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Barry Sanders wins Madden NFL 25 cover vote, first trailer released

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Barry Sanders, the former Detroit Lions running back, won ESPN's Madden NFL 25 cover vote and will appear on the game's cover, the sports publication and publisher Electronic Arts announced yesterday alongside the release of the game's first trailer.

Sanders prevailed over current Minnesota Vikings halfback Adrian Peterson by winning 58 percent of the more than 700,000 votes cast in the final round of ESPN's online voting campaign, which saw a total of 40 million votes — a new record — in six rounds of voting that began in mid-March. This is the fourth straight year in which EA has held a fan vote for the Madden cover.

Half of the candidates in the 64-person bracket-style tournament were "Old School" choices (players from years past), and the other half were "New School" picks (players from today's NFL). Sanders, a Hall of Famer who spent his entire career with the Lions from 1989-1998, defeated numerous legends on his way to victory, including 49ers stars Joe Montana and Jerry Rice. He appeared on the NCAA Football 13 box last year along with current Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, and since Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson graced the Madden NFL 13 cover, this is the first time in Madden history that players from the same team have appeared on consecutive covers.

"Barry Sanders has long been a fan favorite, so we're proud to have him as the face of Madden NFL 25," said Anthony Stevenson, senior director of marketing for EA Sports, in a press release announcing Sanders' win.

The cover vote came down to two running backs, and Madden NFL 25's debut trailer also highlights the running game, which developer EA Tiburon is focusing on with a new feature called Run Free. Watch the trailer above, and check out our article on the first Madden 25 gameplay details for more information.

Madden NFL 25 will be released Aug. 27 on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

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