NEW YORK -- Well, Panther fans don't have to worry about the "Madden Curse."
Detroit receiver Calvin Johnson beat Panther quarterback Cam Newton in fan voting in the finals of the Madden 13 cover competition Wednesday - a competition Cam had dearly wanted to win.
Newton had "Cam-paigned," as he put it, with a seven-minute homemade video seen by more than 148,000 on YouTube. But Johnson - nicknamed "Megatron" - still won in the finals of the 64-player competition. More than 20 million online votes were cast.
The results were announced on a large temporary stage in New York's Times Square, with both players present. Newton and Johnson hammed it up -- Cam more successfully than the softer-spoken Johnson -- for most of an hour with two ESPN2 "SportsNation" co-hosts before Johnson was announced as the winner and his image displayed on huge screens around Times Square.
Newton looked totally surprised when the announcement came, but then recovered well.
"I thought you guys loved me!" he joked to the audience of about 2,000 that was watching the TV show live in Times Square (I was among those in the audience -- I'm in New York already covering the NFL draft).
Then Newton congratulated Johnson. "Big ups to Megatron," he said, using Johnson's nickname.
Both Johnson and Newton said they didn't believe in the "Madden Curse." Traditionally, the player on the video game's cover has gone on the next season to have either an injury-plagued or a less productive year. Some Panther fans had gone so far as to vote against Newton, hoping to combat the curse.