Thursday, April 22, 2010

Not to be Superstitious or Anything...

Posted By on Thu, Apr 22, 2010 at 4:19 PM

There are many reasons to get excited about Drew Brees gracing the cover of "Madden 2011". For one, it puts the Super Bowl MVP on the cover of one of the most popular gaming franchises in the world and, as a result, his face will be in the home of nearly every video-game playing football fan in America. Positive national publicity for Brees, the Saints and the city of New Orleans is always a good thing and you can only congratulate the QB for his achievement.

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click to enlarge Drew Brees madden Cover

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Photo lifted from USAToday.com

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That being said, you could also name a few reasons why Saints fans should be yelling "OH SHIT". Specifically, there are 10 reasons to be worried and they're all the players that have graced the cover of Madden since the turn of the century. Yes, it's the dreaded "Madden Curse" and if you don't believe in it, then just look at the history behind it.

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Since 2002, 10 players have graced the cover of Electronic Arts' signature sporting franchise, and all but one (Larry Fitzgerald) suffered injuries or some other setback that upcoming season. Dante Culpepper set a record for fumbles and threw 23 interceptions when he was on the cover back in 2002, Michael Vick graced the cover the next season and then broke his leg before the regular season started, Marshall Faulk didn't run for 1,000 yards again after he was on the cover, and the list goes on. Ray Lewis, Donovan McNabb, Shaun Alexander, Vince Young, and Brett Farve were all on the cover in the following seasons and they all ran into some bad luck that affected them on the playing field. Fitzgerald, who shared the cover last year with Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers, was the only one who escaped the curse and actually made it to the Pro Bowl last season (though he did sit that out with an injury). Polamalu, on the other hand, was injured twice last season and the defending Super Bowl Champions Steelers failed to make the playoffs.

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There are many reasons not to believe the curse. Football players, after all, get injured all the time and many a player that wasn't on the cover of Madden has been injured and derailed his team's season (see: Brady, Tom). Also, not all of the Madden cover athletes were injured the season they were on the game. Aside from Fitzgerald, Culpepper just had a terrible season, and Lewis' season was just sub-par for the perennial Pro Bowl linebacker. Still, that leaves a lot of other players that were injured.

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Now I know that being in New Orleans people may tend to be a tad bit more superstitious than in other parts of the country, and so the news that Brees is on the cover of a notoriously jinxed sports game may come as unsettling news. The fact that Brees made it to the top of the football world after suffering a catastrophic injury makes it no less nerve-racking.

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I guess the only consolation may be that, well, if any athlete could break the Madden curse, it would be Brees. The Saints proved last season that all manner of superstition, bad-luck history and paranormal activity surrounding sports isn't founded in anything more than the belief that these things exist. The Saints won the Super Bowl for Chrissakes! Anything can happen.

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Though it probably won't hurt if Who Dats everywhere getting some gris-gris together for #9. You know, just in case.

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