Whether Calvin Johnson was ineffectually slated as a No. 6 seed on his side of the bracket for the sake of propelling an underdog
campaign, emulating Detroit's first postseason since 1999, or trying to spare him from the potential devastation, the Lions' alpha wide receiver defied the odds by being crowned Madden NFL 13
's Cover Boy.
SportsNation uncovered the results in Times Sqaure late Wednesday afternoon as Johnson narrowly outgained opposing No. 1 seed and last season's Offensive Rookie of the Year Cam Newton with 52 percent of the vote. The hour-long special featured the ESPN2 program's usual quirks, polls, and organized activities involving Newton tossing New York's finest delicacies at cardboard cutouts - cutthroat sports journalism - before the upset was confirmed in the waning minutes. The public had to be waiting for Johnson to announce to Michelle Beadle and Colin Cowherd his decision to take his talents to South Beach, spreading the ongoing pest control problem from the City of Exasperated Hope to the personnel-depleted Miami Dolphins.
At face value (and Megatron has developed a recognizably steely face in this league), the Calvin Johnson cover screams "Madden Curse", largely in part to the team he plays for. After three previous failed attempts (Charles Rogers, Roy Williams, and Mike Williams), the Detroit Lions finally landed their offensive stud. After years of numb heartache and mediocrity headlined by a winless 2008, the Detroit Lions finally emerged as a mainstay candidate for NFC contention. Through sporting a community's reputation of misfortune and the club's apparent sponsorship of marijuana, The Detroit Lions finally propose a promising future, and after posting career-highs in receptions (96), yards (1,681), and touchdowns (16) in 2012, expectations of Johnson and his franchise have never been more daunting.
His most recent honor sadly pushed those prospects over the edge, and for worse. Now fans of the Lions, NFL, and the EA Sports commodity should expect an unprecedented slide in production or a freakish preseason injury. No matter how harsh or premature it is to predict such a fate for a player or human being, we also all believed it was unfathomable for Michael Vick (2004), Ray Lewis (2005), Peyton Hillis (2012), and so on. If only Bob Sanders was employed in past editions to break the spell once and for all.
Who was the other Madden Cover Boy to hail from Detroit, you're being forced to ask? That would be Hall-of-Fame running back Barry Sanders, fuzzily discrete in the background of Madden NFL 2000
. Sanders thought he could hide, but eventually responded by retiring well before Week 1. The Curse was allegedly born and citizens of Detroit wept themselves to sleep that night and ever since.
Is Johnson capable of evading the coverage? He is a Transformer, after all. Defensive backs shrink in the task of blanketing this beastly specimen, and neither durability nor opportunism have been concerns in recent years. Nonetheless, the Madden Curse knows no explanations or survivors, and too much has gone right for Detroit lately to be true. With perennial power Green Bay and dark horse Chicago, the division is brutal enough without any looming superstitions, and Johnson very well may have caught a plague amidst the countless highlight-reeled pigskins that fortified his current position in the first place.
Was Cam Newton confronting a similar fate had he prevailed? Nowhere nearly as severe. Newton is already entering the season with subtle caution against the foreboding Sophomore Slump. According to the metaphorical Mathematicians Monthly
catalog, two negatives tend to cancel each other out to equal a positive. Instead, Super Cam's persistent naysayers can stand a little bit taller as both he and Calvin Johnson are knocked down at least one peg in fantasy football rankings.
The lone foreseeable beneficiary is Madden itself. While it's much easier to wreak havoc through the running game in Madden NFL 12
(or "Grand Theft Peyton Hillis"), irritatingly exact precision is mandated in order to complete a pass to your intended target, who will inexplicably drop the ball or fall down on the job (!)
regardless. The sportsmanship and bitter ego of the Italian Trojan were not harmed in the making of this analysis, but we can presumably await brand new features such as an expansion in hot routes, or an in-game momentum shifter where you and your opponent excessively jostle the right analog sticks of your respective game-console controllers in battle for a jump ball in the endzone...only for Cris Collinsworth to explain to us why the official ruling was later overturned.
Some things never improve, the Curse and its extensive list of casualties being a prime example. John Madden's next lucky Draft selection is Calvin Johnson, gamers are now deprived of the next Michael Vick - who trumps Link and Sonic the Hedgehog as the greatest video game character of all-time, and Detroit
is waving the white flag.
Excuse the poor quality of the video. Hopefully the game is more impressive. Only Michael Bay can rescue Megatron now.