To borrow a line from Red Sox great Pedro Martinez, "I don’t believe in damn curses!"
And in all seriousness, I really don’t. Believing in some kind of hocus pocus like the infamous “Madden Curse” is on the same level of believing in goblins, fairies, Bigfoot and La Chupacabra.
But now, with the reports that Madden will feature TWO star players on the cover for the first time ever, the discussion of the curse is now more prevalent than ever.
Simply put, curses do not exist. But the Madden Curse is still an intriguing string of coincidences in which the cover star of the famed EA Sports franchise suffers some kind of trouble or trauma during the same season.
Eddie George was the original cursed star of Madden, when even though he had his best statistical season in 2000, he ended up bobbling a play at the end of the Titans’ divisional round game, which they lost.
George was never the same again.
Daunte Culpepper fell victim to the curse in 2001, as he stumbled to a 4-7 record with the Vikings before sustaining a season-ending knee injury.
Marshall Faulk dealt with injuries throughout his year on the cover (2002), and never recovered.
Michael Vick fractured his right fibula one day after Madden 2004 was released with his mug on the cover. Four years later, he would become one of the most infamous athletes in history.
Ray Lewis was not as unfortunate as other cover boys, but he did miss the final game of the 2004 season, which the Ravens lost, leaving them out of the playoffs that season.
Donovan McNabb, the 2006 cover boy, suffered a sports hernia in the first game of the 2005 season, and never recovered that season.
Shaun Alexander graced the cover in 2007, but suffered a broken foot during the concurrent season and miss six games.
Vince Young, the 2008 cover boy, missed a game with an injury for the first time in his football career, then ended up losing his job in 2008.
Even through all these, I still don’t believe in the curse. I try not to believe in any kind of superstitious nonsense. The cases for Lewis and Young’s curses are stretches. It seems like one of the new 2010 cover stars will sit out a quarter and that will be the excuse for them being cursed.
I wish someone would just put together an MVP season while on the cover so they can put this silly “curse” to rest altogether.
So what does the 2009 season have in store for the Madden 2010 cover boys, Larry Fitzgerald and Troy Polamalu? Time will tell. But if something bad happens to both of these bona fide stars, I honestly might become a believer. A double-curse would be too eerie to not at least consider it.
Fitzgerald spoke with ESPN today as the story broke.