Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders defeated Adrian Peterson to become the next cover athlete of EA Sports’ 25th anniversary of Madden NFL and as it’s always been in sports, the numbers tell the story. The long-time Detroit Lions’ superstar beat Peterson in voting that was organized by ESPN’s “SportsNation” show, raising discussion of Sanders’ illustrious career.
The announcement came live Wednesday night as Sanders received 58 percent of the votes to beat out last season’s NFL MVP. More than 700,000 votes were tallied towards the final match-up between the two running backs.
Both rightfully deserved to be in the finals, as Sanders posted one of the greatest rushing careers of all-time and Peterson just fell eight yards short of breaking Eric Dickerson’s record of 2,105 rushing yards in a single season.
In a 10-year career, which many believed could of went longer, Sanders posted 15,269 yards with an average of five yards a carry. He was selected for the Pro Bowl in each of his 10 seasons and ended with 99 career rushing touchdowns.
Sanders, 44, also rushed for over 2,000 yards in a season when he finished 1997 with 2,054 yards and a 6.1 average per carry, the best of his career. He decided to retire after the next season and eventually was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004.
While Sanders is widely considered the third best running back of all-time behind Jim Brown and Walter Payton, Adrian Peterson is currently making his mark on the NFL and has the skill set to break a lot more records before he retires.
Peterson entered the league in 2007 and became the fifth player to rush for over 3,000 yards in his first two seasons. In his six years with the Vikings, he has rushed for over 1,000 yards each season outside of 2011 when he finished 30 yards short after missing four games due to injury.
The 28-year-old had every right to go up against one of the best of all-time though he fell a little short to a Lions’ legend. A Detroit Lions’ player will now be Madden’s cover athlete for the second straight year as Lions’ wide receiver Calvin Johnson made the cover for last year’s game.
Adrian Peterson enjoyed the entire process and has since went on to congratulate Sanders through Twitter:
Congrats to my guy Barry Sanders for winning the 2013 Madden Cover!Any other guy to take me down… it would’ve been a problem! Salute
— Adrian Peterson (@AdrianPeterson) April 25, 2013
The game is set to release on August 27th on all major consoles and is expected to sell millions of copies within the first few weeks. Last year, the Madden franchise sold over 1.6 million copies in the first week alone and those numbers are sure to rise when the next installment releases in four months.
Here’s EA Sports’ official gameplay trailer if you missed it: