The longtime face of the NFL’s best refrigerants is now the center of its most successful video game franchise.
Gatorade Cooler, the long time cylindrical icebox found on every NFL team’s sideline, was named the 2022 Madden NFL cover athlete, a move that has been teased by the game’s publisher, EA Games, for weeks.
“With a style and recognizability around the league, Gatorade Cooler continues to show up year after year and dominate,” EA Sports wrote on its website. “Durable, agile and the ability to be cool and collected in any game situation, we could not think of a better face for the Madden franchise.”
Cooler, a graduate of the University of Florida, has been in the league since 1983, when its liquid hydrating companion was introduced as the official sports drink of the National Football League.
“It’s been a long time coming, I am beyond actual words right now,” Cooler said from the comfort of his equipment closet home. “I remember seeing the first copy of the game in 1994, and now I am part of the Madden fraternity. What a whirlwind!”
The plastic tub’s selection marks the first inanimate object to ever grace the game’s cover, a noticeable move in the NFL’s attempt to be more inclusive of all its personnel in 2021 and beyond.
“While we realize that [Cooler] has never actually played the game of football before, we also recognize some contributions to the game go beyond numbers or statistics,” EA Sports President Peter Moore said in a statement. “He’s had as much impact on the game as anybody to ever pick up a football.”
Moore went on to say that this year’s Ultimate or “GOAT” edition of the game will come with a miniature bobblehead Gatorade Cooler, which looks eerily similar in look and size to a standard 12 oz. Gatorade bottle, as well as one packet of classic Orange powdered drink mix.
Despite all the new found attention, Cooler remains more than humbled and ready for the 2021 season.
“It’s going to be a hot one out there today you guys,” Cooler said with a laugh. “Make sure to hydrate. [I’ve] been telling people that for nearly 30 years, and I mean it every time. Look where it’s got me now.”