'Madden' candidates need to go for jugular

It's time for Cam Newton and Calvin Johnson to take the gloves off and start the smear tactics. ESPN.com Illustration

Cam Newton and Calvin Johnson are the finalists for the "Madden NFL 13" cover. The online vote is now an annual, fun tradition for NFL fans and gamers alike.

One problem: This is a presidential election year. No national vote should be fun. It should be an ugly smearfest that seeks to destroy each candidate with unfair, personal attacks. Newton versus Johnson is important stuff -- perhaps even more important than the presidential election. The 19 million "Madden" votes cast so far dwarf the number of votes cast in this year's Republican primaries. I'm not kidding. (If this fact depresses you, here is a link with information on how to become a Canadian citizen.)

So let's stop playing nice and start shoveling filth.

Educational red flags

Newton: In four years of college, he bounced among three schools.

Johnson: Attended Georgia Tech, an elitist private institution.

Corporations they are beholden to

Newton: Under Armour, Gatorade, GMC.

Johnson: Acura, Nike, Brann's Steakhouse and Grille.

Pals around with ...

Newton: SEC; Rev. Cecil Newton.

Johnson: Ndamukong Suh; evil, alien robots bent on destroying Earth and enslaving humans.

Embarrassing photos

Newton: This one.

Johnson: Every picture of him wearing a Lions uniform pre-2011.


Newton: Stole a laptop in college ... allegedly.

Johnson: Forgot during a game against the Bears in 2010 that NFL rules stipulate a receiver must lie on the ground with the ball in his possession for 25 minutes in order to score a touchdown.

Comments pandering to women voters

Newton: "I also would like to thank my beautiful mother, Jackie Newton. ... This is not an award that in my opinion has been won by my play this year. This is an award that was won when I came out your womb. Thank you for everything you did for me.”

Johnson: "Bless my mom. Mom is everything to me."

This is a good start. The Newton and Johnson camps can take it from here. Not that it's necessary. Both men are clearly unelectable.