Tom Brady is one of, if not the, best players and leaders in the NFL, so it makes sense that as Electronic Arts gears up to deliver a new year of their football video game, they would happily put Brady on the cover of Madden 18. That said, it has another conversation going. Tom Brady is good, but is he good enough to dodge the bizarre superstition that is the Madden Curse?
It was announced by Electronic Arts via their EA Sports Twitter page on May 12, 2017, that Tom Brady was their pick for the Madden 18 cover. Amid all sorts of speculation, it makes sense for Brady to be there. Facing the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots managed to recover from a 25-point trail in the third quarter to overcome the Falcons and take the Vince Lombardi Trophy in a 34-28 win. This made Tom Brady’s fifth career Super Bowl win and made him the only player to win five Super Bowl rings as a player on one team.
Despite Tom Brady’s extensive list of accomplishments, there is a distinct concern, or perhaps elation in some parts of the community, at the thought him succumbing to the Madden Curse. It was in Madden 1999 that Electronic Arts stopped putting John Madden himself on the covers and began putting star players up. It most certainly has its honors, but a superstition came out of the fact that in many years, players seemed to perform poorly or would become injured in the following season of their appearance on a Madden cover.
The Curse seems to come and go as there have been many years where players on the cover of the top-selling NFL Football game have not only come away uninjured but sometimes put up some of their best career seasons. Calvin “Megatron” Johnson of the Detroit Lions appeared on Madden 13 and in the following season, nearly set league records with 1,964 receiving yards, just barely missing the historic 2,000-yard mark. The Seattle Seahawks star cornerback Richard Sherman also had a great season following his appearance on the cover of Madden 15.
Tom Brady himself has chimed in as well with a video posting on his Facebook page in partnership with EA. Not only did the Patriots star claim he had no belief in the Madden Curse but went on to cheerfully demonstrate his disbelief in all curses, breaking a mirror and walking under a ladder as he poked fun at the idea of the superstition that has run rampant in the NFL for over a decade.
Brady’s bravado aside, there is some cause for alarm when it comes to the Madden Curse, even if coincidental. Steeler’s safety Troy Polamalu missed seven games following an injury after his appearance with Larry Fitzgerald on the cover of Madden 10. Even despite the many following years where stars did well, the Curse seemed to catch up to Brady’s fellow Patriot Rob Gronkowski after his appearance on Madden 17. Gronk suffered not one, but two injuries in the following season, one hamstring injury occurring before the regular NFL season even began.
The allure of the Madden cover is still there, and it separates both fans and the NFL locker rooms on the case of whether or not the Curse is real. Madden 07 cover star Shaun Alexander, despite suffering several injuries in his following season famously commented that it didn’t matter, and that he’d rather be on the cover and hurt than just hurt. Former San Diego Chargers MVP LaDainian Tomlinson, on the other hand, fully believed in the power of the Madden Curse. According to a 2007 report by Wired, He turned down the offer to be the cover of Madden 08 under fear for his career while he was still putting up good numbers.
Whether or not the Curse is real – there are demonstrable circumstances where it could or couldn’t be – the fact remains that Tom Brady seems undaunted by it. It’s still a terrific honor to be featured on the grandest of all NFL Football video games and not something one would turn down lightly. Moreover, it’s another notch on the already notch-ridden belt of Brady. Perhaps it will be an interesting task to keep an eye on Tom Brady following Madden 18‘s release and see if he truly is stronger than the Madden Curse in the 2017-2018 NFL season.
[Featured Image by Billie Weiss/Getty Images]