The Madden NFL 17 cover athlete was announced on ESPN’s SportsCenter this past Thursday. New England Patriots’ tight end Rob Gronkowski is gracing the cover of the newest installment of the Madden video game franchise. Gronkowski was also in the running to be on the cover in last years’ edition of the game, but he was beat out by New York Giants’ star wide receiver Odell Beckham.
— Rob Gronkowski (@RobGronkowski) May 12, 2016
Gronkowski is featured on the cover with his signature “spike,” which is a celebration that he uses when he scores a touchdown. In the 2015 NFL season, Gronkowski caught 1,176 yards and scored 11 touchdowns. He is currently the only tight end and the only New England Patriot to be featured on the Madden cover.
Gronkowski currently holds the records for the most touchdowns scored in postseason history by a tight end. If Gronkowski keeps putting up numbers like he has the past two years, he will be on track to become the greatest tight end of all time. He is only 26 years old and is on pace to have a career unlike any other tight end the NFL has ever seen.
Tony Gonzalez holds the record for the most touchdowns by a tight end in NFL history (111). Gronkowski definitely has the capability to catch up to Gonzalez and set a new record. He currently has 65 career touchdowns and is one of the few tight ends that have scored over 60 career touchdowns in general.
Oh. Hello @EAMaddenNFL 17.
— NFL (@NFL) May 13, 2016
Gronkowski also has to worry about a little something called the “Madden curse.” Apparently, there is a theory that any player who graces the cover of Madden has a bad season or career threatening occurrence the season after.
Michael Vick and Donovan McNabb, two promising quarterbacks, both had serious injuries after being the Madden cover star athlete. Vince Young, Peyton Hillis, and Shaun Alexander, who all appeared to have the beginnings of promising careers, all went into severe slumps that led to their eventual exit from football. They were all also featured on the cover of Madden after career highs.
This list goes a little longer than the few players mentioned above. NFL legends like Brett Farve have also been affected by this so-called “curse.” It would be no shock if Gronkowski was to fall victim to it as well.
The curse is not a guarantee, there are a few players in recent years that have not felt the effects of this dreaded omen. Odell Beckham, Richard Sherman, and Calvin Johnson are the few exceptions. Each of these players put up very convincing statistics after being featured on the Madden cover and proved that the “Madden curse” had no affect on them.
However, it may be a different story for Gronkowski. Although he is only 26 and appears to be one of the better NFL talents, he is injury prone. Gronkowski has been sidelined for injuries numerous times.
It wouldn’t be the biggest surprise in the world if Gronkowski managed to hurt himself this season and fans to blame the tragedy on the “Madden curse.” In his NFL career, Gronkowski had back surgery in 2009, broke his forearm in 2012, tore his ACL in 2013, and fractured his vertebra in 2013. That is a long list of injuries that could easily come back and hinder Gronkowski’s career in the 2016 NFL season.
Patriots’ fans had a huge scare last season. Broncos safety Darian Stewart hit Gronkowski in the same knee he received ACL surgery in week 12. Luckily, Gronkowski only missed a game and had no further complications.
The argument could simply be watered down to that, “he is just an injury prone player.” However, Rob Gronkowski did manage to have an injury free season in 2014 and was relatively healthy in 2015 as well. It would be very ironic if he managed to get injured after being the Madden cover star athlete.
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