Today, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that Drew Brees, the QB for the champion Saints, had been chosen for the cover of Madden 2011, the latest installment of the top-selling Madden video game franchise. As sports fans know, a Madden cover is considered to be a major curse – players from Faulk to Favre have experienced lackluster seasons after being chosen to grace the front of the game.
The jinx set in during 2002, three years after EA Sports began featuring players on the cover of Madden games, instead of namesake John Madden. The cover in 2002 belonged to Daunte Culpepper; Culpepper promptly threw a bunch of interceptions and ended his 2002 season with a losing record. Over the next seven years, the "Madden Curse" chewed up and spat out a bunch of great players, including Vince Young and Shaun Alexander.
Last year, the curse struck Madden 2010 cover boy and Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, who injured his knee in a game against the Tennessee Titans. Polamalu eventually returned to play a few weeks later, but banged up his knee again in a game against the Bengals.
EA, for its part, doesn't put much stock in the Madden curse. (And for the record, we don't, either.)
For Madden 2011, EA Sports decided to allow fans to vote for the player featured on the cover. Brees was the winner. Luckily, the Saints QB isn't superstitious. "I'm not rooting against it," Brees told the Times-Picayune. "If it does happen, just like records are made to be broken, curses are made to be broken too. If the fans have spoken, if I am indeed their vote, then I'll do my best to break that trend."