the Madden Cover Jinx: is it real?
By Jesse Pantuosco, Fantasy Sports Writer
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) – Forget the “Saw” movies and “Paranormal Activity.” they should make the Madden Cover Jinx into a Hollywood horror series.
as a fantasy owner, there's nothing scarier than seeing your player on the cover of the famous video game series. It's like seeing your daughter grow up to be Snooki from Jersey Shore only slightly more terrifying.
Not everybody believes in the Madden Curse. I'll admit, there are some crazy myths out there. But the Madden Jinx isn't one of them. this thing is very real.
I don't believe that Tupac is still alive or that Nicolas Cage is a talented actor, but I am very much a believer in the Madden Cover Jinx.
That's why I avoided Peyton Hillis like the plague at my fantasy draft last season. And it was the right move. Hillis ruined my buddy's fantasy team like “Lopez Tonight” ruined late night television.
right now, fan voting has narrowed the field down to 32 candidates for the cover of Madden 2013, with Cam Newton and Aaron Rodgers as the front-runners. Until the voting is over, consider all 32 of them a threat to your fantasy team.
maybe you won't heed my advice, but I'm telling you, the Madden Curse is more fact than fiction. if you don't believe me, I'll show you. Let's take a look at the ghosts of Madden past:
Peyton Hillis (Madden 2012) – Hillis emerged as a fantasy superstar in 2010, pacing the Browns with 1,177 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. A year later, the former Arkansas Razorback couldn't even muster 600 yards, finishing the year with an underwhelming 587 yards and three touchdowns. Pre-Madden, Hillis was the face of the Cleveland Browns franchise. Post-Madden, he is a fantasy afterthought. for 2012, Hillis has been relegated to a backup role in Kansas City, where his fantasy value looks minimal at best.
Drew Brees (Madden 2011) – even the mighty Drew Brees wasn't immune to Madden's mystical, evil powers. after a sensational 2009 season (4,338 yards, 34 TDs and 11 INTs) that ended with the Saints celebrating a championship, Brees regressed in 2010. his solid yardage and touchdown numbers were still in tact (4,620 yards, 33 TDs) but his interception total ballooned to 22 (only Eli Manning threw more picks in 2010), and his QB rating sunk to 90.6 (19 points lower than his 2009 rating of 109.6). Luckily for Brees, he was able to rebound with a season for the ages in 2011 (5,476 yards, 46 TDs).
Larry Fitzgerald/Troy Polamalu (Madden 2010) – Fitz actually wasn't affected too badly by his Madden cover status, making him a rare exception to the rule. the Arizona wide receiver mostly eluded the jinx, hauling in an impressive 97 catches and 13 touchdowns in 2009. the Madden ghosts did sap Fitz's strength in one key area, though. Fitzgerald's 1,092 receiving yards was much lower than his Pre-Madden total of 1,431 in 2008.
while Fitzy got off relatively easy, Madden wasn't kind to 2010's other cover athlete, Troy Polamalu. after stuffing the stat sheet with 73 tackles and seven interceptions in '08, Polamalu watched most of the 2009 season from the sidelines. Injuries forced Pittsburgh's long-haired safety to miss 11 games that season, lowering his stats to just 20 tackles and three interceptions.
Brett Favre (Madden 2009) – the Madden spirits were really out to get Brett Favre in 2008. Favre's last season in Green Bay was a good one (4,155 yards, 28 TDs, 95.7 QB rating), so good that it landed him his first Madden cover. It all went downhill from there. Favre stumbled to a league-high 22 interceptions during his only season with the New York Jets. his yardage numbers and QB rating also took a tumble (3,472 yards, 81 QB rating). were Madden and Jenn Sterger working together to sabotage Favre's season? We may never know the truth.
Vince Young (Madden 2008) – Young wasn't a highly productive fantasy player to begin with, so it's tough to tell if his appearance on the Madden cover made him any worse than he already was. Young's stats actually improved in two major categories in 2007: passing yards (2,199 to 2,546) and completion percentage (51.5 percent to 62.3 percent). It wasn't all good for Young, who threw more passes to the other team (17 interceptions in 2007 compared to 13 the year before), tossed fewer TD passes (only nine after throwing 12 in 2006) and ran the ball less effectively (157 fewer rushing yards, four fewer rushing TDs in 2007) after his Madden cover. Young wasn't a disaster post-Madden, but the cover didn't help, either.
Shaun Alexander (Madden 2007) – Alexander was king of the world in 2005, or at least the world of fantasy football. he sprinted his way to 1,880 yards and an absurd 27 touchdowns while reaching the Super Bowl for the first and only time in his career. then came 2006, Alexander's personal “Nightmare on Elm Street.” Alexander, who missed six games with a broken foot, committed fantasy suicide in 2006, limping to just 896 yards and seven touchdowns. Alexander's brutal season was truly one of the more scarring encounters I've ever had with fantasy football.
Donovan McNabb (Madden 2006) – you might want to look away: McNabb's horrific 2005 campaign makes “The Exorcist” look like a kid's movie. after an off-the- charts performance in 2004 (3875 yards, 31 TD, 64 percent completion percentage), McNabb was limited to just nine games the season after his Madden cover, dooming fantasy teams around the nation. despite playing fewer games, McNabb still managed to throw more interceptions in 2005 than he did the year before (nine to eight), while watching his QB rating slide all the way from 104.7 to 85. if the 2005 season was “Silence of the Lambs,” then call McNabb Hannibal Lecter, because he was a cold-blooded fantasy killer that year.
the list goes on and on. In fact, since Madden started using football players on the cover of its video games, only one player has actually seen an improvement in his statistics. That was Madden's first cover boy, Eddie George, who graced the game's cover back in 2001 (1,304 yards, nine TDs in 1999 versus 1,509 yards and 14 TDs in 2000).
There you have it. the Madden Curse is alive and well. Consider yourself warned. Now let's get Stephen King working on a screenplay for Madden 2013, starring … Cam Newton? Boy, I hope not. I was planning on taking him in the first round.
03/26 15:53:26 ET
So how does this alter the Fantasy Football landscape?
Biggest Winner: Fred Davis, TE, Redskins
To me, Davis is the biggest fantasy winner in this deal. From Week 7 on, the USC product averaged 4 catches for 47 yards while scoring 6 TDs with Chris Cooley out of action. these aren’t huge numbers, but Davis was catching balls from the erratic Jason Campbell. Historically, Donovan McNabb has relied heavily on his tight ends. the same rung true in 2009. third year tight end, Brent Celek, caught 76 balls for 971 yards and 8 TDs. I can see Fred Davis getting comfortable with McNabb and putting up similar numbers.
Fearless Forecast: 70 catches, 900 yards, 7 TDs
Biggest Loser: DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles
One of the most explosive players in the league will sorely miss McNabb in 2010. in two seasons, Jackson had over 2,000 receiving yards and 11 TDs with McNabb under center. with the inexperienced Kevin Kolb under center in 2010, expect more conservative play calling from Andy Reid, something that will hurt Jackson’s numbers. Jackson will still have a few special teams touchdowns throughout the season, but I don’t expect him to put up 1167/9 line like he did in 2009.
Fearless Forecast: 51 catches, 800 yards, 6 TDs
Santana Moss, WR, Redskins: Moss is smaller version, less explosive version of DeSean Jackson. However, McNabb excels at throwing the long ball, something Jason Campbell had issues with. Expect Moss to top 900 receiving yards again, but with at least 5 scores.
Chris Cooley, TE, Redskins: Cooley is coming off a torn ACL, so expect him to come along slowly. with coach Mike Shanahan’s West Coast Offense, there will be many balls to go around.
The Washington Redskin Fans: no more Jason Campbell.
Donovan McNabb, QB, Redskins: I’m not sure how I feel about McNabb’s fantasy value yet. I think the ‘Skins might trade down to regain their lost pick(s) to Philly, but I really need to see if the team adds anyone substantial via the draft. He does move into a new system with better players around him, but he doesn’t have the home run threats(Maclin, Jackson, Celek) that he did in Philly. the Redskins running game of Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson, and Willie Parker should keep defenses honest, something that the Eagles failed to do last year.
It’s almost surreal to see the Eagles let go of their three corner stone players (McNabb, Brian Westbrook, and Brian Dawkins) in the matter of 12 months. However, that’s just business in the NFL.
From the days of Koy Detmer to a.J. Feeley to Jeff Garcia to Michael Vick and then Kevin Kolb, the Eagles have shown a remarkable ability to keep the offense functioning when the starter is out. The scheme stays the same and the backups have been able to function, even thrive, running the show.
In 2001, it was Detmer (for three quarters of a memorable win in San Francisco) who took over for Donovan McNabb after McNabb suffered a broken ankle. In 2006, it was Garcia managing the offense down the stretch, becoming the emotional sparkplug and the undisputed leader of a team that somehow won the NFC East. Last year it was Vick replacing Kolb in the first game of the season and playing brilliant football, and then it was Kolb winning two of three starts when Vick suffered a broken rib against Washington.
Young is next in line should Vick, who has not practiced all week, miss Sunday night’s game against the Giants. this is the reason the Eagles signed Young after his five seasons in Tennessee, during which he earned two Pro Bowl nods and compiled a 30-17 record as a starter.
“It’s tough somewhat,” said Young when asked about staying fresh after sitting for most of the first nine games of the season. “It can be tough if you aren’t paying attention and if you aren’t focused. But if you paying attention and you are staying on your task, one thing about Andy (Reid), he isn’t going to let you fall behind and not pay attention.
“They’re always testing you every day.”
Young, should he play, will face an enormous task on Sunday night. The Giants rush the quarterback as well as any team in the league and they play a sound, fundamental scheme. The home crowd will be lathered to beat the Eagles, mindful of the NFC East rivalry and the miracle finish the last time these teams played on the Giants home turf.
For Young, a chance to play is a chance to show the rest of the league that he is a better quarterback and a better leader than the player who was shown the door in Tennessee. He is here on a one-year contract and he has every intention of being a starter somewhere in 2012.
Young has run the offense throughout the week in practice and he says he feels a high level of comfort with the X’s and O’s, of the subtleties of the scheme. Young isn’t going to have the freedom to put the ball away and run to daylight as he did when he led Texas to a National Championship in college. He has to get the ball out quickly, accurately and to the right receiver against the swarming Giants defense.
“It’s not about me. It’s all about going out there and playing a game,” said Young. “I’m always staying ready. That’s one of the reasons they brought me here, to be ready to come in and lead the guys and keep the same tempo that Mike Vick had. overall, I feel pretty good.
“But like I said, it’s not about me. I just want to go out and lead the guys to a victory.”
Young has not less than impressive in his limited playing time during the regular season. He was outstanding in the preseason and then he suffered a hamstring injury against the Jets in the finale that made him inactive for the opening two games of the regular season.
In Washington, Young made an ill-advised pass that was intercepted after he replaced a banged-up Vick. Last week, Young played one snap and handed off to LeSean McCoy in the fourth quarter.
Otherwise, he has been learning behind the scenes.
“He’s worked very hard at learning the offense,” said Reid. ”He spent a lot of time with (Quarterbacks Coach) Doug (Pederson) and (Offensive Coordinator) Marty (Mornhinweg). They’ve done a good job with him, teaching him the offense. Most of all he’s been willing to spend the time. so, he gets in here early, leaves late, and comes back after dinner and hits it a little longer, so he’s doing some good things.”
Young hasn’t had a total style makeover with the Eagles, who have spent a lot of time working with Young assimilating him into the offense. The Young who could play on Sunday night still has the same release, the same burst and the same body.
Little things have been altered, but Young’s throwing style is what it is.
“I don’t think you necessarily do that with a quarterback. I think he’s been throwing the football a long time, and done pretty good at it,” said Reid. “The mechanics come from the waist down. You’re not going to change a release when a guy has got that much time invested in working it. so the thing you can always work on, and this is all quarterbacks throughout their career, is the foundation that they build with their feet and that platform, that they keep that nice and balanced and stable.”
The Eagles are still saying that Vick could play, that his two broken ribs could heal enough by Sunday night to allow him to suit up against the Giants. We’ll see. In the meantime, Young is preparing to be the starter. He says he takes that approach every week, but it’s different when you get the practice reps and watch the extra film and have the attention of the coaching staff.
Should he start, it will be Young’s first since last November 21. In that game, Young completed 12 of 16 passes in a Titans’ win over the Redskins.
A lot has happened to Young since then. He was banished by the Titans and then found the free-agency market less than appealing. He’s an Eagle now, here to carry the offense until Vick is healthy and ready to get back on the field.
“I’m excited to get out and play and help the team,” said Young. “That’s what it’s about. we need the win. It’s about the team.”
A native of Chicago, Illinois, Donovan McNabb was born on November 25, 1976. after attending Syracuse University, McNabb now serves as quarterback for the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles.
Among his many accomplishments, Donovan McNabb was named the Big East Conference’s Offensive Player of the Decade for the 1990′s and Offensive Player of the Year for 1996, 1997 and 1998. In addition, he was named as the first-team all-conference quarterback during every one of his four seasons. With so many recognitions, it came as no surprise when Donovan McNabb set his sights on the NFL and professional stardom.
Even in his earliest years, Donovan McNabb showed an interest in sports as he was assigned as the quarterback for Mount Carmel high School in Chicago. At the conclusion of high school, McNabb strongly considered attending the University of Nebraska, but later decided to enroll at Syracuse instead. There, he is known as one of the school’s most decorated athletes in history. a four-year starting quarterback and a reserve on the college’s respected basketball team, Donovan McNabb is no stranger to competition.
In 1999, Donovan McNabb was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles. The following year, which marked his first full season as an NFL starter, McNabb placed second in the associated Press MVP voting. In 2001, he earned his second trip to the Pro Bowl after another successful season with the Eagles. Early in the 2002 season, Donovan McNabb was injured during a sack by two of the Arizona Cardinal players. after having his ankle taped, McNabb returned to complete the same game that ended after 255 yards and 4 touchdowns courtesy of Donovan McNabb’s undeniable strength. after being initially reported as a sprain, the x-rays later revealed that McNabb actually suffered a broken ankle.
Despite some controversy in the 2003 season, Donovan McNabb lead his team to the NFC championship game. In 2004, the winning streak continued as the Eagles progressed to the Super Bowl XXXIX, where McNabb started as the team’s quarterback. Even though they were not victorious, McNabb had more than proven his skills on the field and against all competitors.
During the 2005 season, McNabb suffered another injury and one that would ultimately end his season early. On November 21, he confirmed his decision to proceed with surgery. his strong family support system, which consists of a wife and daughter, were important to McNabb’s recovery. his parents, Sam and Wilma, have gained their own fame after appearing in commercials
NFL Betting Lines Overview When the Minnesota Vikings took the field in week one of the 2011-2012 season, people did not know what to expect. The Vikings lost veteran quarterback Brett Favre to retirement and were still fixing up their broken balloon dome during the off-season. to offset the loss of Favre, the Vikings brought in embattled veteran quarterback Donovan McNabb. But to avoid hedging its bets, the Vikings also drafted highly-touted college quarterback Christian Ponder in the 2011 NFL draft. Ponder immediately showed no respect for McNabb by announcing that he intended to compete for the starting job. By week five, Ponder had won the starting job and learned a whole new respect for Donovan McNabb.
The price per head sportsbook experts expected a lot from the Atlanta Falcons in the 2011-2012 season. Atlanta was supposed to be the heir apparent to the new Orleans Saints in the NFC South standings, and Atlanta was supposed to be a top-rated NFC playoff team.
After the first few weeks of the season, the bookie software started dropping Atlanta out of playoff contention as the Falcons could not seem to buy a win. But, as time went by, the Falcons started winning games and have put itself into second place in the NFC South; trailing the Saints by one game. obviously, the Saints are not interested in anointing an heir apparent and the Falcons are not ready to be anointed.
Minnesota Vikings while it is not a surprise that rookie quarterback Christian Ponder is playing like a rookie, it is not what the Vikings needed at this point. in five games played, Ponder has 955 passing yards, five touchdowns and six interceptions. The Minnesota defense is playing very well against the run, but is having problems containing the opposing passing games. A 5 dimes review of the Minnesota Vikings shows a team in transition that is struggling to find an identity. No one is really sure if Ponder is the long-term solution at quarterback, but the Vikings are going to give him every chance to prove himself this year and probably next year as well.
Atlanta Falcons The Atlanta Falcons started off this season in a tailspin. It looked like the Falcons would be lucky to finish the season at 8-8. But the Falcons were able to ignore the challenges of the NFL schedule and get its record up to 6-4. But the Falcons have to keep winning because its 1-2 divisional record is not going to be enough to win a tiebreaker against the Saints if it should come to that. Quarterback Matt Ryan is on pace to throw for more than 5,000 yards and over 30 touchdown passes this season. But with a defense that is ranked 26th against the pass, the Falcons are its own worst enemy in a division dominated by quarterbacks such as Drew Brees and Cam Newton.
The Bottom Line The Vikings still have a long way to go before becoming a playoff contender. The Minnesota defense is inconsistent and the offense is still developing. The Falcons are hitting on all cylinders and need wins like this one over Minnesota to keep pace with the new Orleans Saints in the NFL standings.
BSN Sports Free Pick: Atlanta Falcons
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