And then there were four...
At a time when there isn't any real professional football going on, and all apologies to the Arena League, the biggest drama in the NFL is limited to the draft in just over two weeks, and who will be on the cover of the Madden 2012 video game.
As a regular draft columnist, I'll continue to besiege you with draft intensive articles in the next couple of weeks just as I have done for the last few months.
But there are times for a fun diversion and while the temptation might be to dismiss a video game as silliness, the reality is that the game is as much a part of modern Americana as any other sport.
Consider that according to Alex Pham of the Los Angeles Times in 2009, "Madden NFL had sold 70 million copies and rung up more than $2 billion in sales." Current estimates seem to be in the neighborhood of 85 billion copies and $3 billion in sales since the games inception in 1988.
Simply put, Madden matters to people.
With the cover of the football game being as highly publicized as the game itself largely due to the theory of a curse on the player who receives the annual honor (after being on the cover, several players suffered serious injuries or had a decrease in performance), the hype machine has a found a new way to spur fan interest.
The face of the 2012 game is now being decided via a tournament style vote and we are left with four possible candidates: Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis and Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.
In the semi-finals, with the voting to be cast this week, Rodgers will face off against Hillis and Vick will be challenged by Peterson. The finals will occur next week.
Let's take a look at the different candidates, predict who will win, as well as who should win (since this may not be the same person):