For Brady, Mad­den cover curse is no worry

The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - BY MATT BONESTEEL matt.bonesteel@wash­post.com

You would think that New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots quar­ter­back Tom Brady would be at least a lit­tle bit wary of ap­pear­ing on the cover of the next Mad­den video game, Mad­den NFL 18. He’s not ex­actly a rookie at 39 years old, and even if he thinks his weirdo diet makes him Su­per­man, he prob­a­bly has only a few NFL sea­sons left. Plus, there’s the mat­ter of team­mate Rob Gronkowski, who was lim­ited to eight games be­cause of a back in­jury last sea­son af­ter ap­pear­ing on the cover, the lat­est NFL player to suc­cumb to the so-called “Mad­den Curse.” Nah, he’s fine with it. In a state­ment is­sued by Elec­tronic Arts, the maker of the Mad­den video games, Brady doesn’t seem wor­ried about the curse.

“The cover is a great honor for me,” Brady said. “Es­pe­cially since I have been play­ing the game since grow­ing up next to EA head­quar­ters in the Bay Area. I’m not one to be­lieve in curses, so I’m ready to take the chal­lenge head on like al­ways! It doesn’t stand a chance!!!”

There have been a few suc­cesses among the Mad­den cover sub­jects, no­tably for­mer Detroit Lions wide re­ceiver Calvin John­son (Mad­den 13, NFL sin­gle-sea­son re­ceiv­ing yards record) and Seat­tle Sea­hawks de­fen­sive back Richard Sher­man (Mad­den 15, first­team all-pro). But the list of post-Mad­den flops is much longer (for clar­ity’s sake, the year that fol­lows the player’s name is the NFL sea­son in which he ap­peared on the cover). Here’s just a par­tial list:

Garrison Hearst, 1998: Hearst ac­tu­ally had a su­perb sea­son af­ter he ap­peared on the cover, rush­ing for 1,570 yards. But then he suf­fered a grue­some an­kle in­jury in the San Fran­cisco 49ers’ se­cond play­off game that sea­son and sat out the next two years.

Michael Vick, 2003: Vick suf­fered a frac­tured fibula dur­ing a pre­sea­son game and missed the At­lanta Fal­cons’ first 11 reg­u­lar sea­son games.

Dono­van McNabb, 2005: McNabb was named NFC of­fen­sive player of the month for Septem­ber, but sports her­nia and thumb in­juries lim­ited him to nine games for the Philadel­phia Eagles.

Vince Young, 2007: One sea­son af­ter be­ing named NFL rookie of the year, Young helped lead the Ten­nessee Ti­tans to the play­offs. But he bat­tled a quad in­jury all sea­son and fin­ished with nine touch­down passes and 17 in­ter­cep­tions. He started just 22 games over his fi­nal four NFL sea­sons.

Pey­ton Hil­lis, 2011: Hil­lis fol­lowed a 1,177-yard, 11-touch­down sea­son with an in­jury-laden 2011 for the Cleve­land Browns and had a steady de­cline af­ter that.

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