For professional athletes, having your name and/or face on a product is typically a good thing. That generally means you are endorsing a product and basically making more money. Sounds like a good thing right?
Yes, unless it is the cover of the latest version of Madden Football.
Athletes are a superstitious lot, and for the NFL the dreaded Madden curse is one of the worst superstitions there is. While it may sound silly, ever since EA Sports took John Madden off the cover starting with the 1999 edition of the game something has happened to all but one of the cover boys.
Nine have suffered injuries that forced them to miss all or a part of the season. Barry Sanders ended up retiring before the season even started (2000). A number of them had the worst season of their careers, experienced some kind of low, or began their downward spiral at that point. For some it just seemed like bad luck.
Eddie George never averaged over 3.4 yards a carry again. Daunte Culpepper set the single season fumbles record to go with 23 interceptions. Marshall Faulk’s career nose-dived. Brett Favre had a lousy season with the Jets and had the Jenn Sterger scandal. Drew Brees doubled his interceptions then got beat by the only team to ever make the playoffs with a losing record (Seattle Seahawks).
Then there was last season’s cover boy, Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis. He hit the trifecta of curse whammies. Not only did he miss time (six games), his on-field production sucked, and he eventually lost his job (when he got traded to the Chiefs).
Superstitions are no joke. Ask any athlete and he’ll tell you as much. No one will admit to believing in them, but every player has at least one. Former Ravens head coach Brian Billick said it well when he stated that he wasn’t superstitious, but didn’t want his stars anywhere near that game.
Larry Fitzgerald is the sole player not to have anything bad happen that season. He was on the ’10 cover. During the 2009 season he had 97 receptions for 1092 yards and 13 touchdowns. Then again he did lose Kurt Warner and Anquan Boldin at the end of the season…
It’s down to Cam Newton and Calvin Johnson with voting taking place through next Wednesday.