Seattle Seahawks’ Superbowl winning cornerback, Richard Sherman, has been awarded the dubious accolade of being chosen to feature on the cover of Madden 15 when it launches for current and next-gen consoles at the end of the summer. He narrowly beat out Carolina Panthers Quaterback, Cam Newton. Of course, that won’t necessarily be the worst news for Panthers fans or, indeed, Newton himself.
The Madden games from EA Sports have a longstanding history of choosing Superstars to grace the cover of their games. Ever since the version in 1998 (when they stopped just putting John Madden himself on the cover), the selection of a Superstar to be the featured player has been a hotly contested honor.
…Unless you’re particularly superstitious.
Since Garrison Hearst appeared on the 1999 cover, the blessing has a worrying history of being more of a curse. And there’s certainly plenty of evidence to support this notion. Hearst was the Madden ’99 cover guy – the same season he broke his ankle and missed two seasons of football.
Barry Sanders took the honor in 2000, then, out of nowhere, had to retire from the sport before the start of season.
In 2001, the cursed cover belonged to star running back Eddie George who subsequently bobbled a crucial pass late in the game that COULD have taken his Tennessee Titans team to the Superbowl. Instead the pass was intercepted and taken to the house, ending the Titans’ hopes of glory. Worse still, George’s career took an immediate down turn as he failed to have much of an impact in many games for the rest of his career.
The storied history continues throughout each and every year. Those who believe in the curse will tell you it’s responsible for turning Daunte Culpepper (2002) into a fumble machine with a broken knee, breaking Michael Vick’s (2004) wrist (some even that it’s responsible for Vick bank-rolling a dog fighting ring and doing jail time – we DON’T subscribe to that theory).
They’ll tell you how League MVP Shaun Alexander had his career derailing foot injury after being ‘cover cursed’, or that Brett Favre’s fall from grace, sexual harassment scandal and crashing out of the divisional title game as a Minnesota Viking, is all thanks to his appearance on the 09 cover. (We don’t know about the sexual harassment scandal, but the divisional title game was actually due to some incredibly questionable play from the New Orleans Saints. The Vikings were robbed!)
It was rumored back in 2007 that fear of the curse had grown so great, that San Diego Chargers’ elite running back, LaDainian Tomlinson refused to appear on the cover after being selected. His PR company said it was due to ‘contract difficulties’, which we assume meant ‘LaDainian won’t sign the contract because he doesn’t want the damn curse to offer up an injury when he’s at his prime.’
Right up until the 2013 cover, this curse was thought by many to be the real thing. You’d think that the Madden 13 cover would be the unluckiest of all However, in a shocking twist of double negatives – after Detroit Lions wide receiver, Calvin Johnson, was selected for the cover, he went on to have a career year – including breaking Jerry Rice’s long standing receiving yards in a season record. This prompted many to believe the curse had been broken.
Richard Sherman will be among those hoping that the curse really is over and that his Seahawks can repeat last season’s Superbowl success. However, having ‘the biggest mouth in football’, the cornerback may not find as many well wishers outside of Seattle.
Richard is a father, teacher, gamer and writer. He believes that The Last of Us and Olli Olli 2 are the finest games ever made, feels that the StarWars Saga should only be watched in ‘the Machete order’ and once cleared Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in one sitting. Took him 20 hours, four cups of tea and a sausage roll. You can follow him on twitter @TLOUFactionsMP or @VigilanteSanta and view his occasional twitch outbursts on twitch.tv/spooklebeans.