49ers' Christian McCaffrey lands Madden NFL 25 cover, breaks RB cover drought: 'It's pretty surreal'


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Three-time Pro Bowler and 2023 NFL rushing yards leader Christian McCaffrey has added another honor to his resume. The star running back will grace the coveted cover of Madden NFL 25.

Although the San Francisco 49ers running back wrapped up another stellar season in February, he still seemed surprised to have appeared on the cover of the popular video game.

“This is a dream come true,” McCaffrey. 28, she told People magazine.

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Christian McCaffrey of the San Francisco 49ers runs the ball to score against the Kansas City Chiefs during Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium on February 11, 2024 in Las Vegas. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

McCaffrey finished the 2023 campaign with 1,459 rushing yards, 14 rushing touchdowns and a career-high 7 receiving touchdowns. His production led to his third Pro Bowl selection.

The running back was a key part of the Niners' run to Super Bowl LVIII. Despite his impressive production and praise, McCaffrey still didn't expect to do a photo shoot for the Madden cover.

“I never expected to be on the cover of Madden. It's something I never imagined myself doing or achieving, so when I got the call, I was incredibly grateful,” McCaffrey said. “I was really shocked, but happy and excited and all the emotions.”

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McCaffrey now joins an exclusive club of players chosen for the cover of the full-length video game. He also became the first running back to appear on the cover since Adrian Peterson and Barry Sanders appeared on separate covers in 2013 in honor of the game's 25th anniversary.

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McCaffrey recalled playing Madden during his childhood.

“Eddie George was on the cover and we played it on the Nintendo 64,” McCaffrey said, referring to the 2001 edition of the video game.

Christian McCaffrey celebrates a TD

San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey celebrates after scoring against the Arizona Cardinals in Santa Clara, California, on October 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

McCaffrey said he would play the video game with his brothers and would often pick the Denver Broncos because his father, Ed McCaffrey, was a wide receiver for the franchise at the time. The elder McCaffrey won three Super Bowls during his standout NFL career.

“I have three brothers and there were four handlers, so it was perfect. We were playing two-on-two and we were playing with the Broncos, when you had my dad, Rod Smith, Terrell Davis and all those guys, so it was a lot of fun.”

Christian McCaffrey celebrates the AFC championship

Christian McCaffrey of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates after defeating the Detroit Lions during the NFC championship game at Levi's Stadium on January 28, 2024, in Santa Clara, California. (Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

While McCaffrey appearing on camera took the 28-year-old out of his comfort zone, he was more than willing to make an exception for Madden.

“If you're shooting for the cover of Madden, you better learn to like the camera,” he jokes. “I just tried to soak it all in and enjoy it while it's happening.”

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McCaffrey described the experience as “surreal.”

“It's quite surreal. We had a lot of fun with it,” he adds.

Madden NFL 25 is scheduled to be released on August 16.

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