Michael Vick: Why Gracing the 2012 Madden Cover Would Be Bad News

Bob QuaintanceContributor IApril 10, 2011

PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 21:  Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs for a touchdown against Kenny Phillips #21 of the New York Giants in the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on November 21, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images)
Michael Heiman/Getty Images

Do you believe in curses?

If you are one of the multitudes of Eagles fans out there that has an inclination to the superstitious, then you may want to think twice before voting for Michael Vick to grace the cover of EA Sports' Madden NFL 2012.

By now, almost every fan of the Madden series has heard of the dreaded "Madden Curse," which has supposedly affected nearly every player that has been featured on the cover of the game, since the tradition began in 1999.

This year, EA Sports is trying something new with its selection process: allowing fans of the game to vote for their favorite player in a bracket-style competition. Each of the 32 NFL teams were allowed one representative in the tournament, and after his near-MVP year, Michael Vick was the natural choice for Philadelphia.

After blazing past DeMarcus Ware and Andre Johnson in the first two rounds, Vick has now made it to the "Elite Eight", where he faces relatively easy competition from the 49ers' Patrick Willis. All signs point to Vick having a legitimate shot at becoming the first player to ever appear on the cover of Madden twice, but would that be such a great thing?

The last time Vick made his face available to gamers around the world was on the cover of Madden NFL 2004. The following season, the "curse" took effect. Vick, then a member of the Falcons, fractured his right fibula during preseason and missed the first 12 games of the regular season. The Falcons finished in the basement of the NFC South at 5-11 that year.

A similar fate awaited many of the athletes who succeeded Vick on the cover of Madden, the most notable of them being Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander. The reigning MVP appeared on the cover of Madden NFL 2007 and sustained a fractured left wrist, a sprained knee and a sprained ankle the following season. After his production experienced a sharp drop-off, the record-setting Alexander was cut from the team and quickly faded from relevance.

Could a similar fate await Vick should he be voted onto the cover of Madden NFL 2012? Not necessarily, since many football analysts, such as the good folks at Pro Football Reference, have pointed out that the "curse" merely represents a typical regression toward the mean coupled with random chance.

Still, if you're an Eagles fan and you have a say in whether or not Vick's visage is plastered on Madden's latest cover, would you leave anything to chance?