Chat with Anthony Stevenson
First round voting ends Monday.
Stevenson helped choose the players and prepare the bracket for the contest that ends April 26. Each round's winners will be announced on SportsNation, which airs weekdays at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN2. To participate in EA Sports' Cover Vote bracket challenge, go to their Facebook page.
Send your questions now and join Stevenson Friday at 4:30 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (4:24 PM)
EA Sports' Anthony Stevenson, who heads up the Madden 12 Cover Vote, will be here at 4:30 p.m. ET to chat!
Buzzmaster (4:29 PM)
Anthony is here!
Jeremy (Chicago, IL)
What player(s) do you regret not making the bracket for the madden 12 cover?
Anthony Stevenson (4:30 PM)
Good question. I wish there were two spots for the Packers. If so, I would have loved to have Clay Matthews and his wavy locks grace the cover. That's the biggest one.
Michael Wyatt (Savannah, Ga)
The person that should go on the cover is Clay Matthews his dominating defensive prowess led Green Bay to the Super Bowl
Why no big players like Brady and Manning?
Anthony Stevenson (4:32 PM)
I would argue that there are plenty of big players in the bracket. But as far as those players, Tom Brady has been great and he's deserving. But Woodhead was a special story this year. Seeing him on Hard Knocks and the cut to cover storyline was too good to pass up. I think the voting will show that.
Anthony Stevenson (4:33 PM)
Manning could be on the cover any year as well. BUt this year, the Colts weren't as prolific as years past. It felt off to put Manning up there when he didn't have as good a year as in the past. Freeney is a beast and I have no doubt that Manning and Brady will have a chance to be on the cover in the future.
How did you come up with the seeds for each player? Some of the guys that had the most note-worthy seasons are seeded way too low (Suh at 16??) and some players who are undeserving are seeded way too high (Sanchez at 5? Hines Ward at 2???).
Anthony Stevenson (4:34 PM)
That's a great question. There are a lot of factors and variables that went into it. You're factoring the size of the market, their career journey or career story. While Suh had a great year, he's still only in his second year and the Lions weren't that good. Then with Hines Ward, he's had a great career, the Steelers have a strong market. That what went into the seeding.
Cornelius (Columbus, GA)
Who do you guys personally think should be on the Madden 12 game cover, despite the voting bracket?
Anthony Stevenson (4:35 PM)
I think Aaron Rodgers doing his belt celebration would be my dream cover if my vote represented 100% of the popular vote.
Why not Brandon Lloyd for the Broncos? He had a huge year!
Anthony Stevenson (4:36 PM)
Again it goes back to story. Tim Tebow has an incredible fan base in just his second year in the league. Look at his jersey sales for the year. We want guys with a passionate fan base that want to see their guy on the cover. Tim Tebow is that guy.
There are some real head-scratchers on this bracket....guys that don't even deserve to be there, like Mark Sanchez, Carlos Dunlap, Hines Ward and Tim Tebow....but my problem is with the Offensive Linemen. Can you HONESTLY see an O-lineman on the cover of Madden? There's no way that can help the sales of the game. Why not replace Gross and Long in this bracket with guys that are both deserving AND popular (such as Megatron, Darrelle Revis, etc.)?
Anthony Stevenson (4:38 PM)
Firstly, I agree with you, but that's why we're doing a vote. Every year we have fans, players, agents asking why can't their guy be on the cover. Why not a kicker or other guy? That's why we went with OL. There wasn't a guy that stood out for Carolina, that's why we went with Gross. And Dunlap in Cincinnati, because if you look at the team, there are a lot of guys there that want out. And Dunlap had 9.5 sacks there. Mark Sanchez is a leader in New York and if they're going to win the Super Bowl, he's going to have to lead the way.
N. Stewart (California)
What do you think will be the biggest upset/surprise in this year's bracket?
Anthony Stevenson (4:40 PM)
Watch out for Jake Long to upset Mark Sanchez. The Madden NFL Studios where we make the game in Florida and the Dolphins are really getting behind him. For a lineman to get the cover, I think some people are interested in that. I could see the upset happening.
If 12th Man wins what could be a special "fan" feature in the game?
Anthony Stevenson (4:41 PM)
If the 12th Man won the cover, the coolest thing would be what we would do with the cover. Matt Hasselbeck on the cover with a bunch of fans? I think coming up with that idea would be something interesting to do. I could see the whole city of Seattle coming to the photo shoot.
I don't agree with Andre Johnson and Chris Johnson Andre facing off in the first round. They are each tops at their respective positions.
Anthony Stevenson (4:42 PM)
First and foremost, we wanted to have division rivals. That was the No. 1 thing that we had. The battle of Johnson vs. Johnson seemed too good to pass up.
If Brees wins, will he actually get to be on the cover again?
Anthony Stevenson (4:43 PM)
Absolutely. Drew Brees is one of the most humble athletes that we've been fortunate to work with. I know he wants it. He was an amazing spokesman for the brand. We would love to have him again.
Cheesehead Sports Nut (Chicago, IL)
With the PS3 and XBox 360 adding the motion capabilities that mirror the Wii, will EA be able to incorporate that for the next version of Madden?
Anthony Stevenson (4:44 PM)
If new technologies come out, that's always something we've looked to incorporate, but it's always trying to get that to work with an NFL football game. It's something that we'll look at down the road.
Have players been campaigning for themselves? And who's been the most enthusiastic about it?
Anthony Stevenson (4:45 PM)
I would say 80% of the bracket. Any player who's on Twitter have been campaigning. Tebow, Vick, Charles, Orakpo, Rodgers, Fitzgerald, Suh, Jones-Drew. All of those guys have been very active. There are a bunch of fan pages on Facebook to get their guy through the bracket.
I think that the most exciting player in the NFL is Desean Jackson. I understand the whole one player from a team thing, but Vick already got the honor, and you can argue that Jackson was the Eagles best player.
Anthony Stevenson (4:46 PM)
Who had to throw Jackson the ball?
David (Washington, DC)
Have any players expressed concerns about "the curse"?
Anthony Stevenson (4:47 PM)
No. I think all of the players don't buy into the curse. They want to believe that their success on the field is 100% in their hands. They all grew up playing Madden and they would love to be on the cover. They don't worry about that kind of thing.
Anthony Stevenson (4:49 PM)
Get on to the Madden Facebook page to fill out your brackets, because I'm sure your NCAA tournament ones are blowing up already. You can win Super Bowl tickets, copies of Madden NFL 12 the day it comes out. Tune into SportsNation at 4 p.m. ET on Monday to see the first round results.