The idea of a fan cover vote in Madden NFL started back in 2010, when EA SPORTS asked fans to choose between Colts WR Reggie Wayne, Saints QB Drew Brees and Vikings DE Jared Allen. Then in 2011, EA took it to another level by increasing the playing field to 32 players (one for each team), in which then-Browns (now Chiefs) RB Peyton Hillis shocked the world and upset seemingly shoo-ins like Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and Eagles QB Michael Vick on the way to the first reason Cleveland had a reason to celebrate since the 2007 NBA Eastern Conference Finals. For 2012, EA SPORTS decided to take the tournament idea one step further- involve two players from each team in a 64-man play-in style tournament, with the winners of each matchup moving on to the actual cover vote. In the spirit of NCAA Basketball’s March Madness, the official bracket (complete with a breakdown of each matchup) has been announced by Jon Robinson of ESPN.com. While I highly recommend reading his views as well, I’ll post the tournament here for those who are interested:
(1) Panthers QB Cam Newton vs. (16) Buccaneers RB LeGarrette Blount
(2) Giants WR Victor Cruz vs. (15) Redskins LB Brian Orakpo
(3) Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew vs. (14) Raiders K Sebastian Janikowski
(4) Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald vs. (13) Steelers S Troy Polamalu
(5) Eagles RB LeSean McCoy vs. (12) Dolphins RB Reggie Bush
(6) Bears RB Matt Forte vs. (11) 49ers LB Patrick Willis
(7) Jets CB Darrelle Revis vs. (10) Bills WR Stevie Johnson
(8) Chargers TE Antonio Gates vs. (9) Colts DE Dwight Freeney
(1) Packers QB Aaron Rodgers vs. (16) Browns CB Joe Haden
(2) Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski vs. (15) Rams (now Patriots) WR Brandon Lloyd
(3) Texans RB Arian Foster vs. (14) Broncos (now Jets) QB Tim Tebow
(4) Saints QB Drew Brees vs. (13) Falcons QB Matt Ryan
(5) Ravens RB Ray Rice vs. (12) Bengals WR A.J. Green
(6) Lions WR Calvin Johnson vs. (11) Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe
(7) Vikings DE Jared Allen vs. (10) Cowboys LB DeMarcus Ware
(8) Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch vs. (9) Titans RB Chris Johnson
What a difference one NFL season makes, right? Look at Peyton Hillis, locking in the – wait, he isn’t even in this year’s vote. Former favorites from Madden NFL 12’s cover vote like Eagles QB Michael Vick didn’t even make it out of the play-in round, and Titans RB Chris Johnson (one of the deadliest Madden NFL running backs in recent memory) is coming in as a lowly 9 seed.
While another article by Robinson notes that Panthers QB Cam Newton had no problem making it through the play-in, I’d personally like to see a veteran like Cowboys LB DeMarcus Ware or 49ers LB Patrick Willis on the cover simply because I miss defensive players on the cover. Anyone but Eagles RB LeSean McCoy (not letting him get the curse under my watch), and I’m all set.
Who do you think deserves to adorn the cover of Madden NFL 13? Leave a comment below or let us know in our forums!