NFL stars, beware! The Madden Cover Curse might just be after you.
EA Sports has decided to expand the pool of potential cover boys for Madden 2013 to 64 after opting for a field of 32 players in the online polling for last year's edition.
Fans still won't have the freedom to choose whomever they please from whichever team they prefer, with the candidates instead being handpicked by the developers before the voting is opened up to the public.
Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis somehow emerged as the winner of the competition for the 2012 cover, edging out Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick in the inaugural fan vote.
Both players were seemingly struck by the Madden Curse anyway. Hillis played in a career-low 10 games for the Browns last season amidst injuries, illness and an apparent contract dispute with the organization. As a result, Hillis finished the season with just 587 yards and three touchdowns on 161 carries.
Though, with that drop in production, at least Hillis won't have to worry about catching the curse twice.
As for Vick, he regressed considerably from his resurgent 2010 campaign, throwing for 18 touchdowns against 14 interceptions while fighting through a seemingly never-ending slew of beatings behind the Eagles' inept offensive line.
Superstars like Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Tom Brady can only hope their rampant popularity among NFL fans doesn't come back to bite them by way of the most dubious of honors—being pictured on the most popular sports video game franchise of all time.