The visages of some of the greatest players annually grace the cover of Madden Football. This year it’s the Detroit Lions’ Calvin Johnson, but is there a curse associated with one of the world’s most popular games?
Madden Football began employing NFL stars to don the
cover back in 2000 when marketing suggested John Madden’s mug was getting
stale. In the background of that edition
was Barry Sanders who never played a single down during the 1999-2000 season
and abruptly retired in his prime.
In 2001 Eddie George of the Tennessee Titans was the
first star to adorn the cover without Madden anywhere to be found. He had an excellent season in 2000 but his
bobbled catch was intercepted and returned for a touchdown, eliminating his
team from the playoffs. The following
season, his rushing average sunk to an all-time low due to injuries.
The curse has also haunted NFL luminaries such as the immortal Dante Culpepper (2002) and
everybody's favorite as a first ballot shoe-in for Canton, Vince Young (2008). Ok, so those guys never really had a career to speak of but
how about a pair of great players gone bad? Come on down Michael Vick (2004) and Ray Lewis (2005). Injuries plagued both superstars in the years
they graced the cover of Madden and Michael Vick's notorious stint as the
financier of a dog fighting ring would run his image and send him to prison a
few years later.
Faulk, Troy Polamalu, Drew Brees, Brett Favre and last year's victim, er, I
mean cover boy Peyton Hillis all experienced either significant injuries and/or
a significant decline in their level of play. After a season that saw Peyton Hillis go from hero to zero in the eyes
of the Dawg Pound, the bruising power back said, "Things didn't work in my
favor this year. There's a few things that happened this year that made me
believe in curses. Ain't no doubt about it."
Megatron gets the cover
had to be thrilled when management signed the 26 year old game changer to an
eight year extension believed to be in the neighborhood of 132 million
dollars. Nice neighborhood. However, he now has the dubious distinction
of being the newest face of Madden Football.
Madden Curse may put the fear of God into most fans, this is the town that
produced Eminem, Jack "the Doctor of Death" Kevorkian, Alice Cooper
and Madonna. You think Lions fans are worried about curses? May I remind you exactly where it is they
work and play? Before last year had you
ever heard anyone say, "I really like the way that Lions team is put
together?" If cities were assigned
meteorological terms, Detroit's new name would be Drizzle. If you live in Detroit you don't worry about
curses, you invented them.
Johnson is the biggest star to wear a Lion's uniform since Barry Sanders. He is 6'6" inches of Velcro when a pass
is thrown his way and 234 pounds of sinewy locomotion when the afterburners
kick in and he's headed for the endzone. Couple that with a team that finally gave the Detroit legions something
to cheer about last season and you're talking about a swagger that has been as
foreign to Motown as trees and butterflies.
Look the long and short of the Madden Curse is
that superstars coming off phenomenal seasons have only one place to go...down. While the spate of injuries is a bit
peculiar, let's not forget what sport these guys are playing. You've heard about that little concussion
problem the NFL has been dealing with recently? Yeah, it's a rough game and people get hurt. But I'm betting Megatron will be the one
dishing out the punishment this coming season...to secondaries all across the
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