an unstoppable force out on the field, and the Madden NFL 16 cover is further vindication that the fans believe he's a player to watch in the coming years."
Man I just personally wanna thank all the love and support from everybody for voting today !! It's mean so much to be on the cover of Madden— Odell Beckham Jr (@OBJ_3) May 14, 2015
Aside from Beckham's signature one-handed catch against the Cowboys and his stats, Dan Salomone of the Giants' official website cites his upside and future as other factors why he was able to edge Gronkowski.
Salomone quotes Giants chief executive officer John Mara's comparison of Beckham to Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor to back up his claim:
"For me, you would have to go back to 1981 before we were that excited about a rookie coming in (Taylor) and what he could possibly mean to this franchise.
"I hesitate to say that because I do not want to put too much pressure on him, but he certainly has brought a lot to this organization."
Graziano says fans are wary of their favorite players being named cover athlete of the Madden NFL series because of the infamous "Madden Curse." Players such as Adrian Peterson, Peyton Hillis and Brett Favre all struggled after they were given the honor.
In addition, former Madden NFL series cover athletes Marshall Faulk, Michael Vick, Ray Lewis, Donovan McNabb and Shaun Alexander sustained serious injuries after they became the game's cover athletes, per ESPN New York.
As if these weren't enough, The New York Post's Bart Hubbuch says last year's cover athlete, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, injured both of his shoulders as his team lost in Super Bowl XLIX to Gronkowski's Patriots.
Giants fans can only hope Beckham proves everybody wrong.
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