The popularity of a quarterback is tough to overcome, something Alfred Morris knows. He also knows he entered the NFL as a sixth-round pick and ran through linebackers en route to a record-breaking rookie season.
So taking on Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck? No worries here.
“Nothing against Andrew Luck, but he has to go down,” Morris said.
This is what the sporting world has come down to: Athletes competing to advance in a competition to be on the next cover of "Madden 15." And Morris is taking on Luck. There's even seedings. Morris is a 7-seed; Luck is a 2-seed. There are two brackets and 16 players vying for the top spot. This is life after the draft and before minicamps.
Yes, Morris absolutely wants to be on the cover.
“I grew up playing the game and to be in the game is like, wow, mind-blowing,” he said. “Now to have an opportunity to be on the cover is like, mind explodes.”
No, he’s not worried about the curse. There’s a history of players getting hurt or having disappointing seasons – or both – after landing on the cover. Detroit’s Calvin Johnson broke the so-called curse last season with 84 receptions and 12 touchdowns.
“No, no, no, no curse,” Morris said by phone from Bristol, Connecticut, where he was making the rounds at ESPN. “I always thought the curse was a coincidence. Calvin broke the curse. If anything I should want to be on the cover.”
It’s yet another heady moment for a guy who, two years ago at this time, was an unknown sixth-round pick who drove an old Mazda. He then helped lead the Redskins to the playoffs with a club-record 1,613 yards rushing as a rookie. His home-run swing after touchdowns became a fan favorite.
And now he’s making commercials to land on the cover of "Madden." By the way, the commercial is quite funny. Morris told an "interviewer" that he should be on the cover because he’s never late. They cut to a shot of him rewinding a clock in a workout room 10 minutes. He says he’s a great role model; cut to a shot of him watching a game with a young kid and then yelling after a big play, “Don’t cry to me, cry to your mama!” Another one: He says he’s financially responsible; cut to him getting something to eat, looking for $4.50 in his wallet, finding nothing and then sprinting away with his sandwich.
“I loved it,” Morris said.
For a guy who doesn’t always want the spotlight, he’s comfortable in this role.
“I’m not an attention seeker, but I accept certain things that come with [success],” Morris said. “It’s an opportunity to be on the cover. Who wouldn’t want to do that?”
Now he just hopes fans vote for him rather than Luck.
“A quarterback has more [of a] following than a running back,” Morris said. “But I still like my chances. I’ve always been an underdog.”