Calvin Johnson won fan voting for the Madden cover, defeating NFL Rookie of the Year Cam Newton in a bit of an upset. There were 20 million votes cast. Former teammate Roy Williams gave Johnson the colorful nickname. He’s 6-5 and 236 lbs, so if he wants to be called Megatron, who’s going to argue?
ESPN’s SportsNation announced the results with Johnson and Newton present. Voting was still going on during the
show, giving the athletes one last chance to stump. Newton declared his love of gaming and said his thumbs were official. The Detroit Lions standout kept it simple.
“I’m Megatron,” he said. “This is what I do.”
Johnson does do it well. In 2011 he had 96 receptions, 1,681 yards and 16 touchdowns. His time capsule moment from the season was a two-touchdown effort that helped Detroit erase a 24-point deficit against the Dallas Cowboys. That came after Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said the Cowboys had two receivers better than Johnson.
The receiver’s size and athletic ability make it almost impossible to stop him, even though opponents know he Detroit’s best player. He was already a tough player in Madden NFL 12. Being on the cover probably means a little more ratings love from designers.
Any discussion about the Madden cover and its history must mention “The Curse.” SportsNation’s Colin Cowherd got to ask Johnson the first question about it. The Lions star of course gave the standard answer about not being worried. Cowherd pressed, asking if he really had no fear he would roll his ankle Week 1. The audience on hand booed soundly. Yeah folks, blame the messenger.
Madden 12 cover boy Peyton Hillis had a bizarre year even by curse standards. He missed games due to illnesses including strep throat and had an all around horrible campaign. By year’s end, he had changed his mind about the curse. Now Hillis plays for the Kansas City Chiefs, where he’ll likely be a backup. That leaves us with two questions. First, will Megatron be able to survive the 2012 season? Second, how many votes for Johnson came from superstitious Carolina Panther fans?