The Ravens quarterback and reigning NFL Most Valuable Player is back at practice after a largely virtual offseason. “Madden NFL 21,” the popular video game whose cover he’ll grace, will be released Aug. 28. And now he’s on the the cover of Sports Illustrated’s football preview magazine.
”What Is a Quarterback?” asks the headline of the magazine. “Hint: It’s This Guy,” reads the subheadline. “Lamar Jackson is the Position’s New Paradigm (From Pop Warner to the NFL).” The magazine also is picking the Ravens to beat the New Orleans Saints in Super Bowl LV.
The cover is the Ravens’ first since their last NFL championship, when Jacoby Jones got the front-page treatment after the team’s Super Bowl XLVII triumph. It’s the first featuring a Ravens quarterback since Joe Flacco helped take down Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in that same postseason run.
But the cover isn’t Jackson’s first. Jackson arrived on newsstands in late September 2016, after a three-game stretch with 18 touchdowns at Louisville prompted Sports Illustrated to ask: “What. Just. Happened?” Jackson went on to win the Heisman Trophy that season.
For fans of Jackson, the MVP’s image will be ubiquitous in no time. For fans fearful of jinxes, well, that’s another story.