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'Madden NFL' cover athlete Patrick Mahomes wants to make mark in game with no-look passes

Mike Snider

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes left his mark in the NFL last season, being named the league's MVP and directing his team to a thrilling, but ultimately unsuccessful AFC championship game.

Now, Mahomes, who has been a starter for just one full season, is making his mark on another hallmark: the storied Madden NFL video game franchise.

Mahomes is the cover athlete of Madden NFL 20, which comes out Aug. 2 for Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation 4 and PCs, with pre-orders now being accepted. It costs $59.99 and up.

And his rise in the league is part of the inspiration behind the game's new feature: Face of the Franchise: QB1.

That special mode in the game lets players create their own star QB who attempts to win the national championship in the College Football Playoffs, then goes pro. Your QB, which can be customized to even look like yourself, then participates in the NFL combine and draft in hopes of becoming a starter in the pros.

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The creators of the Madden game began working on the new franchise mode two years ago, but  Mahomes' season influenced its direction, says Mike Young, the game's creative director. 

"Watching him in his second year, really his first year, captivate a nation and set records and have this huge personality. His games became must-see TV," Young said. "I think a lot of the focus on 'Madden' this year was making the star players feel like stars. We are captivated by players like (Pittsburgh Steeler wide receiver) JuJu Smith-Schuster,  Patrick Mahomes and (Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle) Aaron Donald, people who always seem to have smiles on their faces and change games."

Being able to have an impact on the latest edition of the football game franchise was another honor, Mahomes says.

“The last year has been life-changing for me and landing the cover of Madden NFL 20 is both a huge honor and a dream come true as a lifelong Madden fan. To also get the opportunity to impact the experience in the new Face of the Franchise: QB1 by providing input on the gameplay is something I never expected,” Mahomes said in the press release announcing the game.

“I played Madden with my dad when I was a kid, and this is definitely a full circle moment for me," he said.

Madden's designers have also built a special Superstar X-Factor feature into 50 certain players such as Mahomes, Smith-Schuster, Donald and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. During a game, those players can play themselves "into the zone," Young said.

Mahomes, for instance, "is great at escaping the pocket and has the ability to throw on the run," Young said. "He will have a perfect accuracy throwing across his body while on the run, which Tom Brady wouldn’t have."

Brady can get "into the zone" by completing several consecutive passes and then his optimum target in subsequent plays will be automatically highlighted. Other Superstar X-Factor players include Rams running back Todd Gurley, Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers will be able to complete tough passes with his leaping throws and Donald can greatly influence plays even without getting a sack.

Mahomes also completed a left-handed pass during a game last year. Will he be able to do that in this game?

"I don’t think we have that, but I do know we put in his no-look pass," Young said. "For him, I think we might actually try to get that down the road."

While the game is not coming out until early August, pre-ordering it gives you three days early access to it and other perks.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Can Patrick Mahomes do no-look and left-handed passes in 'Madden NFL'?