Tennessee Titans RB Chris Johnson is now in the news due to statements made about how he should be the highest paid offensive player in the league and how he feels he has been slighted by not being offered the cover of Madden 11. Instead the cover athlete for the game, which will be announced prior to the draft, this year is being determined based on voting results. Drew Brees, Jared Allen, and Reggie Wayne are in the running.
“No one deserves to be there but me. I set the record”
Despite what Johnson says clearly Drew Brees earned the cover based on his performance and having led the Saints to the Super Bowl win. Even as Johnson put up some incredible numbers over the course of the season he never broke into what I saw as the top three most likely to be considered for the cover. It comes down to Johnson not being a capable spokesperson for the game. Anyone who has listened to him, or read his Twitter feed, or is now following his latest rants can easily understand why.
While that probably eliminated Johnson from reaching deeper consideration, it remains that EA overlooked serious questions about another player by nominating Jared Allen as one of the three players in the contest for the cover. Allen has three DUIs, which is bad enough, but also means who knows how many times he’s driven drunk and gotten away with it or if he continues to do it. Of course EA knew there was no chance he would win, they set up the contest in order to ensure Drew Brees was on the cover while at the same time offering a promotion. Regardless even including Allen in the discussion was puzzling.
The last thing a company needs right now from a cover athlete is someone that is overly emotional, unreliable, with the potential to be in the press for the wrong reasons. Tiger Woods, Gilbert Arenas, Michael Vick, and Tim Lincecum are just a few examples of players who have had issues during or following their cover appearances. TMZ has been pushing forward with plans for a spin-off site dedicated to sports which means more and more about players will be discovered. EA Sports, 2K Sports, THQ, SCEA, are increasingly taking potential for trouble into consideration and gradually moving towards the safer choices in cover athletes.