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Joe Kapp Was Almost The Face Of Football Video Gaming

Malcolm Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

So, in my rush to put together the Open Thread this morning (before Ted graciously stepped in and grabbed it for me. . .thanks, Ted!), I was going to use songs from video games as the musical theme for this week. But that search brought me to something that I was unaware of prior to now, and I thought it was interesting enough to share with everyone.

For football fans that love video games, like I do, this is the point on the calendar where we start looking forward to the release of the latest installment of the Madden NFL series on our platform of choice. For an entire generation, the name of John Madden is synonymous with video game football (and less with the fact that the man owns the highest winning percentage of any coach in the history of the league). However, as it turns out, John Madden wasn't the first choice of Electronic Arts for their games. He wasn't even their second choice.

It turns out that Trip Hawkins, the founder of Electronic Arts, originally wanted to have San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana as the big name on his new football game. However, that couldn't happen, because Joe Montana had a working deal with the folks from Atari at the time. Their second choice?

None other than Joe Kapp.

With that avenue closed, he approached former Vikings quarterback (and head coach of the University of California at Berkeley) Joe Kapp.

Kapp wanted royalties on the game, however, bringing Hawkins and company to their third choice, John Madden.

So, we were not too far away from Joe Kapp's visage appearing on the cover of football video games for a while (until EA went to the "new player every year" format for their cover).

The series has been so successful that it probably wouldn't matter who or what it was named after. Still, it would have been pretty cool for Joe Kapp to have been the face of football video gaming.