Patrick Willis: The Next Victim of the Madden Cover Curse?

Jon SiddowayCorrespondent IApril 12, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 14:  Patrick Willis #52 of the San Francisco 49ers looks on during the NFC Divisional playoff game against the New Orleans Saints at Candlestick Park on January 14, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

And then there were four—including a member of the San Francisco 49ers

Patrick Willis, after defeating Victor Cruz, is in the semifinals for a chance to grace the cover of Madden NFL 13, EA Sports' immensely popular video game. 

He will now compete with Cam Newton—voting is already underway at—for a spot in the finals, with the ultimate winner to be announced on SportsNation on April 25 at 5 p.m. ET. 

Before casting a vote, 49ers fans must ask themselves a very serious question: Do I vote for my favorite player or am I believer in the "cover curse"?

Consider this growing list of victims: Daunte Culpepper, Marshall Faulk, Michael Vick, Donovan McNabb, Vince Young, Brett Favre, and most recently, Peyton Hillis. 

Following a breakout season in 2010 in which he rushed for 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns, Hillis was featured on the latest cover. The next season, he battled through injuries en route to a paltry 587 yards and three touchdowns.

And if you think defensive players are somehow curse-repellent, think again. Ray Lewis, arguably the greatest linebacker ever, was also bitten by the curse. After appearing on the cover in 2005, Lewis missed 10 games due to injury and failed to receive an invitation to the Pro Bowl—the only time that has happened in his career. 

The San Francisco 49ers need Willis on the field, and they need him to be curse-free. He's a star linebacker, tackling machine and the heart and soul of the entire team.  

So I implore you, fans:

Don’t play with fire, vote Newton.