April 25, 2012 is a day both Lions and Panther’s fans are dreading. A day that has the potential to make (but most likely break) either team’s upcoming 2012 NFL season before it begins. It’s the day when either Cam Newton or Calvin Johnson will be announced as the cover player for Madden NFL ‘13 video game. This is an “honor” Carolina Panther and Detroit Lion fans are hoping to avoid, since the dreaded “Madden Curse” comes along with the title. Players every year joke about the curse and how it won’t happen to them this year. Just ask last year’s Madden NFL ‘12 cover player Peyton Hillis about his 2011 season.
EA Sports lets the NFL fans decide who this year’s cover of the game by ranking 32 players in a five-round bracket, with fans voting for their favorite players online. Or in my case, voting for the players in the NFC South (besides LeGarrette Blount) in hopes of a conference opponent would be awarded this year’s cursed.
Cam Newton was the top ranked player on the left side of the bracket and dominated his competition up until the semifinal round. He defeated Tampa Bay running back LeGarrette Blount with 87% of votes (I wish it was closer, but I’m glad LeGarrette didn’t win), then took out Chargers tight end Antonio Gates with 83% of the votes. Cam was matched up with Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald in the 3rd round and handily defeated the popular receiver with 70% of the votes. The semifinal matchup between 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis and Cam was close, with Newton winning 53% to 47%.
Calvin Johnson (aka Megatron) was a six seed on the right side of the bracket. He was matched up with fellow receiver Dwayne Bowe in round one and Arian Foster in round two and collected more than 73% of the votes in each matchup. Megatron was paired up with Patriots dancing-phenom Rob Gronkowski in the third round and beat him with 63% of the vote.
The semifinal matched up Johnson with fellow NFC North player Aaron Rodgers. Packer fans must have voted hordes for two reasons: 1. to ensure the Packers’ franchise player didn’t risk this year’s Madden Curse, and 2. To hopefully reward the dreaded curse on the Lions pro-bowler, which happens to also be a team the Packers play twice each year. Johnson won this matchup, with 2/3 of the vote. Congratulations Packer fans, you’ve already beat the Lions once this year, and it’s only April.
So within the next week, will the Lions or Panther fans claim “victory” when the Madden cover player is announced? Luckily the announcement is a day before the NFL Draft, so either the Lions or Panthers team executives have time to adjust their draft board accordingly. Fantasy football managers should take note of who wins this coveted title and graciously pass on the player. The manager who drafts this player may have a fustrated losing season and will likely place blame on either Johnson or Newton.
As a Bucs fan, I’ve voted for Cam Newton several times already. I’m excited to see who wins and to hear how either Megatron or Cam plan to avoid this year’s curse. All I can say to the winner is Good Luck!