ESPN announced the finalists on Twitter:
While the bracket started with 16 players at various positions, it was the semifinals that truly gained the excitement of fans.
On one side of the bracket, there was a reestablishment of what has become the best rivalry in football between the Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers. These two teams have battled back and forth on and off the field, most recently with Seattle winning the NFC Championship Game.
This Madden vote once again put Sherman and Kaepernick against each other, which led to the 2013 NFL leader in interceptions sending a message on Twitter:
By the end of the voting period, the results were not even close, as Sherman gathered 65 percent of the vote.
The other semifinal was much closer, with Newton edging Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts. Jonathan Jones of The Charlotte Observer had the final results:
Luck and Newton are former No. 1 picks and rising stars at quarterback.
Both players led their teams to the divisional round of the playoffs this past season, but Newton went deeper into the Madden bracket.
It now comes down to two men who took very different routes to get to this point. Each player was selected in the 2011 draft, but while Newton was the first name off the board, Sherman had to wait until the fifth round.
Now, they will hope to have their face on one of the most famous video game franchises of all time. The cover has included high-profile players like Calvin Johnson, Drew Brees, Brett Favre and others in recent years.
Then again, not all of the athletes ended up building off the popularity, as sports talk radio host Benjamin Allbright points out:
Still, this is a big honor for whichever player wins the vote, as it is a sign of respect from the fans. Whoever wins, he will just have to make sure to avoid the "Madden curse" that has seemingly ruined so many seasons in the past.
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