EA Sports has recently been touting an announcement that would drum up some interest in Madden 12 while we're stuck in the post-fun part of March Madness and the lull before the Opening Day and the NBA/NHL playoffs. Usually there's no new information until closer to draft time but here we are with the first information about Madden 12…how the cover athlete will be chosen! Like last year it will be voted on by the fans but to ride the wave of the season, the voting will be done in a bracket-style tournament. March Madness will take on a new form this year and like with NCAA Basketball, the champion won't actually be decided in March. Keep reading after the jump for more information on the bracket and candidates as well as more preliminary information on Madden 12.
Like last year, where Drew Brees triumphed to reign supreme on the Madden 11 cover, Aaron Rodgers goes in as the prohibitive favorite for this year's edition, garnering one of the no. 1 seeds with Philip Rivers strangely getting the nod on the other side. Sure he's awesome but the Chargers stink. There are many other inexplicable choices in the bracket.
Hines Ward is a no. 2 seed though it'll be a cold day in hell when a receiver who barely gets 1,000 yards a year is on the cover. It's probably just a case of him being the most prominent player on the Super Bowl runner-up who isn't an alleged criminal or a moron or who has been on the cover before. Danny Woodhead has received a no. 4 seed while Tom Brady and Peyton Manning didn't make the field presumably because of licensing/price issues that we don't know about so I'll give EA the benefit of the doubt there.
Julius Peppers, star of the NFC North Champion Bears, and Adrian Peterson, only good player on the Vikings offense, go head to head in round one, immediately knocking out one of the most prominent NFL players right away, adding a bit more intrigue to the opening rounds for EA. They might as well try to drum up some interest early and keep it going.
They threw in the requisite players from bad teams with Steve Johnson, Carlos Dunlap and even Tim Tebow. Now I love Tebow but if he's on the cover of this game there's a problem. But don't rule out all of his fans. People really, really love this guy. I doubt he'll overcome somebody like Rodgers but it wouldn't be crazy for him to crack the Final Four by beating Jamaal Charles, Maurice Jones-Drew and Matty Ice, who's probably chiefly remembered for his team's stink bomb against Green Bay in the playoffs.
There's also the matter of the 12th Man from Seattle being thrown in but not as the 12th seed. They're a 10 for what that's worth. They're not going to win but hey they were a playoff team so I guess they deserve some representation.
Michael Vick, dog lover, has also been inserted as a no. 3 seed for his stellar, MVP-esque performance last year. That's probably not going to get good PR but any PR is good when you're just trying to generate interest for a competition. And hey, he was on the cover of the best Madden in recent memory.
EA also released the upcoming schedule on blogs being released through their website for preliminary information on Madden 12:
April 28th: Xbooks (No I have no idea what that could mean and I'm not going to try to guess) and presentation
May 16th: Franchise (which hopefully has the full mode overhaul we've all been waiting for since NFL Head Coach showed us what it could be) and Superstar Mode (does anyone still play this?)
June 20th: Madden Ultimate Team (Awesome! Now I don't have to pretend my Pokemon cards are playing football!)
July 25th: Online (Last because it's basically just normal gameplay whether you accept that or not)