No Need to Be Upset
Don’t mess with Texas.
Or, the Texans rather. At least that’s what the fans in Houston are probably saying as their heralded running back Arian Foster knocked Tebowmania right out of the Madden NFL 13 Cover Vote tournament.
That’s right, NFL fans. Tim Tebow lost at something. Rare, we know.
For what it’s worth, the battle between Foster and Tebow, the widely popular and somewhat polarizing New York Jets quarterback, who was representing the Denver Broncos (just go with it), was the closest battle in Round 2 of the Madden Cover Vote tournament.
However, 54% of the vote count was more than enough for Foster to advance to the field of 16, and move on he did, along with 15 other big name NFL players including Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers, Calvin Johnson, and Drew Brees.
If you were hoping for some upsets, or perhaps looking for the 2012 underdog version of Peyton Hillis to quietly emerge to the top, you might be a bit disappointed as 15 of the top 16 seeds all advanced to Round 3. The lone exception to the rule is San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis, a #11 seed, who defeated disgruntled Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (the #6 seed) with 62% of the votes.
But even that wasn’t a huge shocker.
Some other interesting facts about Round 2:
We spoke earlier about the Foster-Tebow battle going down to the wire. On the other end of the spectrum, nobody had it easier than Johnson, who megatroned his way to victory by reeling in 92% of the vote count against Dwayne Bowe of the Chiefs. Perhaps the Internet was down in Kansas City last week. Maybe? The town’s still on dial-up perhaps? No? Then who knows what happened there.
The two #1 seeds and two #2 seeds all captured 80% or more of the vote count in their respective battles. Well, almost. While Newton, Victor Cruz, and Rob Gronkowski graded out with a B- or better, Rodgers won with only 79% of the votes against Cleveland’s Joe Haden, killing all hopes of a Browns player appearing on the cover for a second consecutive year. Sorry Cleveland. You will not rock on the Madden cover this year.
Three defensive players are still in the hunt for the cover, including New York Jets cornerback and deserted island owner Darrelle Revis, Jared Allen of the Vikings, and Willis, a stud.
Two former Madden cover athletes, Saints quarterback Drew Brees (Madden NFL 11) and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (Madden NFL 10) of the Cardinals, are also in the round of 16. Will they have enough star power to appear on the cover again? Is this something the fans even want? Is Steelers safety Troy Polamalu jealous of the fact that he’s no longer in the conversation because he was eliminated in the last round … by Fitzgerald of all people? Do Brees and Fitzgerald want it bad enough?
… If so, then both will have to go through Superrookie Newton, the player who tallied the highest number of votes in total. Impressive, Carolina. Very impressive.
Looking ahead, three Round 3 match-ups stand out the most.
For starters, New Yorkers will rival it out during the next six-plus days as #2 Cruz goes head-to-head against #7 Revis. Throw the records out when these two Big Apples go at it. Bragging rights are clearly up for grabs here.
One bracket above we have the upstart Willis going up against avid Madden gamer Maurice Jones-Drew, the #3 seed. Can Willis keep momentum on his side for another week or will MJD take advantage of his Madden mojo to move on?
Finally we have Foster, or the anti-Tebow, squaring off against Mr. 92% Johnson in yet another battle of non-quarterbacks. Will Megatron mess with Texas? We’ll soon find out.
You can cast your Round 3 vote for your favorite cover athlete candidate from your computer or mobile phone at ESPN.com/MaddenVote through April 25. To ensure your favorite player advances to the next round, you are also encouraged to vote daily and tweet your picks using #MyMaddenCoverVote on Twitter.
As the tournament continues, be sure to check back for results and previews all the way until the Madden NFL 13 cover athlete is announced.