Sorry, Lions fans, but yesterday marked the beginning of the end of Calvin Johnson’s thus-far illustrious career in the NFL, as the cover of the annual $60 roster update for the only console football game on the market was revealed at the team’s official blog with the highest paid receiver in the league being featured as the cover athlete. Johnson narrowly beat Cam Newton in a popular vote at ESPN.com, presumably pushed over the top by anxious Carolina fans not wishing to see their beloved sophomore quarterback on a stretcher this season, thereby receiving the questionable honor of gracing the cover of the default #1 football game.
I like the touch of adding the Ford Field and the Renaissance Center. This will surely resonate with Detroiters, who exhibit a deep connection to their city, as well as with the general American populace, who identify the economic hardships the city endured as representative of the national economic downturn, and its subsequent recovery with that of the national economy. If you don’t agree with that last point, just see the critical acclaim showered upon that Clint Eastwood commercial for Chrysler that aired during the Superbowl.
Anyways, that’s where my praise of this cover ends. Look at that expression — that’s the expression my one-year-old son gets when watching Baby Einstein videos. Perhaps here it is one of concentration, which is undoubtedly required to haul in a pass from an NFL quarterback, but this is a video game cover, not an in-game photo. Fierce determination is the only expression a football player should have on a Madden cover, whether it’s game-time accurate or not.
And what’s with the slack jaw expression? If we want to be game-time accurate, shouldn’t he be sporting a mouth-guard? If not, at least clench your teeth or something to emote some degree of the intensity and ferocity present in every NFL game. Now he just looks like he’s playing a game of Madden instead of the sport it simulates.
Finally, that paint coming off his arm and waist. I guess paint splashes have been par for the course with the last few Madden covers, but those lone two streaks just seem out of place. The paint splashes in those last covers were at least liberally applied around the athlete and background such that it blended into an overall theme. Here, I wouldn’t be surprised if at first glance someone thought they accidentally spilled some antifreeze on their new Madden game.
But that’s just me. What are your thoughts on the new cover?