Curse won’t faze Megatron

NFL fans are well aware of the infamous Madden curse.

The tale is that the ever-popular game’s cover athlete is doomed for failure in the upcoming season, but a list of featured athletes that includes Michael Vick, Donovan McNabb, Shaun Alexander and Peyton Hillis has shown this to be anything but a rumor.

Vick graced the cover of Madden 2004, after putting together an electric second-year campaign in 2002. However, one day after the game’s release, Vick broke his leg in the preseason, forcing him to miss 11 games in the 2003 season.

McNabb faced a similar wrath in 2005, after appearing on the Madden 2006 cover. Hernia and groin injuries caused the star quarterback to miss seven games that season, as he failed to make the Pro Bowl for the first time in six seasons.

Alexander was untouchable in 2005, rushing for 1,880 yards, in addition to 28 total touchdowns — a NFL single season record. Alexander was the 2005 NFL MVP, as he put together his fifth straight 1,000-yard season.

Everything changed after an appearance on the Madden cover, as the running back missed six games with a fractured foot in 2006. The once great ball carrier never eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards again in his career.

Last year it was Hillis’ chance to take a turn for the worse. The Cleveland running back amazed fans in 2010 on his way to more than 1,100 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground. It all came crashing down for Hillis last season, though, as a hamstring injury hampered the Browns’ bruising back. As a result, Hillis missed six games, saw his rushing yards get cut in half and got traded to the Kansas City Chiefs. Still have doubts about the Madden curse?

This season, Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson is featured on Madden ‘13, which hit stores Aug. 28. Johnson led the NFL with more than 1,600 receiving yards in 2011, a nightmare for opposing defenses.

Lions fans and fantasy football owners are anxious to find out if the league’s most unstoppable receiver will hit a wall like players of the past. “Megatron”has proven to be anything but human in his five-year NFL career. Here is why he will show the curse to be ineffective against immortals.

Unlike quarterbacks and running backs who have been showcased in the game, Johnson will not take the same kind of beating at the wide receiver position. Standing at 6-foot-5, 236 pounds, defensive backs are more likely to hurt themselves in collisions with this beast.

Each of the infected athletes of prior years has been subject to a decrease in production, but no defense has shown the ability to stop Johnson, let alone slow him down. Johnson faces double teams every Sunday, yet still finds a way to average 100 yards and a touchdown.

Barring an injury to quarterback Matthew Stafford or opposing teams’ commitment to quadruple team the big target, nothing is going to stop Johnson from putting up another monster season.

“Megatron” makes real football look like a video game. Opposing defenses and health issues have yet to ground the star. It seems unlikely that an appearance on the cursed video game cover will do the trick either.