In a competition that truly gauges sheer fan interest in players, Cam Newton and Calvin Johnson have made the finals of the Madden 13 cover vote.
A host of football fans are Madden gamers, myself included, and it’s usually a big deal to see who the person on the cover is.
Long gone are the days of EA Sports’ walled-off selection process for the Madden cover athlete. Now, fans can cast their votes on ESPN’s SportsNation for the face of the game and truly have a say in who appears on the next cover.
In Madden, Cam Newton and Calvin Johnson are two game-changing players who will have their huge moments and carry teams to victory.
Newton’s ability to run with the football gives him a huge boost in the ‘fun to play with’ category, but questions about his accuracy are evident in the game. While the Auburn product can air it out, Newton has trouble locating the ball on short and medium throws.
While it’s enjoyable to play with Newton, he’s not nearly the best quarterback in the game and the former Heisman trophy winner is just not ready to match his off-field hype with his on-field numbers.
For all the records that Newton set, the signal caller had an alarming 21-17 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Unable to make the right reads, “Superman” cost his team a number of key possessions and wasn’t able to lead his squad past a 6-10 season.
This is not to say that Newton is a bad player. In fact, one could make an argument that this former college standout will be playoff bound in 2012.
I just don’t know if it’s good for the game to have another quarterback rest on a great rookie season and then grace the Madden cover without much experience (see Young, Vince).
This is all, of course, in comparison to Lions talent Calvin Johnson. The former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket has all the tools to succeed in the NFL and that’s exactly what he’s been doing since 2007. Succeeding.
In 2011, Johnson went off for 1,681 yards with 16 touchdowns, pacing the league in both categories (for wide receivers).
Standing tall at 6’5″ with remarkable physical tools, this Detroit pass catcher is a lethal weapon in Madden. Pairing him with soon-to-be All-Pro quarterback Matthew Stafford makes the Lions a dangerous team to play with in Madden 13.
With the ability to go up for a rocket catch and take the top off of the defense, Johnson’s ability to make an impact in a Madden game is second to few (if used correctly). Simply send this physical freak on a fade pattern and he’ll make a huge play for your team.
Johnson could capture a victory here in the Cover vote.
For all of Newton’s popularity, last year’s vote came down to a small-market hero (Peyton Hillis) and a hype-laden rushing quarterback (Michael Vick). Whatever fans Vick lost from his dogfighting incident, you can argue he gained back from his history in the Madden game.
Whatever the result, Newton and Johnson represent an exciting future to an expanding NFL. Luckily enough for Detroit and Carolina, two new NFL epicenters, both of these players are signed for the long-term and will make waves in their respective cities for years to come.
Look for the vote to come down to the end, but I’m predicting a slight edge to Calvin Johnson.
Would I mind seeing Cam Newton on the cover, though? No.