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Monday, March 28, 2011
Madden cover: Bradford, Willis advance

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

The Seattle Seahawks' 12th Man has good company among NFC West also-rans in the race to grace the "Madden NFL 12" cover.

Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald also tasted first-round defeat in the online voting contest to determine a winner.

The St. Louis Rams' Sam Bradford cruised past Fitzgerald by a 57-43 percentage margin. Fitzgerald has already graced the cover. His status in the league is secure. Bradford represents that most marketable of qualities: vast untapped potential.

The 12th Man, meanwhile, put up a strong and presumably noisy fight against San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis, but it was not enough. Willis prevailed by a 54-46 percentage margin.

Bradford, listed as a No. 8 seed, is taking on No. 1 seed Aaron Rodgers in the second round. Willis, seeded seventh, is battling Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward, a No. 2 seed. Step between Willis and Ward at your own risk.

I fully expect a push for re-seeding if an NFC West representative prevails after Seattle won the division with a 7-9 record.