Joe Ovies

Newton tempts 'Madden Curse'

Posted May 28, 2014

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) celebrates the Panthers TD. St. Louis Rams visiting the Carolina Panthers on Sunday October 20, 2013. Rams first play from scrimmage was intercepted and returned for a TD and the Panthers never looked back with a hime victory of 30-15. Photo by CHRIS BAIRD

The upcoming edition of Madden NFL by EA Sports appears to be on the Carolina Panthers bandwagon following a breakout season for quarterback Cam Newton and linebacker Luke Kuechly.

In April, EA Sports released a trailer highlighting the updated graphical capabilities of the Playstation 4 and XBox One featuring Kuechly.

Newton is in the final four of fan voting and is matched up against quarterback Andrew Luck in the bracket. If he advances, Newton will fight for votes against either San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick or Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman. 

Newton was in the running for Madden NFL '13 cover, but lost out to Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson. The Panthers quarterback even challenged Johnson to a game, on the system of his choosing, for the right to be on the cover. Newton describes himself as a "Madden investor" and has been into the game since childhood. So much so that Newton has become a fixture at the annual Madden Bowl party.

The desire to be on the cover and overall love for Madden makes it clear Newton doesn't believe in the "Madden Curse."

Several players who have graced boxes of the video game have suffered injury or drastic reductions in productivity that same season. For a quick primer on the Madden jinx, please consult this handy dandy infographic on game cover stars and their subsequent issues.

The urban legend has grown to the point where it was believed San Diego runningback LaDainian Tomlinson begged off the cover to avoid the bad mojo associated, which resulted in Vince Young getting the cover in Madden '08. The real reason? Tomlinson and EA Sports couldn't agree on an endorsement fee. 

All of this jinx stuff is rather ridiculous and easily debunked. For starters, it can't be much of a curse when certain players ended up being immune. Why is it that Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick broke his leg the day after Madden '04 was released, yet Calvin Johnson and Eddie George were spared catastrophe? How did Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald avoid the "Madden Curse," while Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu suffered an MCL sprain? It doesn't add up.

It's better to look at the box of Madden as the zeitgeist of NFL popular culture. Some of them are going to the Hall of Fame, like Drew Brees and Ray Lewis. Others like Peyton Hillis and Dante Culpepper blew up for a season, never to be heard from again. Regardless, they're all football players who were on that pinnacle for a particular season. 

Credit to EA Sports for elevating the game into an honor of distinction. As franchise has continued a push toward realism, it has also become needlessly complicated and little boring. Sales of the 25th anniversary edition of Madden NFL were down nearly 40% from the previous installment. 

However, Madden is still enough of a "thing" for high profile players to covet a spot on the game box.

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  • sckinton60 May 29, 2014

    This is a SCAM!

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