Usually, I'm all for seeing the Vikings get as many accolades as possible. In this case, however, I'm quite willing to make an exception.
The folks at EA Sports have teamed up with Doritos to give football and video game fans the opportunity to vote for who will appear on the cover of Madden '11 this coming summer. The finalists for the award are Saints QB Drew Brees, Colts receiver Reggie Wayne, and our own Jared Allen. You can go to this site here to cast your vote for who you'd like to see on the cover, and you can vote every day, with the grand prize being a trip to the NFL Draft in New York City.
So. . .why would I ask you not to vote for Jared Allen? Well, way back when, there used to be this little thing called the Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx, and although it still strikes occasionally, it's not nearly what it used to be. The Madden Curse, on the other hand? Pretty much alive and well. In 1999, the Madden franchise started featuring NFL players on its cover (as opposed to featuring Madden himself). After the jump, you'll see exactly what has happened to the players that have graced the cover of the game since then.Madden 2000 (released in 1999) was supposed to feature Detroit Lions' running back Barry Sanders (along with Madden) on the cover of the game. However, Sanders abruptly announced his retirement just a few days before the start of training camp. Early shipments of the game still featured the Sanders/Madden combination on the cover, but later shipments were replaced with a picture of Packers running back Dorsey Levens. Levens was bothered by a knee injury for the entire 1999 season, and averaged less than four yards a carry. He got cut the next year.
Madden 2001 featured Tennessee running back Eddie George. Although George enjoyed his best statistical season in 2000, he also bobbled a pass that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown in Tennessee's playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Not a "curse," I suppose. . .more of an annoyance. Of course, he wasn't very good the next season, either, and was released by Tennessee.
The cover of Madden 2002 had someone very near and dear to most of us. . .Minnesota quarterback Daunte Culpepper. After an impressive rookie season where he led the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game, Culpepper struggled mightily after being featured on the cover of a Madden game, leading the Vikings to a 4-7 record before blowing out his knee in a road loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
St. Louis running back Marshall Faulk was on the cover of Madden 2003. Faulk spent the entire 2002 season battling an ankle injury, and failed to crack the 1,000-yard rushing mark for only the second time in his NFL career. He never got back to being the player he was prior to that season.
The front of Madden 2004 was graced by everyone's favorite animal rights activist, (then) Falcons quarterback Michael Vick. Vick broke his leg in a pre-season contest literally the day after the game hit the shelves, and missed almost the entire 2003 season. Atlanta went 5-11 that season without Vick.
Madden 2005 featured everyone's favorite "obstructor of justice," Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. Lewis had recorded six interceptions the previous season, but wound up with none in 2004. He also missed the last game of the year with an injury. Again, more of an annoyance than a curse in this case.
Madden 2006 had Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb on the cover. McNabb was bold enough to laugh directly in the face of the Madden Curse, saying that he didn't believe it was real. And in the 2005 season opener, McNabb suffered a sports hernia. He tried to play through it, and lasted eight more games, but wound up finally opting for surgery and missing the last seven games of Philadelphia's season.
Seattle running back Shaun Alexander was the man on the cover of Madden 2007. He had won the MVP award the season before, rushing for a (then) NFL-record 27 touchdowns, and led his team to the Super Bowl. In 2006, he broke his foot three games into the year and missed the Seahawks' next six games. He pretty much fell off the face of the planet after that as well.
Madden 2008 featured Titans quarterback Vince Young, coming off a season where he was named Offensive Rookie of the Year. Young wound up having an absolutely dismal 2007 season, throwing only nine touchdown passes (against 17 interceptions), and wound up losing his starting job to 206-year old Kerry Collins the next season.
Madden 2009 had Brett Favre on the cover. The whole "trade to the Jets" thing not withstanding. . .which caused EA to have to immediately issue games with re-printed covers. . .Favre's 2008 season was forgettable. He led the Jets to an 8-3 start in 2008, but injured his bicep on his throwing arm, and the Jets won just one of their final five games and missed the post-season. Favre threw two touchdown passes and nine interceptions in those final five games.
Madden 2010 had two athletes on the cover for the first time, with Steelers safety Troy Polamalu and Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald sharing the "accolade." While Fitzgerald made it through 2009 relatively unscathed, Polamalu's season was riddled with injuries, including a sprained MCL in the season opener, and a sprained PCL in November against Cincinnati. He wound up only playing in five games all season.
Is this the kind of thing we want happening to Jared Allen? Hell no, it isn't!
So go to the link above there, and vote for one of the two guys that isn't Jared Allen. Vote often for one of the guys that isn't Jared Allen, too. . .remember, you're allowed to vote once a day.
Hopefully we'll be back with some more goodness later on. . .continue enjoying your Friday, ladies and gentlemen!