Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Madden 13 Cover Vote - Thoughts and Predictions

Last year, EA Sports made one of the best decisions they've made in recent memory by allowing fans to vote for their cover athlete. It's one of those things that always made sense but wasn't done for some unknown reason, but now we have it. It could be argued that year one of this new system was actually a disaster, considering that Peyton Hillis was voted in over Michael Vick and Aaron Rodgers, but I enjoyed it. Now we can look back and say "Oh yeah. Remember when Peyton Hillis had that monster year? I wonder what he's doing now."

Anyway, here are some thoughts and predictions on this year's bracket. The second round is now available for voting on

Previous Winners
2001 - Eddie George, RB, Titans
2002 - Daunte Culpepper, QB, Vikings
2003 - Marshall Faulk, RB, Rams
2004 - Michael Vick, QB, Falcons
2005 - Ray Lewis, MLB, Ravens
2006 - Donovan McNabb, QB, Eagles
2007 - Shaun Alexander, RB, Seahawks
2008 - Vince Young, QB, Titans
2009 - Brett Favre, QB, Packers (Even though he wasn't on the Packers - which is why this was really the best curse ever. Favre retires, EA sees their chance to break the curse, but then he comes back, is having a great year with the Jets, and then gets hurt and their season is ruined.)
2010 - Troy Polamalu, S, Steelers/Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals
2011 - Drew Brees, QB, Saints
2012 - Peyton Hillis, RB, Browns

2013 Sweet 16

Left Bracket

1. Cam Newton v.s. 8. Antonio Gates - This one's pretty easy. Cam Newton exploded onto the scene last year and Antonio Gates is old news.
My Vote - Cam Newton
Prediction - Cam Newton

4. Larry Fitzgerald v.s. 5. LeSean McCoy - My Eagles fandom aside, this one should be pretty easy also. McCoy became a star last year, whereas Fitzgerald has been a star for a while and has already been on the cover.
My Vote - LeSean McCoy
Prediction - LeSean McCoy

3. Maurice Jones-Drew v.s. 11. Patrick Willis - For me, this one's easy to vote on but tough to predict. MJD, through no fault of his own, is the most boring star in the NFL. He doesn't do anything jaw-droppingly well. He's not the fastest or strongest, and doesn't have the best juke moves. He's just good at everything. He's also on the most boring team in the NFL. Willis, on the other hand, is just becoming a big-time household name as the 49ers have finally become relevant. Plus there's only been one linebacker on the cover as opposed to four running backs.
My Vote - Patrick Willis
Prediction - Patrick Willis

2. Victor Cruz v.s. 7. Darrelle Revis - I'm torn on this one. Cornerback is my favorite position, so I love the idea of a cover man becoming a cover man, but I also love Cruz and he's obviously much fresher. We've known about Revis island for a while, and the salsa dancer is brand new.
My Vote - Darrelle Revis
Prediction - Victor Cruz

Right Bracket

1. Aaron Rodgers v.s. 8. Marshawn Lynch - Lynch did wonders for his popularity with the whole "beast mode" run, and he followed it up with a great year last year. Rodgers was phenomenal last year, but he was even better in 2010 and was a shoe-in for the cover, but somehow lost to Peyton Hillis. Why should he advance this year, against a more popular player than Hillis when Rodgers is one year older and staler?
My Vote - Aaron Rodgers
Prediction - Marshawn Lynch

4. Drew Brees v.s. 5. Ray Rice - Both guys had great years last season, but Brees has already been on the cover.
My Vote - Ray Rice
Prediction - Ray Rice

3. Arian Foster v.s. 6. Calvin Johnson - I think Megatron has a serious chance to make a run at the cover. Foster is very good, but Calvin is loved by Madden players for his freakish attributes, which he was finally able to capitalize on with a healthy Matthew Stafford.
My Vote - Calvin Johnson
Prediction - Calvin Johnson

2. Rob Gronkowski v.s. 7. Jared Allen - Two meathead fan favorites going at it. Allen's much older news though, so this one should be a landslide.
My Vote - Rob Gronkowski
Prediction - Rob Gronkowski

Tune in next week to see the results. Or disregard this article entirely and continue on with your day.

RG3 vs. Luck, The Debate Rages on

We have seen many a reputable source, and a few not-so-reputable sources, throw their support behind RG3 over Andrew Luck in this year's draft.  Being one of those not-so-reputable sources, I love the idea of Mike Mayock and Greg Cosell studying film and coming to the conclusion that RG3 is better.  What I don't love, however, is the real possibility that the Redskins may not end up having a chance to draft Robert Griffin III.

But, is it really that much of a possibility?  In a recent article, Jason Cole of Yahoo Sports polled 8 NFL executives, and all eight of them said they would choose Luck over RG3.  Interesting, but not necessarily surprising.

What's more interesting, however, is the reasoning behind the pick.  All of these execs highlighted the fact that Luck was the "safer" pick, and most used the word "safe" as their main justification.  While we here on 11-on-11 have discussed the Luck vs. Griffin debate, and ultimately came to the same conclusion, the responses are still somewhat shocking.

The word "safe" is definitely overused in draft circles these days, and calling any quarterback the safe pick or a safer pick seems pretty ridiculous to me.  In all honesty, one of the "safest" draft picks of all time was Tim Couch, and one of the riskiest was Cam Newton.

But as we said last week, the NFL is a business, and ultimately has to be run like one.  If you are going to make an investment, you are going to make the safer one, and it seems that execs across the board see Andrew Luck as that investment.  Whether he actually is remains to be seen.

We won't know who made the right choice for about 4 more years, but it's always fun to speculate.

For now, however, I'm siding with RG3.  We have heard many a pundit come out this week (even if Merrill Hoge was one of them) and say that RG3 is the better quarterback from a skill-set perspective.  What we haven't heard, however, is anyone saying Andrew Luck is more skilled as a quarterback.  We've heard the phrases "NFL-ready," "safe" and "smart."  But who's to say?  We know RG3's greater skill-set will be there come September, but who knows how Andrew Luck's smarts and NFL readiness will translate.  We have statistical evidence of Robert Griffin's stronger attributes, but I can't say the same about Andrew Luck's.

And while Luck may end up being the better quarterback, I really think RG3 has the better chance to excel at the next level.


People love to compare Griffin to other Black quarterbacks, simply because he is Black.  But we haven't seen a Black quarterback, besides Cam Newton, with the skill-set that Robert Griffin has.  Also, people love knocking "running quarterbacks" come draft day, and people have used this argument against Robert Griffin.  "A running quarterback can never win a Super Bowl in this league."  Well, interestingly enough, Aaron Rodgers ran more times out of designed pass plays during the Packers' 2010 Super Bowl run than Robert Griffin has during his entire career at Baylor.  And Aaron Rodgers, more so than almost any other quarterback in the league, is a running quarterback.  So running quarterbacks can win Super Bowls.