Madden 2013: Breaking Down the Best Candidates for the Cover

Matthieu Hertilus@MHertilusContributor IIIMarch 10, 2012

Madden 2013: Breaking Down the Best Candidates for the Cover

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    Once again, fans will have a chance to vote for the cover of this year’s Madden video game, which usually goes to the most intriguing player of the past year (not necessarily the best, but one who had a really good story that kept them compelling for most of the season). While the expanded field of 64 has already been revealed, there are really only 10 (technically 11) names to consider for the cover. These individuals are picked based on the following factors:

    • Playability (aka The Michael Vick Category) – There are certain players, no matter who you are a fan of, are just fun to play with. Vick is the first such name that comes to mind. No quarterback in the league has Vick’s skill set. RGIII may come close, though not in his first year, and Vick beats out Cam Newton when you compare pure speed.
    • Marketability – As noted before, the cover goes to the most intriguing player of the previous year, not necessarily the best one. There were several noteworthy players this past season due to their performance and the story that came with it. Not everyone who buys and plays Madden is a diehard football fan, so it helps to have a cover athlete that is recognizable to the casual fan

    These are names who define the time, define the season, and are some of the first names players will be looking for when they tear open the plastic seal, and play Madden ’13 for the first time. However, everyone has their favorites, so leave a comment as who you would pick

Tim Tebow, QB, Denver Broncos

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    Tim Tebow – he will be a candidate every year that he’s in the league. Tebow is one of the most polarizing athletes we have ever seen. Most people love him as a person, but analysts are tearing their hair out watching him as a quarterback, yet, he wins. Madden usually has no trouble selling, but with Tebow on the cover, they could be setting franchise records come its release date.

Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants

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    Victor Cruz – like Peyton Hillis last year, a guy that came out of nowhere to become a star, Cruz exploded on to the NFL scene and was arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL last season, a very difficult feat to accomplish over the likes of Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson, and Calvin Johnson.

    When the Giants' running game was stagnating, Cruz came to the rescue. When Hakeem Nicks got hurt, Cruz was beating double-teams. Before Mario Manningham made a name for himself, Cruz was Eli's No. 1 target. The man did it all for the best team in the NFL last year, and that sets him apart from every other candidate, except the next one...

Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants

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    Eli Manning – does this need any explanation. He surpassed his brother in Superbowl titles. He’s unquestionably the best quarterback to come out of the famed 2004 draft class which featured Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers, and he’s on his way to being the most famed Giants quarterback in history (sorry Phil Simms). When the name Manning is mentioned, people will have to stop and ask which one, because Eli is quickly carving out a Hall of Fame career comparable to the next candidate

Peyton Manning, QB, UNKNOWN

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    Peyton Manning – somehow he was a big story without playing a single snap. Some would call him the unofficial MVP of the league given the nose dive his team took without him. It’s just too tempting to see Manning emblazoned in a new uniform and helmet plastered all over electronic and video game shelves across the world—quite an introduction for Manning to his new team. Although football is a team game, Manning showed just how much a team's success can depend on one player

Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots /Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints

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    There’s only been one other time there have been two players on the cover, and in a year that had two transcendent tight ends take the NFL by storm, this is as good a year as any for a repeat. Antonio Gates, Jason Witten, Vernon Davis, and Tony Gonzalez used to dominate the conversation of the elite tight ends of the NFL; however, they all may have to take a back seat for Gronkowski and Graham this year because they were just that good.

Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers

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    Cam Newton – Cam Newton had as good a rookie season as any quarterback has ever had. Given the offense he came from, and the limited offseason preparation, there was no way to expect him to be this good this fast. Yet, he seems to posses every tool necessary to dominate for the next decade. He's the perfect football specimen for Madden lovers who want Vick’s elusiveness, Favre’s arm, and Brady’s pocket presence rolled into one player

Jim Harbaugh, HC, San Francisco 49ers

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    Jim Harbaugh – why not make a splash by having the only non-player (other than Madden) grace the historic cover (NOTE: As a 49er fan, I am scared to death of even mentioning this prospect). Harbaugh became one of the most recognizable NFL coaches last year with a fiery attitude and strong leadership characteristics that changed the culture of the 49ers in one season. Just imagine when he has a full offseason to set his vision for the team

Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions

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    Matthew Stafford –  remember the anticipation for the Thanksgiving day matchup between the Lions and Packers? The annual tradition of the Lions playing on Thanksgiving Day was barely watchable until Stafford helped Detroit become relevant again for the first time since Barry Sanders' last year with the team.

    If we’re keeping the Detroit-needs-some-love motif going, Stafford deserves consideration for his first full season as an NFL starter. He proved why he was a former No. 1 overall pick, throwing for over 5,000 yards last season. He is one half of arguably the best quarterback-wide receiver tandem in the league (alongside Calvin Johnson), which means Detroit, and those who play them in Madden, should have no trouble scoring points.

Terrell Suggs, OLB, Baltimore Ravens

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    Terrell Suggs – He was nearly unstoppable this past season with 14 sacks, and as the reigning defensive player of the year, that should warrant more than just passing consideration for Madden’s cover. Will he ever match the accolades of teammate, and future Hall-of-Famer Ray Lewis? Perhaps not, but at least he can match him in Madden cover appearances

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

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    Aaron Rodgers – despite the way the Packers season ended, one cannot understate how good Aaron Rodgers was last year. He walked away with the MVP trophy, and deservedly so, for having one of the best offensive seasons in NFL history. He certainly doesn't need the Madden cover to have arrived, but it’s hard to imagine him having any less than a perfect rating in the 2013 edition of the game.