Yes We Cam!

A few weeks back EA SPORTS asked you, the fan, to crash the polls and vote your favorite NFL athlete onto the cover of Madden NFL 13. Well, with three rounds still remaining in the Madden NFL 13 Cover Vote, we’re excited to announce that we’ve speedily surpassed the 16 million vote count – three million more than last year’s final tally – and we couldn’t be more thrilled. So before we get all teary-eyed and [stuff], we just wanted to take a quick moment to say ‘thank you.’ You people kick some serious … um, field goals.

Oh, and one other thing before we hug it out and move on: Put on the rally hat, get out there, and keep on voting! We still have eight champion thoroughbreds in this race and this one is sure to go down to the wire.

But before we look forward to Round 3 of the Madden NFL 13 Cover Vote, let’s take a look back at the Round 2 results where Carolina quarterback Cam Newton has emerged as the odds-on favorite to win the whole thing. At least according to the recent trend in the vote count, which after all, is only the most important factor in this contest now that we think about it. Our apologies for being so obvious. Anyway …

Last week Newton racked up the highest number of overall votes, out-tallying the likes of Drew Brees, Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson and 28 other NFL playmakers. This week, with the field cut to 16, the top-seeded Newton scored the widest margin of victory, defeating No. 8 Antonio Gates of the Chargers with ease. Not bad for a rookie.

The other top seed, one Aaron Rodgers, well he advanced through to Round 3 for the second consecutive year, knocking out running back Marshawn Lynch of the Seahawks with minimal difficulty. Now out of the race, Lynch will have plenty of time to model his just revealed and somewhat futuristic looking team uniform. Or munch on Skittles. Or eat Skittles while modeling his somewhat futuristic looking team uniform.

As for Brees, his off-season suffered another shocking blow as Baltimore’s Ray Rice overcame his deficit on the last day of voting in what turned out to be the closest battle of the week. Although some may not consider a fifth seed victory over a fourth seed a major upset, Brees was a fan favorite who many thought would advance deep into the tournament. So much for a repeat cover appearance for Brees, at least this year.

(Editor’s note: Maybe we should save that last line to describe next week’s matchup between Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald, who defeated Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy, and front-runner Newton in Round 3 beginning today. Oh well. Too late now.)

 

In one of the more intriguing matchups of the week, No. 6 Johnson dismissed the heavily campaigning Arian Foster of the Texans. Yep, the same Foster who went into the hornet’s nest of New York City last week and asked local fans to vote for him instead of newly acquired New York Jets (a-hem, backup) quarterback Tim Tebow. Although his viral video shenanigans worked against Tebowmania, the momentum faded in Round 2 against the mighty Megatron. Yep, the same Megatron who captured 92% of the vote count in his matchup last week. Perhaps he’s the one who’s built to stop SuperCam. Maybe. Maybe not. But first he’ll have to power past New England’s Rob Grankowski.

Looking closer at the Johnson-Gronkowski Round 3 matchup, this one should go down to the wire. On one side you have a player who has quietly dominated his opponents in Rounds 1 and 2 (No. 6 Johnson) going up against a player who hasn’t been quiet at all. But can poorly directed yet popular viral videos and appearances on various ESPN programs be enough to stop Johnson and the revived Detroit Lions fan base? Our money is on, “Oh baby, this is going to be one heck of a fight!”

If the quiet approach is the way to go, then things are looking mighty fine for New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, the other No. 2 seed in the tournament. Cruz played it quiet last week during the battle of NYC and he came out on top of Jets cornerback Derrelle Revis, who also hit the airways while accompanying Gronkowski on the ESPN media tour last week. Maybe the inclusion of a viral would have done the trick for Revis Island. Doesn’t matter now.

Cruz’s reward? An NFC conference title game rematch against Patrick Willis of the 49ers. Will Niner fans continue to push the eleventh-seeded underdog through to another round, or will Cruz ride the momentum and shake his hips to victory yet again? Aye!

And what will Jets fans do? Revis, their player rep, is out of the hunt, along with their adoptive son in Tebow (final mention of that name, we swear). Will Gang Green support the local player in Cruz, or will they become 49er diehards for a week to spite the Giants? You can never tell with the New Yorkers, unpredictable as they are.

What about Rice? He snuck past Brees in the wee hours of the night during Round 2, but will he spoil Rodgers’s hopes for the cover as well? Or will Rodgers just do his thing and play his way through to the next round?

So many questions, and only you have the answers. Must be nice.       

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.