Through their release Thursday, EA Sports announced that the best tight end in football would be their cover athlete for Madden 2017. The announcement immediately sent goosebumps my way and it was not for good reason.


Sure, it’s wonderful that the Patriots all-world tight end Rob Gronkowski will be the face of Madden next year. But the wretched ‘Madden cover curse’ has wrecked seasons and careers in the past.

Before the year 1998, only John Madden himself had appeared on the game’s cover. After that many top players in the league would be featured on the cover. That is when the curse began, just like the trade of Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1919.

Marshall Faulk, Daunte Culpepper, Michael Vick, Ray Lewis, Donovan McNabb, Shaun Alexander, and Vince Young all featured season ending injuries in their cover year. Garrisson Hearst was the first player to fall victim in 1999, breaking his ankle in the playoffs. Michael Vick broke his leg in 2004 during a preseason game. Troy Polamalu would miss most of 2010 due to an injured knee. Drew Brees was hampered by a knee injury throughout 2011 and in 2012 the Bountygate penalties would surface. Peyton Hillis was selected in 2012. His season would feature hamstring issues, strep throat, and a sprained hip. Adrian Peterson was selected in 2014. Peterson’s season was overshadowed by child abuse charges.

Rob Gronkowski’s history of injuries throughout his career has not been pretty. Can the Gronk prove he is super human and disprove the cover curse? We shall see…