The new Madden 22 cover will be revealed on June 17th, which always causes passionate NFL fans to speculate on who is it. EA Sports offered a hint by posting a teaser on social media featuring two goats, one smaller than the other. This got us thinking here in A to Z Sports Dallas. Which Dallas Cowboys individual seasons were worthy of being a Madden Cover?
Let’s dive in.
2020 Dak Prescott
Ok, you got me. This is just a hypothetical one. You can’t put any NFL player on the Madden cover after playing only five games in any given season. However, it’s fair to believe that if Dak Prescott hadn’t suffered an ankle fracture, he would’ve been one of the prime candidates to appear in the NFL videogame.
Prescott was averaged 371 yards per game in 2020 and that’s including the 166-yard game he threw versus the Giants in Week 5. Before entering the Giants game, he was on pace to finish the season with 6,760 passing yards.
Sure, those numbers were likely to go down as the season progressed. But Dak was tearing up the league and as the face of the Dallas Cowboys, watching him as the Madden 22 cover wouldn’t have been a surprise.
2018 Amari Cooper
Remember how the Cowboys had that odd “no WR1” philosophy before the 2018 season? It didn’t work out well for them. Enter a midseason trade for Amari Cooper and the offense started to look drastically better.
In nine games with the Cowboys, Cooper caught 53 passes for 725 yards (13.7 yards per catch). He racked up six touchdowns in that stretch and became one of the most exciting players in the NFL when he had a three-touchdown game versus the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Night Football.
In the playoffs, Cooper had a 106-yard performance in the Cowboys’ win over the Seahawks and scored the opening touchdown in the loss against the Rams.
2018 Leighton Vander Esch & Jaylon Smith
This is a bold one, I know. And recency bias might make Cowboys Nation forget about how impressive Vander Esch and Smith were in 2018. They were one of the most exciting linebacker duos in the league and had tremendous performances.
When the Dallas Cowboys pulled off the upset against the New Orleans Saints in the Superdome, they led the team to a great defensive win.
Holding Alvin Kamara to 36 rushing yards in a 13-10 game was an amazing feat that put the duo in the spotlight. A Madden cover with these two guys would’ve been a sweet change-up. Not only would they have been two teammates in the same cover, but two defensive players.
2017 DeMarcus Lawrence
It was a tough season for the Dallas Cowboys, but at least Lawrence had a breakout season. D-Law positioned himself as one of the best edge rushers in the league after ending the year with 14.5 sacks, 26 QB hits, and 14 tackles for loss.
It was Lawrence’s first fully healthy season in the league and the sky was the limit. It led to a franchise tag and a long negotiation period between him and the Cowboys. Hopefully, at some point, Lawrence is as healthy as he was in 2017 and bounces back.
2016 Dak Prescott & Ezekiel Elliott
Put them together on the cover or choose one for it, but what Dak and Zeke achieved as rookies was unprecedented in the NFL. Prescott wasn’t even supposed to start for the Cowboys yet he managed to take Tony Romo’s job and lead the team to a 13-3 record and the NFC’s #1 seed.
They were the story of the NFL that season. Ezekiel Elliott led the NFL with 1,631 rushing yards averaging 5.1 yards per attempt. Meanwhile, Dak Prescott had one of the best rookie seasons for a quarterback ever.
Many talk about what Justin Herbert accomplished in 2020 but take a look at the difference between the two of them according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA.
If they walked up to the stage together for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award when Dak won it, why not put them both on the cover?
2014 Dez Bryant
Dez Bryant’s dominance in the league was short-lived. But he’s at the top of the Cowboys’ record books because of what he did in his first few years in the league. But his career peaked in 2014.
He finished the season with 88 receptions (so poetic, by the way), 1,320 yards, and led the league with 16 touchdowns. Voted as a first-team All-Pro, Bryant had a historic season in the year many Cowboys’ fans felt like a legit shot at the Super Bowl.
Bryant was never quite the same due to injuries and perhaps the lack of chemistry he found with Romo. But that season remains one of the best ever by a member of the Dallas Cowboys.
2008 DeMarcus Ware
Remember how we just talked about Lawrence’s 14.5 sack season? Well, Ware had 20 back in 2008 in one of the best seasons ever by a pass rusher. He led the NFL in that category and in tackles for loss with 27. It was the second of four first-team All-Pro seasons in his career.
Only 10 other players in the history of the NFL have been able to rack up 20 or more sacks in a single season. And even Michael Strahan, who holds the record for most in a single season, had 22.5 sacks.
Ware is just waiting for his turn to be enshrined in Canton’s Pro Football Hall of Fame and his 2008 season is only one of the many reasons why.
2007 Tony Romo
I could add 2014 Tony Romo to the list, but I’m going with his 2007 season. After starting 10 games in 2006, Romo had his breakout season in ’07 when he passed for 4,211 yards and led the Cowboys to a 13-3 season.
He finished the season with 36 passing touchdowns and although 19 interceptions didn’t look good in the stat sheet it was still a Pro Bowl season for the quarterback.
The Dallas Cowboys had found their new franchise quarterback. Madden-worthy.
Featured Image via Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports