Like most of us, Lamar Jackson grew up playing Madden. He spent his childhood busting big runs with Michael Vick, carving up defenses with Peyton Manning and Tom Brady or dominating on the ground with LaDanian Tomlinson.
Most of us worshipped the players on the Madden cover. For an entire year they popped up on our TV screens as the game loaded, not to mention they were likely the most exciting player to use in that particular season. Jackson is one of the few who can say he's one of them, which is a reality he admitted brought him to tears.
"They revealed to me the cover early," Jackson told Steve Smith. "I don't cry about stuff. I didn't cry when I won the Heisman, I didn't cry when I won all the other accolades. But when I seen the cover, I actually shed tears, like, ‘What the? It's unreal.'"
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Most players in the past would probably think winning the Heisman is more worthy of tears than being on the Madden cover, but that generation of players didn't grow up with the game as Jackson did.
This isn't to say the Madden cover is a bigger accomplishment than the Heisman trophy, but you can no longer downplay the significance it holds to players dominating the league now.
When you hear Jackson's response to gracing the cover, it's easy to understand why he was able to shake off an underwhelming Madden rating. Ratings change, but the Madden cover won't.
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Lamar Jackson admits he cried after seeing himself on Madden 21 cover originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington