No 'Cam-paign' for Calvin Johnson

April, 25, 2012
4/25/12
6:38
PM ET

I can't bring myself to write another word about the "Madden Curse."

It's real. It's not real. Is it going to ruin the Detroit Lions season? Is it going to enhance it? Are robots, including Megatron, immune? I have no idea. Like most intangible, mystical figments of the netherworld, it's difficult to pinpoint, understand and project consequences for.

So on the occasion of Lions receiver Calvin Johnson winning a national vote Wednesday to make the cover, let's not freak about the Madden Curse. Let's instead note how thoroughly impressive Johnson was on the SportsNation reveal show when compared to an insufferable, and presumably nervous, Cam Newton.

The Carolina Panthers quarterback strutted around the stage as if he believed he was a pre-ordained winner. For a moment I wondered if ESPN producers had informed him before the show that he had won. Just before the announcement, Newton jokingly (I think) said he would toss free copies of the game to the crowd "like Frisbees" if he won. Utimately his "Cam-pain" didn't work.

All the while, Johnson sat back, chuckled, and didn't have much to say. When the announcement was made, Newton said: "I thought you guys loved me." Johnson said: "People voted. They got what they wanted. I am very grateful for that. This is great."

I don't want to pick on Newton. In truth, his approach offered us yet another example of the best thing about the Lions' return to competitiveness: It has introduced the country to Johnson's genuinely understated and mature personality. For the same reason it was nice to see him rewarded with a $132 million contract in March, I'm glad that it's him and his Calvin Johnson Jr. Foundation will draw the attention that goes with the Madden cover. That's all.

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