Sometimes it just doesn't pay to tempt fate. It's kind of like exclaiming 'Jesus Christ! How could the Eagles let the Giants come back on them like that? I just lost $200!' and your boy politely asking you not to take the Lord's name in vain and then you telling him, 'Please! Did Jesus just lose a $200 bet? He can kiss my a$$ too' just before a wall mounted, 48" plasma screen TV at the sports bar inexplicably breaks free of the wall, falls squarely on your head and kills you. Although not quite as extreme as this but far more ominous than the fabled 'Sports Illustrated Jinx' where misfortune tends to befall althetes and teams featured on the cover, we have the EA Sports Madden NFL Football video game cover curse which has just claimed its most recent victim, Seattle running back, Shaun Alexander...
There's a reason for all those superstition remedies, y'all. Our tribal elders (aka parents, grandparents, folk older than you with more common sense, etc.) were quick to not open umbrellas indoors, walk under ladders, have a black cat cross their paths (unless it was our all time fave HalleKat...) and quick to throw salt over their left shoulder when they spilled it . But NFL athletes? Man, they're so jazzed at the notion of getting their mug on the best selling video game series of all time that they practically beg to get jacked up. Such are the common fates of the Madden NFL 'cover boyz'. A quick look over the past eight cover boyz going back to Barry Sanders in 2000 reveals the following tales from the crypt:
2000 - Barry Sanders - 1st player to have his mug on a Madden cover. Though on his way to becoming the NFL's all-time leading rusher, B-Sand decides to retire and the Lions haven't been the same (clocking in at 0-3 so far this season! Sorry, DLT)...
2001 - Eddie George (who?) - Hurt the team with a key fumble and poor performance against the Ravens (Ray Lewis blew ol boy up several times that game). His team at the time, the Tennesse Titans, was eliminated after being one of the top seeded teams. I believe Eddie has been posted on several milk cartons since then...
2002 - Daute Culpepper - Missed 5 games due to injury and the Vikes missed the playoffs. I'm not even going to get into the 'Freak Boat' incident and the knee injury last year that resulted in him getting dropped by the Vikes altogether and him landing in Miami...
2003 - Marshall Faulk (who?) - Logged his least productive season as a Ram. The Rams missed the playoffs after appearing in the Superbowl the previous season.
2004 - Michael Vick - Vick got hurt, missed 11 games and the Falcons missed the playoffs.
2005 - Ray Lewis - Had his worst season as a pro and the Ravens disintegrated into a non-playoff team.
2006 - Donovan McNabb - After taking the Eagles to the Superbowl the year before, McNabb got hurt, missed 7 games and the Eagles didn't even make the playoffs.
2007 - Shaun Alexander - Out indefinitely with a foot fracture. How will the Seahawks fare without ol boy? Time will tell but I'd put a few insurance bets down 'against' if I was a Seattle fan.
So there's your early Halloween chill y'all courtesy of ol Ty. But don't think that it's going to be enough to scare the next NFL chucklehead off the cover of Madden '08 next year. Those boyz can't get enough of the game. Beckett Spotlight Video Gamer magazine (orginator of the the above actual factuals) asked Shaun how it felt to be on the cover of Madden '07 and he gushed: "It's an honor. It's exciting. Everybody knows that when you're on the cover of Madden you're the "IT" guy, so it's just exciting."
No Shaun - everybody knows that when you're on the cover of Madden you're the *jacked up guy*! I'm expecting both NFL teams and player insurance companies to add a new 'No Madden Cover' clause in all of their future contracts and insurance waivers. It's time to draw the line, y'all. It's no longer just fun and games.
However, since I'm an Eagles fan from way back, I'm putting my nomination in early for either Eli Manning, T.O., or George Bush (for obvious reasons, y'all...) for next year's cover.