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Madden 22 release date, trailer, ratings, franchise mode and everything you need to know

Madden NFL 22
(Image credit: EA)

Looking for the Madden 22 release date? Then you've arrived at this particular tailgate a few hours too late, as EA's latest NFL sim has already landed. Still, you may as well grab your tipple of choice and settle in for all the Madden 22 info you'll ever need. As well as revealing this year's cover athlete we've details of big changes to franchise mode, a sweet-looking trailer, and 99 Club intel – with good news for Patrick Mahomes (surprise!) and Devante Adams. Welcome to GR's comprehensive one-stop Madden 22 guide.

Madden 22 trailer: see it right here, right now

The official Madden reveal trailer landed on Thursday, June 17. It showcases a spectacular Stefon Diggs catch, Derrick Henry bulldozing a defender, and the numerous other ways in which EA hopes to make each match feel like a real NFL gameday. You can watch it here:

Madden 22 release date: it's already here

Madden NFL 22

(Image credit: EA)

Due to PS5 and Xbox Series X emerging in the build-up to Christmas, the next-gen releases of Madden 21 fell out of sync with their PS4 and Xbox One counterparts. This year things returned to normal. The Madden 22 release date across all formats was Friday, August 20, with those who pre-ordered (more on which shortly) able to score early access from Monday, August 16. 

Madden 22 cover leak: Derrick Henry on the box?

Madden 22

(Image credit: EA)

Rather than put it to a public vote, these days EA prefers to choose its cover athlete behind closed doors. That’s largely down to events of 2011, when a sustained online campaign from Cleveland Browns fans led to journeyman Peyton Hillis being catapulted onto the packaging of Madden 12 after one good season. In the final Hillis saw off the challenge of series legend Michael Vick with a 66% share of the vote.

As explained in our detailed Madden 22 cover feature, Titans running back Derrick Henry was the athlete everyone expected to appear on this year’s box, but ultimately EA sprang a surprise. Albeit not a huge one. Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Tampa Bay Buccaneers king-of-everything Tom Brady share the Madden 22 cover athlete honours. In both cases it’s their second cover appearance, having previously appeared on Madden 20 and Madden 18 respectively.

Madden 22 ratings: no place for Stefon Diggs in the big six

Madden 21

(Image credit: EA)

The announcement of official Madden 22 ratings was a mammoth element of the game’s pre-release press campaign, and this year just five players earn spots in the esteemed '99 Club', scoring the maximum possible overall rating. They are Patrick Mahomes (QB, Kansas City), Devante Adams (WR, Green Bay), Travis Kelce (TE, Kansas City), Aaron Donald (RE, LA Rams), and Jalen Ramsey (CB, Los Angeles Rams).

Ramsey is the only newcomer to the club, which shows the exit door to DeAndre Hopkins (WR, Arizona) and Stephon Gilmore (CB, New England). Hopkins drops a point to 98, while an injury-hit season takes Gilmore down to 97.

We expected Adams to be joined in the 99-OVR receiver club by Stefon Diggs after his phenomenal 127-catch year for the Bills, but Josh Allen's favourite target has to make do with a 97 rating, placing him fourth in the receiver rankings behind Adams, Hopkins and Tyreek Hill (Kansas City).

To see the top five players at every position, visit our Madden 22 ratings guide.

Madden 22 franchise mode: change is here

Madden 21

(Image credit: EA)

After years of justifiable clamouring from fans, EA finally makes transformative changes to franchise mode this year. For instance, you’re now – finally! – able to hire and upgrade coaching staffs across four positions: Head Coach, Offensive Coordinator, Defensive Coordinator, and Player Personnel. Each position has its own RPG-like skill tree which enables you to improve coaches in a similar vein to individual players.

Also new are next-gen stats. These debuted on PS5 and Xbox Series X in Madden 21, and are now a significant element of franchise mode, enabling you to see key intel such as an opponent’s passer rating on particular types of throws, their likelihood to scramble with a QB, and so on. Practice sessions matter now too, with the potential to reduce injury risk by having players rest or practice without full pads.

Best of all should be a new scouting system whereby you can commit national and regional scouts to finding the best college prospects, in order to maximise your knowledge ahead of draft day. The only catch? That’s not coming until a free Madden 22 update in September.

For much more on franchise mode improvements, check out GR’s comprehensive Madden 22 preview

Madden 22 pre-order bonuses: what could I get?

It's a bit late now, but there were three editions of Madden 22 available for pre-order: the standard edition, the MVP edition, and the Dynasty edition.

All three inevitably came with bonus extras. The standard edition granted 20 staff points for franchise mode, and a Tom Brady gear capsule. You also got to immediately start The Yard and Face Of The Franchise at a Player Class of Level 10, and to kick off Ultimate Team with one of 32 NFL stars.

Those who ramped things up to the MVP edition added three days of early access, a free upgrade from PS4 or Xbox One to PS5 or Xbox Series X, 60 Staff Points (as opposed to ten) to use upgrading franchise staff, and 11 ‘team gold’ fantasy packs for Ultimate Team, plus the choice of a Tom Brady or Patrick Mahomes elite item.

Going one step further to the Dynasty Edition and in addition to the above you nabbed 100 Staff Points (as opposed to 60) for use in franchise mode, limited-time Ultimate Team Challenges during the early access window, your choice of a Tom Brady or Patrick Mahomes ‘Curated Legends’ pack, 22 (rather than 11) ‘team gold’ fantasy packs for Ultimate Team, and an Elite Madden Mobile starter pack.

For prices and further details, head over to our Madden 22 pre-order guide.

Madden 22 gameplay changes: here’s your fan wishlist

Madden 21

(Image credit: EA)

In the Super Bowl’s aftermath GR curated suggestions from the most respected fan forums to form your Madden 22 wishlist. For instance, these two selections from the excellent Operation Sports are both constructive, with very good reason:

“I will buy Madden 22 if blocking logic is fixed, pass coverage is fixed, LB’s actually pursue and clog holes rather than stand still and let themselves be blocked, and OL/DL positioning isn’t based on shifting/warping or animation triggering,” writes xCoachDx. “I’d honestly be surprised if one or two of these happened.”

“The entire Madden 21 on-field presentation is an immersion breaker,” adds Americas Team. “It’s made for the online competitive crowd to get through games as quickly as possible. This may be OK for online but it's a total disaster for offline franchise players. They need to give us presentation options like MLB The Show.”

EA CEO Andrew Wilson recently promised "a massive year of innovation" across its sporting line-up, including Madden 22. More in our news story.

Want to read more recommendations like the above? Then immediately jump on over to our community-driven Madden 22 features rundown.

Ben Wilson

I'm GamesRadar's sports editor, and obsessed with NFL, WWE, MLB, AEW, and occasionally things that don't have a three-letter acronym – such as Chvrches, Bill Bryson, and Streets Of Rage 4. (All the Streets Of Rage games, actually.) Even after three decades I still have a soft spot for Euro Boss on the Amstrad CPC 464+.