‘Madden 25’ Cover Goes To Lions Great Barry Sanders, Runs Over Adrian Peterson In Online Vote [VIDEO]

Barry Sanders will be the “Madden NFL 25” cover athlete after more than 40 million votes online were tallied throughout the selection process, edging out fellow running back Adrian Peterson. Sanders will be the first retired athlete to be featured on the “Madden” cover.

Online voters had to choose a cover athlete from the “Old School” athlete choice and “New School” athlete. Sanders beat out Ray Lewis, Joe Montana and Jerry Rice to become the “Old School” champion, while Minnesota Vikings RB Peterson edged out Russell Wilson, Arian Foster, Robert Griffin III, Rob Gronkowski and Colin Kaepernick to be crowned the “New School” champ.

Sanders was announced on April 24 as the “Madden NFL 25” cover athlete on the primetime episode of “SportsNation.” Sanders beat Peterson in the final vote, 58 percent to 42 percent. Sanders said of his win on Twitter, “I am shocked, excited, humbled, elated. I am also proud to be the Madden 25 Cover athlete.” Peterson tweeted, “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.”

Anthony Stevenson, senior director of marketing for EA Sports, said of Sanders’ selection as cover athlete, “The ‘Madden NFL’ franchise has such a rich tradition and history, and there’s no better way to celebrate our 25th Anniversary than by having one of the best players of all-time on the cover.”

With the announcement of Sanders as the cover athlete of “Madden NFL 25,” which marks the 25th anniversary of the popular football franchise, Electronic Arts also announced the first details of the game.

EA Sports showed off its “Infinity Engine 2,” which promises to offer a more realistic gaming experience. EA said the new playbook will improve the physics simulation found in “Madden NFL 25.” It also introduces the “Force Impact System.” The new system will gives players more realistic results from hits due to Force Impact, which measures the effects of a collision.

EA Sports cites examples such as a big running back thundering over a smaller player going in for a tackle, while Hit Stick will give players on defense a chance to set up that dramatic hit that could force a fumble. One of the most important tools in a RB’s arsenal, the stiff-arm, will also be improved in “Madden NFL 25” as Force Impact lets players create space or shield the RB from defenders.

The new “Run Free” playbook will let players get creative when carrying the ball with Sanders, Peterson, Foster, RGIII, Calvin Johnson, and Marshawn Lynch, among others. Ball carriers will now be able to perform hard-cuts to dramatically alter their direction, while the new system lets a player recover from a stumble to gain more yards.

EA Sports also announced there'll be more than 30 different moves added to “Madden NFL 25” that will focus on the evolution of dual-threat QB’s such as Kaepernick and RGIII. It'll also give corners and safeties more options to disrupt plays or snag an interception. Other improvements to “Madden” include more realistic defensive coverage breakdowns, better run blocking schemes, better tackling situations. EA Sports also noted improvements to the “Connected Franchise” playbook, where players can control a team and be an architect of a franchise, in addition to new features for “Madden Ultimate Team” and improvements to “All-25.”

“Madden NFL 25” will be released on Aug. 27 for the Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3. Fans who preorder at GameStop will get an exclusive San Francisco 49ers franchise pack that will include Hall of Fame QB Joe Montana, head coach Bill Walsh and former owner Eddie Debartolo Jr., notes EA.

The first look at "Madden NFL 25" in action, with the gameplay trailer focusing on the "Run Free" playbook, can be viewed below.

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