McNabb: Madden's next cover athlete?

According to the <i>Sports Business Journal</i>, the Eagle has landed on the cover of Madden NFL 06.

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In the latest "Lefton Report," Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal columnist Terry Lefton reports that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb will be the cover athlete for Electronic Arts' upcoming Madden NFL 06. The well-marketed McNabb--who has deals with Campbell Soup, Reebok, and Lincoln Financial--will usher in the next generation of consoles by being on the cover of the newest edition of the top-selling football sim.

When asked to confirm McNabb's deal with EA Sports, EA reps replied, "We do not comment on rumors or speculation."

Though not official, there is reason to assume that McNabb's visage will appear on the game, since this isn't the first time the Journal has reported on an EA Sports deal before the fact. Last year, the trade reported that the publishing giant was negotiating an exclusive deal with the National Football League, which EA eventually did months later.

More possible proof that the report is true can be found in EA Sports' tendency to pick athletes based on that year's improvements to the series. Last year's game focused on defense, so the game was covered by Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. Madden NFL 2004, which introduced the playmaker feature, was covered by Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, known for his spectacular highlight plays. This year's edition concentrates on the passing game, which would fit right in with McNabb and his 2004 quarterback rating of 104.7...with 31 touchdowns.

McNabb is known to be one of the NFL's top players at his position. He put in a valiant effort in the NFL playoffs last year and led the Eagles to Super Bowl XXXIX, where his team lost 21-24 to the New England Patriots.

GameSpot will have more info on Madden NFL 06 soon.

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