By: Emmett Schindler
In early May, EA Sports announced that the cover of the new Madden NFL 17 video game will be New England Patriot tight-end Rob Gronkowski. As it stands as a great accomplishment for the already talented player, one thing lingers in the minds of him and Patriot fans, the infamous “Madden Curse.”
Each year, EA either picks a player or has fans vote for the cover of Madden NFL. The player chosen performed very well the previous season, being an example of a star athlete in the NFL. The “Madden Curse,” or “Madden Cover Jinx,” states that the player selected as the cover of Madden will not have as good of a season as they did the previous season.
Player injuries are the most common of the curses. It all started with the first cover for Madden ever, Madden ’99, with 49ers Garrison Hearst on the front, who ended up breaking his ankle in the playoffs, missing the next two seasons and never being the same again, according to digitaltrends.com. Vikings Dante Culpepper appeared on Madden 2002, only to get a season ending knee injury and then throwing 23 interceptions to 18 touchdowns the following season. Madden 2004 had Falcons Michael Vick on the cover, possibly one of the most explosive quarterbacks to play the game, but then fractured his right fibula in a preseason game, missing the first eleven games of the season and later going to prison. Check out many more through the hyperlink.
Other curses include unfortunate performances and poor seasons. The 2001 cover, Eddie George, led the Titans to the playoffs in a powerful season, only to fumble the ball late, costing them the game. Marshall Faulk, cover of Madden 2003, failed to reach over 1000 rushing yards in any season after, something he had never done. Likely the strangest Madden cover was Brett Favre in 2009 when he announced his retirement, but then changed his mind, joined a new team, and was not the true Brett Favre again.
Despite many people not believing in jinxes, Rob Gronkowski needs to be worried. Even if he does not believe in the curse, it will be in the back of his mind haunting him for every practice and every game.
“Personally I would want my favorite player to be on the cover so he could have the recognition for a well known game,” Santiago Rojas said.
The exceptions to this curse stand out. Calvin Johnson was the cover for Madden 2013 and had a spectacular next season, breaking records for the wide receiver position. Also, Madden 2015 with Richard Sherman broke the curse, when he had another solid defensive year and reaching the Super Bowl for the second season in a row. These few exceptions stand out, but it is not enough for Gronkowski to feel relived.
Injuries, poor performances, and unfortunate mistakes stand as the results of the Madden curse, worrying every new cover player. Super Bowl winning Rob Gronkowski needs to be careful to make sure not to fall victim to another Madden curse.