Madden 25 Cover Vote: Bracket, Candidates and Predictions

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Madden 25 Cover Vote: Bracket, Candidates and Predictions
George Rose/Getty Images

What does the Madden curse do to legends of the game who have already hung up their cleats? 

I have no idea, but we may be about to find out. EA Sports is helping to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its iconic Madden franchise by including past legends like Joe Montana and Barry Sanders in their bracket-style voting that determines the face of Madden 25

 

Bracket: Check out the full bracket, where you can also vote, on ESPN.com

 

Old School No. 1

No. 1 Joe Montana vs. No. 16 Jake Delhomme

No. 8 Curtis Martin vs. No. 9 Jerome Bettis

No. 5 Marshall Faulk vs.No. 12 Clinton Portis

No. 4 Dan Marino vs. No. 13 Reggie Wayne

No. 6 Marcus Allen vs. No. 11 Tedy Bruschi

No. 3 Barry Sanders vs. No. 14 Ron Rivera

No. 7 Randall Cunningham vs. No. 9 LaDainian Tomlinson

No. 2 Ray Lewis vs. No. 15 Derrick Brooks

 

Old School No. 2

No. 1 Jerry Rice vs. No. 16 Fred Taylor

No. 8 John Randle vs. No. 9 Eddie George

No. 5 Michael Strahan vs. No. 12 Sterling Sharpe

No. 4 Kurt Warner vs. No. 13 Ozzie Newsome

No. 6 Tim Brown vs. No. 11 Chad Johnson

No. 3 Troy Aikman vs. No. 14 Deuce McAllister

No. 7 Jim Kelly vs. No. 10 Terrell Davis

No. 2 Deion Sanders vs. No. 15 Cortez Kennedy

 

New School No. 1

No. 1 Colin Kaepernick vs. No. 16 Antonio Gates

No. 8 A.J. Green vs. No. 9 Matt Forte

No. 5 Julio Jones vs. No. 12 Jimmy Graham

No. 4 Arian Foster vs. No. 13 Danny Amendola

No. 6 Von Miller vs. No. 11 Victor Cruz

No. 3 Russell Wilson vs. No. 14 Justin Blackmon

No. 7 Trent Richardson vs. No. 10 Clay Matthews

No. 2 Andrew Luck vs. No. 15 Jake Locker

 

New School No. 2

No. 1 Robert Griffin III vs. No. 16 Ryan Tannehill

No. 8 Doug Martin vs. No. 9 Matthew Stafford

No. 5 Ray Rice vs. No. 12 Luke Kuechly

No. 4 Dez Bryant vs. No. 13 C.J. Spiller

No. 6 Jamaal Charles vs. No. 11 Darrelle Revis 

No. 3 Rob Gronkowski vs. No. 14 Antonio Brown

No. 7 Patrick Peterson vs. No. 10 LeSean McCoy

No. 2 Adrian Peterson vs. No. 15 Carson Palmer

 

Predicted Bracket Winners

Old School No. 1

Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images
The Old School brackets are packed. While there are some lopsided first-round matchups, these contests will get tight in a hurry. 

I see this one coming down to No. 1 seed Joe Montana and No. 3 Barry Sanders. 

Montana is an iconic quarterback. His toughest challenge moving to the final of this bracket will come from Dan Marino, but just like he did in the Super Bowl, Montana will take down his rival.

Sanders will have to deal with the freshly retired Ray Lewis, and Lewis is coming off of a ton of press from his recent run with the Ravens to the Super Bowl. 

Still, I see voters going a little further back in the past and going for the human highlight machine that is Barry Sanders. 

Then, I see Sanders pulling off the upset of Montana. In an age where we are flooded with quarterbacks winning all the top prizes, fans will flock to the most exciting running back to ever carry the pigskin. 

Winner: Barry Sanders

 

Old School No. 2

Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
Another former 49er sits atop this bracket, as Jerry Rice holds the top seed, and Rice got a nice draw. 

I don't see anyone giving him a strong challenge until the bracket final. 

Things will get a little more interesting there, as Deion Sanders and Troy Aikman should wage in a tight battle to meet Rice. 

While Aikman will undoubtedly win Texas in a landslide, Deion will pull ahead by winning the rest of voters. Prime Time carved out an amazing and unique legacy, and fans will recognize him for that. 

However, it won't be enough to get past Rice. 

Winner: Jerry Rice

 

New School No. 1

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Colin Kaepernick's rapid ascent to stardom is acknowledged with his No. 1 seed. It is supposed to take longer than half a season of starter's duty for a player to get into this vote, but when you are as dynamic as Kaepernick, exceptions need to be made. 

I see the impression he made while taking the 49ers just a play away from the Super Bowl victory carrying him to the bracket final—where I see him facing Russell Wilson. 

Wilson is lined up for a showdown with Andrew Luck. While this should be close, I see Wilson's dual-threat nature and his team's playoff run pushing him to the victory. 

However, he will then have to suffer through coming up short to his division rival. 

Winner: Colin Kaepernick

 

New School No. 2

Andy Lyons/Getty Images
This should be the most competitive bracket of the bunch. 

Again, we have one of the NFL's young, multi-dimensional quarterbacks as the No. 1 seed. Robert Griffin III earns the honor, and it is not surprising. There is nothing he can't do on a football field, and he captured the nation's attention from his first game. 

He should be able to parlay that into the bracket final where he will face Adrian Peterson. 

Coming off what is arguably the most amazing season by a running back and an MVP award, Peterson will be an unstoppable force here.  

Winner: Adrian Peterson

 

Madden 25 Cover Winner: Barry Sanders

That's right. Barry Sanders will pull off this upset.

With the unique inclusion of retired greats, it is hard to see a current player winning the vote this year, and I don't see anyone stopping Sanders.  

In all my years watching football, I have never seen a player on the real field do more things that should only be possible in a virtual realm. 

Sanders' unique skill set and unbelievable highlight package will carry him all the way to this title. 

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