Madden 18 cover star is Tom Brady – with its release date set for 25 August

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EA has announced that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will appear on the cover of Madden NFL 18 – and incredibly, it's the first time he's fronted Gridiron's biggest series.

It's also exactly what GR+ predicted would happen as part of our feature ranking the 12 most likely candidates for the Madden 18 cover

The cover star news comes in tandem with confirmation of Madden 18's release date: it's set to hit stores on 25 August, a fortnight before the 2017 season gets underway with Brady's Patriots taking on the Kansas City Chiefs.

Brady's feat also marks the first time two players from the same team have adorned the Madden cover in consecutive years, after Rob Gronkowski got the gig for Madden 17.

“The Madden NFL 18 cover is a great honour for me – especially since I have been playing the game since growing up next to EA headquarters in the Bay Area," says Brady who – to his credit – is aware of the Madden curse. "I'm not one to believe in curses, so I'm ready to take the challenge head on like always. It doesn't stand a chance!"

EA has announced pre-order details for Madden 18, too. The standard edition includes the choice of an Elite player from your favourite NFL team for use in Ultimate Team, as well as five Squad Packs, redeemable at launch. The G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time) edition, meanwhile, comes with all standard edition benefits, three days of early access, and a choice of one G.O.A.T. player to use within Ultimate Team.

Want further reading? Then check out our behind-the-scenes look at EA Tiburon, developer of Madden 18, who I got to visit last summer.