By Barry Janoff
March 21, 2013: If there was any talk that EA Sports' Madden NFL franchise was losing momentum, one need look no farther than the current voting process to see how popular the video game appears to be in its 25th anniversary.
EA Sports is, for the third year, enabling consumers to vote for the NFL athlete who will appear on the cover. To honor the game's quarter-century, the voting began with a bracket of 32 NFL legends pitted against each other and a bracket of 32 current NFL stars on the other side. One player from each will emerge victorious, for the right to face each other for the cover.
According to EA Sports, more than 21 million votes were cast in the first round, for Madden NFL 25, when half the field from each bracket were eliminated, not only besting last year’s week one tally but already topping the total number of votes for the entire Madden NFL 13 cover voting process.
Joe Montana, a Hall of Fame quarterback who played most of his career with the San Francisco 49ers, led all "old school" players with 640,000 votes, while Adrian Peterson, who was the NFL MVP this past season with the Minnesota Vikings, led the "new school" bracket with 594,000 votes, per the video game company. In addition, the Montana vs. Jake Delhomme match-up led the first round head-to-heads with more than 700,000 total votes.
Peterson and Hall of Famer Barry Sanders had the biggest margin of victories in the first round, with Peterson claiming 94% of the votes in his victory over Oakland Raiders' quarterback Carson Palmer and Sanders taking 95% of the overall vote against former Chicago Bears linebacker and current Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera.
Deion Sanders received 93% of the vote in his match-up and Montana 92%. Andrew Luck, the first-year quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts, had 89% of the vote in his match-up.
Concurrently, Von Miller defeated Victor Cruz with 51% of the votes, the closest margin in the opening round.
Montana also is leading the way for other current and former members of the 49ers, with Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice and current Niners' quarterback Colin Kaepernick joining Montana in the second round.
Among the most intriguing match-ups in the second round are Montana against Jerome Bettis, Dan Marion against Marshall Faulk, Sanders against Marcus Allen and Ray Lewis against LaDanian Tomlinson in the "old school" bracket; and Arian Foster against Julio Jones, Andrrew Luck against Clay Matthews, Rob Gronkowski against Darrelle Revis and Dez Bryant against Ray Rice in among the current players.
Peyton Hillis, then of the Cleveland Browns, won the first cover vote, which was conducted for Madden NFL 12. Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions won the vote last year for Madden NFL 13. The game was renamed Madden NFL 25 this year, instead of 14, to honor the franchise's silver anniversary.
Voting for the next round continues through March 27. Round three will be March 27-April 3, the quarter-finals April 3-10 and the semi-finals April 10-17. The final vote will be conducted April 17-24.
EA Sports has teamed with Pepsi Max, ESPN's SportsNation and the NFL Players Assn. to support the Madden NFL 25 vote. The game hits retail Aug. 27.
Madden NFL 25: Old, New, Curse
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