April 26, 2012
Courtesy, EA Sports
Step aside, King Kong. Megatron is on the loose in New York.
In an exciting announcement made live in the middle of Times Square, EA SPORTS and ESPN revealed that Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson will appear on the cover of Madden NFL 13 after defeating top-seeded Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton during the final round of the Madden NFL 13 Cover Vote contest.
The announcement, made on location in the streets of Manhattan during a live broadcast of ESPN SportsNation hosted by Colin Cowherd and Michelle Beadle, wrapped up a record-breaking64-player online tournament in which NFL fans were able to select the winner during a seven-week, nationwide voting campaign.
With the victory, the 6th-seeded Johnson will be the first Detroit Lions player to appear on the cover since a shaded image of running back Barry Sanders shared the cover with Coach John Madden in 1999 (Madden NFL 2000), and the first wide receiver in Madden NFL franchise history to appear solo on the cover.
“Knowing that millions of fans took part in the campaign, and to be the one they selected to appear on the cover of the game they play every day is an honor,” said an ecstatic Johnson. “To make it this far, and to beat out guys like Cam and Aaron Rodgers, a Super Bowl winning quarterback, it’s surreal to say the least. Much love to all the fans who voted for me.”
But before news spread that Johnson would be the next cover athlete of the award-winning sports video game franchise, both finalists entertained the New York City crowd with Cowherd and Beadle by sharing some thoughts and insights of their run through the campaign, trading friendly barbs with one another, and throwing food through a carnival-style cardboard cutout during the one-hour program.
At the conclusion of the event, Johnson took a victory lap of sorts by staying on stage and conducting a 90-minute photoshoot as the capacity crowd looked on.
A select photo of Johnson taken during his Times Square shoot will appear on the game’s cover when Madden NFL 13 hits stores nationwide on August 28.
“The scene here today in New York, the entire event … wow, it’s insane,” said Johnson. “I couldn’t be more thrilled. And to have a Detroit Lions player on the cover really shows how far we’ve come these past couple of seasons. This is great.”
As for Newton, some may consider his defeat in the finals to be a bit of an upset as the rookie Pro Bowl signal-caller dominated the competition every week until the championship round. During his impressive run, Newton recorded the largest margin of victory against an opponent or registered the highest number of votes during most weeks of the weeks leading up to the finals.
For some fans, however, Newton’s loss in the final round is actually a good thing.
“I’m pretty happy about it to be honest,” said Peter Fishbein, a Panthers fan from New York. “Now I don’t have to worry about a jinx.”
But is it something Lions fans now have to worry about? Madden curse or not, it’s already a non- issue for the All-Pro wideout.
“I’m not superstitious,” said Johnson, who brushed off the notion entirely. “I plan to go out and have an even better year this season. We’re a team that’s making a lot of progress and hopefully that will continue this year.”
Whether fans were pulling for Johnson or Newton, or trying to push along another NFL favorite through the single-elimination tournament, the Madden NFL 13 voting campaign nearly doubled last season’s totals in terms of overall participation with nearly 20 million votes.
“The Madden NFL 13 Cover Vote has been bigger and better than ever thanks to all of our fans voting in record-setting fashion,” said Anthony Stevenson, Madden NFL 13 Director of Marketing. “This year’s cover voting campaign had more rounds, more players and more votes than ever before, and we are thrilled to have Calvin Johnson as the next face of the Madden NFL franchise. The amount of support that he generated nationally and in his home market of Detroit was staggering.”
Even the mighty King Kong himself can’t argue with that.