Six weeks have passed since the original 32-man bracket was released for the Madden NFL 13 cover vote. Over 19 million votes have been tallied, crushing last year’s total of 12.7 million. And after the smoke has cleared and all votes have been counted, we are now down to the final two candidates to grace the cover of EA Sports’ iconic football franchise.
#1 Cam Newton, QB Carolina Panthers
Newton has capitalized on a rookie of the year campaign that saw him throw for over 4,000 yards and set numerous rookie quarterback records. His dominance in the cover vote bracket has been apparent since day one, defeating Legarrette Blount, Antonio Gates, and Larry Fitzgerald with 87%, 83%, and 70% of the votes, respectively, before squeaking past dark-horse candidate Patrick Willis with 53% of the vote in the semi-finals.
#6 Calvin Johnson, WR Detroit Lions
Johnson has shown complete dominance in the cover vote since the beginning, defeating Dwayne Bowe, Arian Foster and Rob Gronkowski by 92%, 73%, and 63% of the vote, respectively. Unlike Newton, however, Johnson continued that dominance in the semi-finals, defeating NFC north rival Aaron Rodgers with 67% of the vote.
This match-up is a complete toss-up for me. Both players are deserving of the honor of being on the cover of Madden 13; they both put up amazing numbers during the 2011 season and have both shown a trend of dominating wins throughout this contest. But there is one thing that this analyst has noticed: no player that has won with under 55% of the vote has gone on to win the next round and only Patrick Willis has received less than 60% in a win and gone on to win his next match-up. Going off of this, my vote and my pick for the cover is going to Calvin Johnson.
One last note, both of these players can be susceptible to the Madden curse, the sophomore slump for quarterbacks has affected many players before Cam Newton, and after his amazing numbers last year, almost any down slope in stats is possible. On the other side, Calvin Johnson benefited from finally having a healthy Matthew Stafford throwing to him and had several record setting performances last season, one bad play and that all goes down the drain. Also, he’s a Detroit Lion, they don’t have the greatest track record as a franchise.
Fans can make their voices heard at www.ESPN.com/MaddenVote to cast their vote for who they believe should be on this year’s cover. Fans can also choose their favorite Madden NFL 13 Cover Vote candidate via Madden Ultimate Team in Madden NFL 12. For the final week only, fans will see free Cover Vote cards of both Newton and Johnson appearing in the Madden Ultimate Team Card Deals section. Each time one of these cards is moved into its corresponding Cover Vote collection, it will count as a vote for that athlete. Voting for the final round ends on April 25th.
Fans can visit the Madden NFL Facebook page or the SportsNation page to join discussions about the cover vote. They are also encouraged to tweet their Cover Vote picks using the hashtag #MyMaddenCoverVote on Twitter.