In a span of nine months, Lamar Jackson went from being the 24th-rated quarterback in Madden to the new face of the popular video game.
Jackson, the reigning NFL Most Valuable Player, made the surprise announcement Tuesday that he'll be on the cover of Madden NFL 21.
"It's always been a dream of mine since I was a little kid, since I first started playing Madden," Jackson said in a video conference call with Baltimore reporters. "It's dope. I have every Madden. To me, to be on the front of it, it's a dream come true."
The Baltimore Ravens star also said he isn't worried about any curses associated with being on the cover.
"Patrick Mahomes is on the front and he won [Super Bowl] MVP," Jackson said. "I want that curse. I hope that's a curse."
EA Sports has not officially stated whether Jackson will be on the cover but appeared to confirm his announcement on Twitter.
In his second NFL season, Jackson captivated the NFL by becoming the first player in league history to produce more than 3,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing in a single season. At age 23, he became the third-youngest player to win league MVP. Only Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown, who was honored as NFL MVP in 1957 and 1958, was younger than Jackson.
Few predicted that Jackson would be so dominant, including the makers of Madden. He began last season with a 76 overall rating, which was tied for 24th among quarterbacks and didn't go unnoticed by Jackson. By the end of the season, Jackson carried an impressive 92 rating and achieved a 96 speed rating, surpassing Michael Vick as the fastest ever for a quarterback.
During the 27-minute media session, Jackson covered many other topics:
• Jackson was asked whether he would like the Ravens to sign free-agent wide receiver Antonio Brown after their recent workout together: "I'd be happy if they signed him," Jackson said. "But it's not my decision."
• Jackson indicated his "Truzz Trump" tweet to President Donald Trump wasn't a political statement. He was appreciative of Trump posting that Jackson was "a great pick" on social media. "I don't know why it got blown up like that," Jackson said.
• His goals for next season are to improve on deep throws, his understanding of the game, and the finish to the season. "I got to win a playoff game before anything because I'm tired of that already," he said. "Once I'm tired of something, I got to make it happen. That's my goal right now."
• He can't see games being played in stadiums with no fans, but he believes the season will occur, despite the coronavirus pandemic. "The world needs football," he said.
• Jackson said he doesn't care how much he carries the ball next season if it helps the Ravens win, but he added, "I doubt I'm going to be carrying the ball a lot going on further in the future because we have great running backs."