Polamalu out. Madden Curse strikes again?

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The video game industry has few superstitions as dogged as the Madden Curse.

With the recent release of the newest "Madden" football title – a video game institution with more than 1.5 million copies sold in August – sports fans are reminded of the bizarre coincidence that befalls whichever player poses for the game's cover.

Last night's Titan vs Steelers game saw "Madden 10" cover-boy Troy Polamalu leave the field with a knee injury. Reports hint that he'll be out for three to six weeks.

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Injuries are part of football, but Polamalu's misfortune fits a pattern. Most of the players that grace Madden's covers wind up missing a number of games that season. Yahoo broke it down:

2001: Eddie George. No injury.
2002: Daunte Culpepper. Missed five games, played poorly.
2003: Marshall Faulk. Missed six games. Never ran for 1,000 yards again.
2004: Michael Vick. Broke his leg, missed 11 games.
2005: Ray Lewis. Missed only one game.
2006: Donovan McNabb. Missed last seven games of the season.
2007: Shaun Alexander. Broke his foot, missed six games.
2008: Vince Young. Missed one game. But things didn't go well.
2009: Brett Favre. Missed no games. But did become insufferable.
2010: Troy Polamalu. Out 3-6 weeks with a knee injury.
2010: Larry Fitzgerald: TBD.

(Fitzgerald shared the spotlight with Polamalu on Madden's cover this year.)

Bret Favre disproved any lasting streak – and, really, several of these players only missed one game. But columnists are atwitter with spooky talk. Don't put much stock in a video game's effect on the real world – then again, what fun are sports without crazy theories?

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