The last time we discussed the Madden NFL cover, EA SPORTS had just wrapped up an unprecedented photoshoot in the middle of Times Square with Peyton Hillis of the Cleveland Browns less than 24 hours after it was announced that the punishing running back would appear on the cover of Madden NFL 12. Bright lights. Big city. NFL rising star and the Madden NFL cover. It was a memorable time for NFL fans to say the least.
Just as spectacular, is how Hillis made the cover to begin with. In a nutshell, you, the fan, got to decide.
During last season’s Madden NFL Cover Vote campaign, which spanned six weeks and tallied 13 million votes, Hillis stormed through the field of playmakers, knocking off the likes of quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers, quarterback Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Eagles, and 29 other NFL stars en route to becoming the second athlete ever to be voted to appear on the cover of Madden NFL.
Once again, you have the power as EA SPORTS and ESPN announce the return of the Madden NFL Cover Vote campaign. Beginning today, fans can cast their vote for the next athlete to grace the cover of one of the highest-selling videogame franchises in North America.
And things are even bigger for Madden NFL 13.
This year’s tournament will include more chances to vote as the field has been expanded to 64 NFL players. Today through March 21, you can visit the SportsNation Facebook pageand choose among the many candidates in a play-in round featuring two players from the same team. The winners from the play-in round will represent their respective team, and advance to the official 32-player seeded tournament.
For New York Giants fans, who would you rather see on the cover—Victor Cruz or Jason Pierre-Paul? Patriots fans will have a tough time selecting between Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski. What about Calvin Johnson or Matt Stafford of the Lions, or Rodgers vs. Packers teammate Clay Matthews? These are just some of the tough choices fans will have to make.
Other names that could advance include quarterbacks Cam Newton of the Panthers, Philip Rivers of the Chargers, Atlanta’s Matt Ryan, New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis, and former EA SPORTS cover athletes Drew Brees, Tim Tebow, Reggie Bush, Larry Fitzgerald, and Troy Polamalu. But each will have to knock off one of their teammates first.
As for whether or not we’ll see a repeat of 2012 winner Peyton Hillis’s run for the cover, who surprised many by winning the vote as a 10th seed, there are plenty of players who could fly under the radar – at least at the start of the campaign – and still come out on top.
Browns fans will have a chance to push offensive tackle Joe Thomas or cornerback Joe Haden through to the finals, while Chris Long of the Rams, DeMarcus Ware of the Cowboys, and Matt Forte of the Bears could also advance deep into the tournament. The Raiders could be represented on the cover by Pro Bowl kicker Sebastian Janikowski or Pro Bowl punter Shane Lechler, and Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton or A.J. Green could also grace the cover when it’s all said and done.
In addition to the SportsNation Facebook page, fans will also be able to vote in the play-in round via the open Web through widgets embedded on blogs, websites, and more. Each widget features an individual match-up for each of the 32 total teams in the league. The winners of the play-in round will be unveiled on March 21 on ESPN’s “Madden Cover Vote Special” from 5-6p.m. EST. To ensure your favorite athlete advances to the next round, crash the polls daily and tweet your selections using #MyMaddenCoverVote on Twitter.
For the cover vote from March 21-April 25, all voting must be cast at ESPN.com/MaddenVote. As the tournament continues, fans can tune in to SportsNation on ESPN2 at 5p.m. EST every Wednesday between March 21 and April 25 to check out the latest Madden NFL 13 Cover Vote standings.
Be sure to check back for results and previews all the way until the Madden NFL 13 cover athlete is announced on April 25.