's exceptional year just got a little bit better. (Elaine Thompson/AP)
It's been a pretty decent year for Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. He led the NFL in interceptions with eight in 2013, became Pro Football Focus' highest-rated cornerback by allowing a ridiculous 47.3 opposing passer rating, was an absolute shutdown corner in the postseason that led to Seattle's first Super Bowl title. He attended the White House Correspondents' Dinner, hung out with President Obama a bit, got re-acquainted with the Prez when the Seahawks were honored at the White House for their NFL title, and signed a $57.4 million contract extension. All in all, not bad for a fifth-round pick in 2011 out of Stanford who used to play receiver.
And now, to cap it all off, Sherman beat Panthers quarterback Cam Newton in the final of the Madden NFL 15 cover vote, which will put him in front of the biggest sports video game. There were about 10 million votes in total, and about 650,000 per matchup. Sherman beat Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery, Saints tight end Jimmy Graham, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and Newton to earn the Madden crown.
“Richard Sherman is a fantastic cover athlete selection by the fans,” said Anthony Stevenson, Vice President of Global Marketing for EA SPORTS in a statement. “Defense is a big focus for Madden NFL 15, and Sherman is one of the brightest defensive stars in the NFL. He shares the same energy and passion for the game as our ‘legion’ of Madden fans.”
The game premiered as John Madden Football in 1988, and Madden, the former Oakland Raiders head coach and longtime broadcaster, was the cover man for the first 14 years, either by himself or with players of the era in the background. Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George was the first player to get the cover by himself 2000, and over the years, Sherman is the third defensive player to attain that honor -- Ray Lewis had it in 2004, and Troy Polamalu in 2009.
Sherman will have to hope the Madden Curse, so named for the travails that frequently follow the cover stars, will pass him by. But with the year he's had, Sherman could be forgiven for believing all the luck is on his side.
“I don’t believe in curses,” Sherman said. “I believe in God.”