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Comic for: April 20th, 2007
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Madden NFL: "6 Year Old Chiclets"
Posted: Friday April 20th, 2007 by

When fans began to speculate that EA would offer 2006 MVP Running Back, Ladainian Tomlinson, the cover of Madden NFL '08 game box, they pleaded with EA to consider someone else as each of the football stars that have appeared on the Madden NFL cover, for the last few years, have either suffered injury or poor productivity in the following season. LT fans should not worry over much though, the cover has been offered to Vince Young, the Tennessee Titans' star Quarterback. Controversy continues to circulate however. An article on CNBC's website reports that LT was offered the cover but turned it down, not because of the curse but because EA was not offering him enough money. But, Chris Erb, EA's director of marketing, contends that "Vince was the guy all along".
Source: CNBC [ more info ]

I'm not one to believe in curses, but boy do I ever believe in adequate compensation. (I also believe LT's story about being offered the cover despite what Erb says.) So, I understand where he's coming from on the money front. The man makes millions per season, and EA wants to offer him $100-200K? If it was JUST an appearance on the cover that wouldn't be bad. But, as the cover athlete, he's expected to make appearances to hype the game pre-release.

Like the source article says, it doesn't really matter who is on the cover, the game will succeed regardless of who strikes a pose. But idea that being on the cover "is seen as the 'Wheaties box endorsement' - in that athletes are usually so honored they are willing to do it for less than market value" won't last long in the current climate. When athletes sign a huge deal one year and feel they are justified in forcing a re-negotiation the next, money is obviously a significant motivator. So paying them less than market value for an endorsement will not last. We may well see Madden himself return to the cover... if EA can afford him.

As far as the "curse" is concerned, I think it might just be a self fulfilling prophecy. There's a wealth of potential reasons. Maybe the guy is trying too hard NOT to get hurt, trying too hard to live up to the expectation, receiving a heavy workload after an impressive year prior to the cover appearance, etc. Then again it could just be headhunting associated with being the cover star. What team wants to get burnt by that guy on the Madden game box? So they double cover or gun for him. I'm not saying anyone is actually trying to injure the athlete in question, just that they pressure him more to make sure he doesn't make a big play. **shrugs** It's all conjecture and coincidence in my opinion. Still makes a good story though.

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