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March Madness, NFL Style: DeMarcus Ware a Madden Cover Boy?

While in the midst of a lockout, the NFL owners and players these days can't even agree on what they disagree on. What to do for a football junkie?

I know, let's have a March Madness-style tournament, the winner of which gets as his prize: The cover of the Madden 2012 video game.

Wait, what? Isn't that more of a jinx than an honor?

Nevertheless, Dallas Cowboys' linebacker DeMarcus Ware is among 32 players -- seeded 1 through 16, in two groups -- vying for next year's cover. Voting is being conducted by ESPN, with the winner announced on some show called SportsNation. Balloting for the first round ends Sunday with the eventual champion announced during the NFL Draft April 27. Two thoughts:

1. Kinda genius. I'm into it.

2. Looks to me like EA Sports has pegged Ware as so much Virginia Commonwealth. He's a huuuuge underdog in the first round against, yep, Michael Vick.

For some reason they didn't break the groups into conferences, but into...who knows?

GROUP 1

1 Philip Rivers, Chargers vs. 16 Darren McFadden, Raiders

2 Hines Ward, Steelers vs. 15 Carlos Dunlap, Bengals

3 Michael Vick, Eagles vs. 14 DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys 

4 Drew Brees, Saints vs. 13 Josh Freeman, Buccaneers

5 Mark Sanchez, Jets vs. 12 Jake Long, Dolphins

6 Andre Johnson, Texans vs.11 Chris Johnson, Titans

7 Patrick Willis, 49ers vs.10 The 12th Man, Seahawks

8 Julius Peppers, Bears vs. 9 Adrian Peterson, Vikings

Breakdown: Tough matchup for Ware in that Vick is alarmingly popular. I'm also betting on Sanchez, though how great would it be for a Bengal named Dunlap to grace the sacred space? Also, The 12th Man is stupid.

GROUP 2

1 Aaron Rodgers, Packers vs. 16 Ndamukong Suh, Lions

2 Matt Ryan, Falcons vs. 15 Jordan Gross, Panthers

3 Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars vs.14 Dwight Freeny, Colts

4 Danny Woodhead, Patriots vs. 13 Steve Johnson, Bills

5 Hakeem Nicks, Giants vs. 12 Brian Orakpo, Redskins

6 Jamaal Charles, Chiefs vs. 11 Tim Tebow, Broncos

7 Ray Rice, Ravens vs.10 Peyton Hillis, Browns

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8 Sam Bradford, Rams vs.9 Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals

Breakdown: The first ever 16 over 1 upset in Suh over Rodgers. Seriously, I wouldn't be shocked if Tebow's followers pushed him to win this bracket.

Projected Final Four: Suh vs. Tebow; Vick vs. Sanchez.

Projected Title Tilt: Vick over Tebow. Or, if you like, Dog over God.

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