OK, I admit it – I’m not a gamer – never have been, probably never will be.
So if I’ve offended you already – sorry about that.
Maybe it’s because all three of my children are girls and while many of you were joining Little League and throwing the football around the yard, I was playing Barbie and dreaming of ponies.
While you were learning how to operate joysticks with your dads, I was watching Cinderella and setting the table for tea parties, so you have to excuse me if Madden hasn’t been ingrained in the culture of my household.
But as a football fan, of course, I’ve had a fleeting interest in the cover art of each season’s game … Maybe another influence of my girls’ interest in all things artsy.
And so in honor of my love of football, I direct your attention to Madden 12 – but in honor of my girls, I’ll focus on how the art of the cover has affected the game … Yes, we’ll talk about the jinx.
While I don’t wish any harm to this year’s cover boy, Peyton Hillis, the odds are really stacked against him.
All those who have appeared on the cover have done so at the height of their careers – after a huge statistical season.
That said, I was highly relieved when Hillis beat out Aaron Rodgers for the “honor” of gracing the cover. Does that mean Rodgers is still at the top of his game?
But in looking back, it seems being on the cover isn’t a good thing.
To prove this point, consider this information I am posting from wikipedia.
Take a look and you decide:
After Eddie George appeared on the 2001 cover, the Tennessee Titans lost in the 2001 playoffs. George also never averaged more than 3.3 yards per carry for the rest of his career.
Daunte Culpepper led the Minnesota Vikings to the playoffs in 2000, but after appearing on the Madden 2002 cover, he threw 23 interceptions as the Vikings slumped to a 5–11 record. He also broke the record for most fumbles in a single season. While his career looked to be back on track in 2004 with a career season, he blew out both knees in 2005 and 2006 and never resembled the player he was at the start of the decade.
Marshall Faulk appeared on the 2003 cover, and his career (and the success of the St. Louis Rams) severely declined afterwards. He did not register another 1,000 yard rushing season and his yards per carry average dropped from a consistent 5.4 over the previous three years to 4.5 in 2002 and 4.0 in 2003 and 2004. He started 21 out of a possible 32 games from 2002–03 as knee injuries got the better of him. He underwent reconstructive knee surgery in 2005 and retired that same year.
After appearing on the cover of Madden NFL 2004, Michael Vick broke his leg in pre-season and missed the first 12 games, with the Atlanta Falcons going 5–11.
Ray Lewis, 2005 cover athlete and middle linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, had his season cut short in week 15 with a wrist injury. It was also Lewis’ first season without an interception.
In 2006, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and meniscus in his right knee while jumping out of bounds in a game versus the Tennessee Titans, ending his season. McNabb also suffered a sports hernia in the first game of the season.
Running back Shaun Alexander, then the league’s reigning Most Valuable Player, was featured on the cover of Madden NFL 2007, and sustained a foot injury that caused him to miss six starts. As a result, Alexander’s rushing statistics were substantially less than those from the previous season, and he never returned to true form. Alexander himself has asked, “Do you want to be hurt and on the cover, or just hurt?”
Madden NFL 2008’s cover featured Vince Young, the starting quarterback of the Tennessee Titans. Young missed one game of the 2007 season due to a minor injury, but for the rest of the season was roughly even with his 2006 performance. When Young appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live to officially announce that he would appear on the cover of Madden NFL 2008, he derided allegations of becoming the curse’s next victim, and stated, “I’ve done prayed about it and we’re gonna go home and try to get to the playoffs and try to get to the Super Bowl. We’ll see what happens.”
Brett Favre appeared on the cover of Madden NFL 2009 as a Green Bay Packer, under the impression that Favre was retired. However, shortly after the decision, Favre came back out of retirement and was traded to the New York Jets, which prompted EA to release a new cover online. Though he did not miss any games, he led the league in interceptions throwing 22. He later admitted to suffering a torn biceps injury, which Favre says may have affected his gameplay during the final five games of his first and only season with the New York Jets, who missed the playoffs at 9–7 after starting the season 8–3. Favre threw 2 touchdowns and 9 interceptions in the last 5 games of the season. He was also involved in a sexting scandal with Jenn Sterger at this time and was fined $50,000 by the NFL in 2010.
On September 10, 2009, Larry Fitzgerald, wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals and safety Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers, were both featured on the cover of Madden NFL 10. Polamalu sprained his MCL in the first half of the season opener and missed the next four games. After returning, Polamalu played in three more games before injuring his posterior cruciate ligament on November 14, 2009 against Cincinnati, and missed more games as a result. Fitzgerald, on the other hand, started all 16 regular season and both playoff games for the Cardinals. He did not attend the pro bowl due to a rib injury, leaving Steve Smith of the New York Giants, to take his spot in the 2010 Pro Bowl. He recorded 97 receptions (third-most of his NFL career), 1,092 yards (fourth-most), and a career-high 13 touchdowns.
In 2007, GameSpot and CNBC reported that a large number of LaDainian Tomlinson’s fans, who believed in the Madden Curse, were strongly opposed to EA Sports’ initial decision to feature him on the 2008 cover, so much that a fan created SaveLTfromMadden.com to voice their disdain.
Tomlinson eventually declined the offer, but stated it was solely due to contract negotiations.
So, if there is indeed any truth to the jinx, let’s continue to keep all Packers off the cover.
That way I won’t have to worry about any possibility of outside forces affecting the real game.
And I can continue to ignore those who think I should be playing.
No thanks … I’m still dreaming of ponies.