All-Pro Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson landed the cover of EA Sports Madden NFL 13 video game, but it’s the fans of his rivals in Green Bay, Chicago, and Minnesota who might be celebrating the “honor.” Johnson torched defensive secondaries for 16 touchdowns and 1,681 yards last season, but gracing the cover of the popular video game has a way of bringing a superstar down to earth. The Madden Cover Jinx is alive and well, especially after last year’s featured player, Cleveland’s running back Peyton Hillis, saw his subsequent season crumble beneath injuries and contract drama — he recently signed with Kansas City.
You may not believe in the Madden Cover Jinx, but it’s tough to argue with the facts. Just months after landing the 2000 cover, Lions great Barry Sanders retired; Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper went from hero to zero in one season following his cover and never recovered; Falcons superstar Michael Vick suffered a season-ending leg injury weeks after his cover; Vince Young unraveled after being featured on the 2008 game. The list goes on…
The real winners this year are Carolina fans, who may have dodged a bullet when Johnson edged the Panthers’ young QB Cam Newton in the public vote. Heck, when the winner was announced yesterday in Times Square, Newton practically celebrated “losing,” clapping his hands and pumping his fist. Can you blame him?
Johnson’s missed only four games in his five-year career and the Lions just handed him a seven-year extension potentially worth $132 million. But be honest, Detroit: Are you suddenly worried about his health?