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Madden NFL 17 leak suggests Rob Gronkowski is cover athlete (update)

The focus is on Franchise mode this year

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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.

Madden NFL 17's cover athlete may be New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, according to leaked product listings on the Xbox Games Store.

A page popped up last night for a Standard Edition of Madden 17 with two screenshots, one of Gronkowski and the other of Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown stiff-arming Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller. (You can see those images below.) That page has since been taken down, along with the Madden 17 landing page. Listings for a $79.99 Deluxe Edition and a $99.99 Super Deluxe Edition of the game were also available until a short time ago — here's a screencap of a search on the Xbox website:

Madden NFL 17 - Xbox Games Store search 980

The product information on those pages offers the first details on Madden 17's feature set and gameplay focus:

Take your team all the way in Madden NFL 17 with a renewed focus on Franchise mode, putting you at the center of your team’s Championship run. Arm your team for gridiron glory on both sides of the ball with the most balanced gameplay to date, featuring all-new ball carrier feedback cues, defender fake out mechanics and an innovative, authentic defensive AI system. Madden NFL 17 is the most complete Madden ... ever.

Madden 17's two deluxe packages include a one-month trial of EA Access on Xbox One, as well as 30 tickets for Madden NFL Ranked — which appears to be a new mode — and a number of card packs in the Madden Ultimate Team mode (up to 10 in the Deluxe Edition, and up to 30 in the Super Deluxe Edition).

All of the listings featured the artwork above of Gronkowski spiking a football. Pasta Padre points out that the same artwork was used as a placeholder image for Madden NFL 16 before New York Giants wideout Odell Beckham Jr. was announced as that game's cover athlete. So it's possible that someone else besides Gronkowski will be revealed as the cover star for Madden 17 tonight.

Madden publisher Electronic Arts said earlier this week that it will premiere Madden 17's first gameplay trailer, and announce the game's cover athlete, during the May 12 evening edition of ESPN's SportsCenter. Tune in at 6 p.m. ET to see whether Gronk is indeed on the box this year, or if this was all a head fake from EA. Madden NFL 17 will be released Aug. 23 on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

Update: Replying to a tweet with the Xbox Games Store's Madden 17 artwork featuring Gronkowski, the Madden NFL Twitter account said, "That's not the cover though." The wording of the response doesn't necessarily rule out Gronkowski as the cover athlete, since EA may have just been referring to the cover artwork itself.

Madden NFL 17 - Gronkowski screenshot 1138

Madden NFL 17 - Brown / Miller screenshot 1138