In perhaps the worst news of the offseason for the New England Patriots, quarterback Tom Brady has been announced as the cover-athlete for Madden ’18. The game is due out in August, shortly after Brady turns 40. This makes him the oldest player to grace the cover. In addition to Brady being the oldest, Brady and Rob Gronkowski become the first teammates to be on the Madden cover in back-to-back years.
In any other sport, this would be not a story. However, this is Madden and with it comes the belief in the ‘Madden Curse’.
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The game began putting players on the cover in 1998 (for Madden ’99). Previously, it would feature just a picture of John Madden. Since 1998, a number of players have had injuries or dips in performance after being featured on the cover. The curse began with the very first cover athlete, Garrison Hearst. After leading the 49ers into the playoffs, he broke his ankle. He missed two seasons and was never the same again.
In 2004, a day after Madden was released featuring Michael Vick, he broke his leg in training camp and missed the season. Shaun Alexander was a pro bowl running-back when he was chosen for the Madden 2005 cover. However, he fractured his foot, missed six-games and retired shortly there-after.
The most recent edition of the legendary video game featured Rob Gronkowski on the cover. He missed eight games with multiple injuries and played in zero playoff games. Despite all that, the Patriots still won Super Bowl LI.
Odell Beckham Jr. avoided the curse in Madden ’16. Beckham Jr. posted a career year in yards (1,450) and touchdowns (13). He added 96 catches on the year.
Tom Brady apparently doesn’t think much of the curse
In a video posted to his Instagram account, Brady smashed a mirror and walked under a ladder as he announced his selection and that he, the G.O.A.T, doesn’t think much of the curse.
“I suppose there’s been some reality to that curse over the years,” Brady said. “Hopefully I can break it. That would be pretty cool.”
“But to be the one to represent our team on the cover, I never thought I’d have the opportunity to do it,” Brady added. “Personally, I think it’s very cool. When it comes out, that’s a topic of conversation in our locker room for weeks and weeks, even as we go into the season. … I think I represent a lot of people when I do something like this. And only one person gets to do it every year.”
If anyone can break the curse, it’s Brady… and maybe Theo Epstein. Brady endured two years of the deflategate nonsense and won two super bowls in the process— this should be nothing for him. Brady is approaching this curse like he does an opponent on a Sunday and hopefully that puts Patriots’ fans concerns to rest. However, sports fans are superstitious by nature and this story won’t die until the season is over.