This year's bracket to determine who will be on the cover of NFL Madden 15 began on May 8th (the first day of the draft), but was a little different than brackets from the past few years. Every team was not represented, since the bracket began with just 16 players. Also, the theme of the cover vote was to feature a "young, next-generation-type athlete."
One would think that Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon could have been part of the original bracket, given the fact that he led the NFL in receiving yards last season. He was left off the bracket, though, and it wasn't because of his rumored suspension: the bracket began on May 8th, while the news about Gordon did not come out until May 9th. What about QB Johnny Manziel? According to Randy Chase, Sr. Director of North America Marketing, EA Sports, Manziel being part of the bracket was discussed:
"We talked about it, but the tough thing is, what if he’s not the starter?" says Chase. "You don’t want to run the risk of having a guy who hasn’t really done anything in the NFL yet, and may not even be the starter on his team, and then put that guy on the cover of Madden. I think some of our past Madden cover athletes would get a little mad at us for that."
I think there's a relatively high probability that Manziel will be featured on the cover of Madden at some point over the next few years. For now, the competition is down to just four players:
CB Richard Sherman vs. QB Colin Kaepernick
QB Cam Newton vs. QB Andrew Luck
The winner of each semi-final will advance to the finals. Who do you think will be voted to the cover? My pick would be Sherman. He responded to every challenge he received last year, and then in the closing moments of the NFC Championship game, he helped send the Seahawks to the Super Bowl. Sherman dominated his first- and second-round opponents (WR Alshon Jeffrey and TE Jimmy Graham). My other pick after Sherman would be Newton, who had a very matured season in 2013.