The public has spoken, and Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman will be on the cover of Madden NFL 15 when it's released this August.
When the game was announced in late April, Electronic Arts said it would once again turn to fans to decide who would be the game's cover star. A March Madness-style bracket was created, and 16 players in all were in contention--if you'd actually consider it to be 'in contention' in a popularity contest between Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery versus Sherman, or Redskins (yes, they're still called that) running back Alfred Morris versus Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.
Roughly 10 million votes in total were cast during the tournament, which allowed fans to vote online once per day. Sherman did face some difficult competition after getting past Jeffery, including Saints tight end (read: wide receiver) Jimmy Graham, 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick, and, in the finals, Panthers QB Cam Newton.
By winning, Sherman becomes the first cornerback to ever get the cover star treatment, which--since John Madden himself stopped appearing on the cover after Madden 2000--has typically been dominated by quarterbacks and running backs.
Even if you don't follow the NFL closely, it's possible you've heard of Sherman, either because he played on this year's Super Bowl-winning Seahawks team or because he has a propensity for trash talk. The latter has earned him scorn; despite arguably being the best cornerback in the league, he's done and said things that have caused him to be viewed as a poor sport (or worse). As demonstrated in the essays he's written, though, he's actually a very thoughtful individual.
Having a defensive player on the cover of Madden 15 is fitting, given EA's focus on defense for this year's game. Along with prettier graphics (including authentic tattoos) and an improved presentation, the defensive side of the game has been overhauled. New pass-rushing moves, an "intuitive" tackling system, and upgraded coverage logic are among the changes which promise to give players a better chance at shutting down the opposing offense. There's also a new "crowd-sourced recommendation engine" for suggesting plays to select based on games played online, which sound questionable in theory to me given the bad play-calling I've seen online in my time. (Fourth down typically means you punt!)
Madden 15 will be available on August 26 in North America and August 29 in Europe on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. Expect to hear much more about the game next week during E3.