Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Would You Put Yourself on the Cover of Madden?

Never thought I'd see the day. Really, I didn't: Shaun Alexander succumbed to the Madden Curse.

Damnit.

All preseason, I ignored the signs - and there were plenty. His best O-lineman left for Lake Minnatonka because of a poison pill. He got a fat new contract. He appeared in every commercial ever, the freaking sell out. He was on the cover of Madden.

But I was in denial. Somewhere along the line, I had a change of heart. I slowly started seeing the signs. 50 yards and a TD. That's all he was capable of? I questioned his desire. I called him complacent. I kicked several wiener dogs and John Clayton. I turned on the man who handed me my first fantasy championship ever.

I had all but made up my mind to trade him. I was simply waiting for Tuesday, for the dust to settle from Week 3, and then I was pulling the trigger (on a trade, not on the gun pointed at my head). Then the headline pops up: "Reigning MVP out indefinitely." Um....fuck.

This was the two-by-four that broke the camel's back. I believe now, John. You convinced me. I get it, alright? You can knock it off now.

I was never a Madden Curse Believer. I always thought the proof was a little flimsy: Eddie George had a career year. Ray Lewis still had a good year. Donovan McNabb...well, who wouldn't feel the affects of pairing yourself with TO? And Faulk, well...Martz was in the midst of ruining his career anyways. Vick and Culpepper? Hey, Madden, you put two scrambling QB's on the cover, you run a little risk, eh?

But this one hits home, John. This was completely unnecessary. Shaun never did anything to you! None of those other players had hopes and fantasy dreams pinned on them like Shaun. He's a good guy John!

This was just collateral damage to prove a point. This was like Hadley killing that crying inmate at the beginning of Shawshank: we get it, man. You do as you please with no repercussions. But you don't have to be a jerk about it.

Hopefully this is just a couple weeks, and Shaun comes back sooner rather than later with a renewed a vengence. He still is an elite back with all-world potential, and Lord knows the T-Birds need him.

But Alexander going down raises a bigger question: would you, as an NFL supa-star, allow yourself to be put on the cover of Madden? I can't imagine anyone except Tiki Barber agreeing to do so (he'll do anything, man - anything). Athletes are notoriously driven by routine and superstition. The Madden Curse - believe it or not - has seemed to have reached a point where you don't even want to mess with it, if only because you'll have to deflect questions and rumors about it all year. Why would you even want to deal with it? Surely it can be that much more money than you are already making?

I just don't see how its worth it.

But someone has to be on the cover next year. Here's the most likely candidates:

Peyton Manning (2:1). He's up there with Tiki Barber for Top Sellout of the Year (not that that's a bad thing, per se...just sayin'). Is there a product associated with the NFL that Peyton doesn't endorse? Don't get me wrong, I love every single commercial he's done - checkin' to pancakes! - but he's clearly a Madison Ave. darling and the clear cut favorite to grace the cover in 2007. Which means one thing and one thing only: Let the Jim Sorgi Era begin.

Reggie Bush (2.5:1). Don't do it, Reggie! Just don't! I know you are dying to be on the cover with your bad-ass stare and your 619 eye-black strips, but this isn't just for your own good: this is for the good of the entire NFL. On behalf of humanity, just don't do it, alright?

Carson Palmer (4:1). Comeback player of the year tosses 35 TDs and leads a deep playoff run? Sounds good to me. You thought coming back from a torn ACL was tough, Carson? Try bouncing back from the Madden Cover Jinx. You'll be vacationing with Kimo von Olhaffen (I am not looking up how to spell his name - that's how it sounds and you know who I mean) in a month.

LaDanian Tomlinson (6:1). "This is Sports Center." Then Briscoe High. Madden seems to be the next logical step for our visor-wearing halfback. LT is on pace for one hell of a fantasy season. You think the Madden Curse is scared? Hmpf. You've no idea its power! None!

Duante Culpepper (1,000,000:1). This is what Madden should do: throw Culpepper on the cover. Yea, sales may plummet, but what's the worst that could happen to Peps? They actually lose to the Titans? I see the exact opposite happening: Culpepper reverse jinxes Madden and rejuvenates himself back into his form from two years ago, and in the process, eliminates The Curse altogether! Yea! This could work! No, really!

This plan is completely infallible. Its really the only course of action. Just do it John. Before we all hate you. There's still time.

Either that, or do us all a favor and put Joe Theisman on the cover.

1 comments so far. Might as well add your own.:

Lily said...

This, being my first year introduced to the Madden Curse, I, too, thought it was a hoax. I thought it was just some scare tactic to make better trades in fantasy season. How very wrong I was.
Oh... Has anyone EVER had a mediocre year.