I'm beginning to think this thing is, like, REAL.
Legend has it that whoever is featured on the cover of the Madden video game by EA Sports will suffer an injury/shortened season/not-up-to-par season/catastrophe of some kind. Through some investigation a couple years ago, I realized that it extended into EA's hockey and baseball franchises as well.
Tonight, after 12 years without being beaten and 10 years as the middleweight title holder, Bernard Hopkins lost by split decision to Jermain Taylor. The match came roughly 6 months after Hopkins was featured on the cover of EA Sports Fight Night Round 2.
Setting aside the shock of Hopkins losing for a second, I've been waiting for this to happen ever since I saw he was going to be on the cover. Because I *KNEW* the EA Cover Curse would strike. How did I know?
Because its happened to just about EVERYBODY else since 2001. Except for their basketball franchises, all but about 3 EA Sports cover athletes have suffered from the curse.
EA Sports MVP/Triple Play Baseball (Triple Play Baseball was renamed MVP Baseball in 2003)
2001 - Mike Piazza (missed the curse...hit .300/30/90)
2002 - Luis Gonzalez (missed about 10 games and failed to clear .300 for the first time in 3 seasons. Also missed 30 HR after the previous season's total was 57)
2003 - Miguel Tejada & Randy Johnson (Tejada started the season off by hitting about .150 through the end of May; Randy Johnson shredded his knees and missed most of the season)
2004 - Albert Pujols (acquired plantir facilitis, which I'm pretty sure is also called turf toe and requires surgery to fix. He elected to play through the immense pain)
2005 - Manny Ramirez (although his relatively slow start could be the curse in a minor way, there is still a ton of baseball to play, so I'll wait for something more concrete on this one)
EA Sports NHL Hockey
2001 - Owen Nolan (played in 57 out of 82 games; was +0 on the year, scoring only 49 points)
2002 - Mario Lemieux (had a relapse of hodgkins disease; played in only 24 games)
2003 - Jerome Iginla (mostly avoided the curse; was -10 on a bad team after scoring 67 points)
2004 - Dany Heatley (crashed his ferrari at 90mph and suffered extreme injuries; the crash also killed a teammate)
2005 - Markus Naslund (mostly avoided the curse; the worst thing that happened near Naslund was that linemate Todd Bertuzzi, not entirely non-intentionally, paralyzed Colorado's Steve Moore; also, the NHL lost the next season due to lockout)
EA Sports Madden Football
2001 - Eddie George (missed 1000 yards for the first time in his career; scored only 5 touchdowns)
2002 - Daunte Culpepper (18/23 TD/INT ratio, but otherwise avoided the curse)
2003 - Marshall Faulk (suffered a severe high ankle sprain while playing on knees of questionable structural integrity, which later gave out in 2004 if memory serves)
2004 - Michael Vick (was sacked by Ravens' linebacker Adalius Thomas in a preseason game, breaking his fibula and causing him to miss 12 games)
2005 - Ray Lewis (In addition to an incredibly sub-par season from a tackles standpoint, he also played the season on a sprained knee that also caused him to miss a game)
EA Sports Fight Night Boxing
2003 - Roy Jones Jr. (Knocked out by Antonio Tarver, his first loss in 7 years and his first professional loss by non-DQ; might also have been the first time he'd been knocked out; he was knocked out by Glen Johnson in his very next fight)
2004 - Bernard Hopkins (SD Loss to Jermain Taylor was first loss in 12 years and also ended a 10 year title reign)
So maybe there is something to this EA Cover Curse after all, eh? More reaction to the Hopkins/Taylor fight itself once I've seen it