It was the old school versus the new school for this year’s Madden NFL 25 cover vote. Yes, the game is technically Madden NFL 14, but in honor of the franchise’s 25th anniversary, EA Sports opted for the Madden NFL 25 moniker.

32 players battled through six rounds of online voting, but only one could reign supreme and have their visage emblazoned on EA Sports’ latest title. Only one could join the ranks of Drew Brees, Peyton Hillis, and Calvin Johnson

In the end it came down to Adrian Peterson from the new school, and Barry Sanders from the old school — both big stars in the game of football, both running backs, and both very deserved of the Madden NFL 25 cover. However, with 58% of the vote, the cover eventually went to the old school and Barry Sanders.

For Sanders, the road was much more arduous. A number 3 seed in the voting, Sanders had to take on the likes of Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, and the recently retired Ray Lewis (of the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens) before getting to Peterson. Needless to say his hill was much steeper to climb.

Ironically, Sanders is no stranger to EA Sports game covers: he joined Robert Griffin III for the NCAA 13 cover as part of a tribute to Heisman winners past and present. Players could even recreate Sanders’ Heisman season in the game’s Heisman Challenge mode.

Check out the full cover for Madden NFL 25 featuring Barry Sanders below:

Madden NFL 25 Cover Barry Sanders

Even if he didn’t make the cover, Peterson is coming off a monster year, having rushed for 2,097 yards; just 9 yards shy of Eric Dickerson’s record. But what’s more impressive is the fact that Peterson did all of this less than a year after having ACL surgery.

There’s a lot of talk about the Madden Curse and how it effectively ruins a player’s season or career, but Peterson’s story was almost the complete opposite. In a year in which he was not on the cover, Peterson suffered a terrible injury. Still, he was able to bounce back and have the type of season that gets players to the cover vote finals.

With the unveiling of the cover athlete, promotion for Madden NFL 25 can now start to ramp up. Most importantly, fans will soon find out what new features are included in this year’s iteration.

What do you think of the fans selection of Barry Sanders as the Madden NFL 25 cover athlete?

Madden NFL 25 releases August 27, 2013.