Rob Gronkowski is on the cover of Madden NFL 17

A tight end will appear on the cover of Madden for the first time in history this year. EA Sports eliminated the annual fan vote to determine the yearly Madden cover star, and announced Thursday that last year’s finalist Rob Gronkowski will be on the cover of the game, set to release Aug. 23. 

"Now, going into my seventh year and being on the cover, it’s surreal," he said, rattling off the names of previous cover selections from memory. "You’re joining an elite category. Just joining that category, it’s something you’ll have the rest of your life."

Many fans were stunned that Cam Newton, who won our cover poll last week, wasn’t chosen.

The Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos and their fans also had something to say.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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