How Many NCAA Football Video Game Covers Feature LSU Players?
College football video games were a huge part of growing up in America for over two decades. From 1993 to 2014, various publishers pushed out almost 40 different college football based video games.
Now, technically there were game released before 1993, games like "3 in 1 College & Pro Football" that came out in 1984, but these games lacked the licensing to make them true college football games. Even the first of the "big" releases struggled with licensing and team names.
In 1993, Bill Walsh College Football from EA Sports was the first major release of a college football game that earned high praise. It is now viewed as the beginning of the college football video game revolution. The game had some team names licensed, like Stanford, but lacked licensing for some major programs. That led to teams being named after the cities the schools call home (Provo, South Bend, College Station).
Then in 1995, the whole thing changed. EA Sports licensed the rights to all NCAA Division 1 teams, and packed them all into their "College Football USA 96". However, this still lacked players in the games. You had to just associate the jersey numbers with the college football stars everyone knew. This is something that continued all the way through the final college football game we've seen, "NCAA Football 14". That's because of the Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) issues college players dealt with. Now that the NCAA has worked out the NIL concerns, we have college football video games set to return.
But there was one spot you could always count on an actual player to appear...the cover.
It was a huge deal to earn the cover of the NCAA football games. In the early era, players really didn't campaign for it, the selection just kind of happened. But by the mid-2000s, it had evolved into full blown campaigns to get on the cover.
Usually the cover athlete was one of the top players in the country in the previous season. Generally the player was done with college, so they could be compensated for their image without ruining their armature status.
During the peak of the video game cover war era, LSU had some incredible players play in purple and gold. Guys like Patrick Peterson, LaRon Landry, Jacob Hester, Morris Claiborne, even Jamarcus Russell had so much hype coming out of LSU, you would have expected him to get a shot at a cover too.
But if we look at how many LSU players made the covers of college football video games, we're going to be a little confused, and maybe disappointed. That's because with over 35 college football video game covers, not a single LSU player made one.
Maybe more shocking is that there was a Louisiana based school that does have a player on a video game cover. That wasn't Louisiana Tech, Tulane, or ULM...it was Grambling State. They saw the legend Doug Williams on the cover of 2007's "Black College Football: BCFX: The Xperience".
Check out all of the college football video game covers we've seen between 1993 and the last EA Sports NCAA Football we got in 2013....