Cam Newton in 'Madden 13' final four

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has taken another step toward being on the cover of "Madden NFL 2013."

Newton has advanced to the final four of the Madden 13 Cover Vote. He’s up against San Francisco linebacker Patrick Willis in this round. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Detroit receiver Calvin Johnson are squaring off in the other semifinal.

I’ll leave it up to you if you want to vote for Newton or not. I know there is a contingent of Carolina fans that are apprehensive about this due to the alleged Madden Curse. It’s understandable because a fair amount of players who have graced the cover have had injuries or down seasons. But there have been exceptions, including one from the NFC South. That was Drew Brees, who was on the 2011 cover. Brees had a very good 2011 season, although the Saints were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by Seattle.

I understand the fear Carolina fans have about seeing Newton on the cover. But I’m all for seeing him on there. I think it would be good national exposure for a franchise that has had a few down years. I also think it would be good for the NFC South, a division in which fans sometimes have a bit of complex about other divisions and teams in larger markets getting more attention.

The Panthers never have had a player featured on a Madden cover. Brees and former Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick (2004) are the only NFC South players that have earned the honor.