Detroit Lions superstar wide receiver Calvin Johnson, a.k.a. Megatron, had a dominant season in 2011 and kept that momentum going as he destroyed the 64-player field en route to becoming the cover athlete for Madden NFL 13.
Defeating Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton in the final round, Johnson was announced as the winner in the streets of Manhattan during a live broadcast of ESPN’s SportsNation. Afterwards, Johnson stayed onstage for 90 minutes for photos including a photo shoot that the cover photo will be chosen from.
Megatron continued his victory tour, appearing as a guest presenter at the NFL draft Thursday night. Holding an Xbox case with an unofficial cover, Johnson announced the Lions’ #23 overall pick, Iowa offensive tackle Riley Reiff.
Nearly 20 million votes were cast by fans over the seven-week voting period. Johnson, a #6 seed in the bracket, took down teammate Matthew Stafford in the “play in” round before defeating Dwayne Bowe, Arian Foster, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Rodgers, and Cam Newton on his way to being the cover athlete.
Johnson is the first Lions player to be on the cover of Madden since a shaded image of Barry Sanders was on the cover of Madden 2000 with the legendary coach and broadcaster. That was also the last time John Madden made an appearance on the cover until reappearing on the Madden 07 Hall of Fame Edition. Johnson is also the only wide receiver to appear solo on the cover. Larry Fitzgerald shared the cover of Madden NFL 10 with Troy Polamalu.
Along with the cover announcement, EA Sports also revealed a few new game features for Madden 13. Presentation in the game have been revamped, giving the game a more realistic feel of a TV broadcast, including new announcers and a 3D booth view with Jim Nance and Phil Simms. Some gameplay features were also revealed; a new passing system and improved read and react defensive AI were announced with further gameplay, audio and online features to be announced in the coming months.
Madden NFL 13 will be available on the Xbox 360 (with Kinect support), Playstation 3, Playstation Vita and the Wii.