Lions' Calvin Johnson wants the Madden cover despite the curse
ALLEN PARK — Way back when, Barry Sanders was chosen to be on the cover of Madden 2000. Good selection for an all-pro running back.
Then before the season started, Sanders up and retired.
That awful Madden curse. Many Lions fans can’t forget it. They’d rather anyone but a Lion appear on the cover of the Madden video game.
Calvin Johnson doesn’t believe in it. The Lions wide receiver is a finalist, along with Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, to be on the cover of Madden 13, the only NFL-licensed console video game. The winner will be announced Wednesday.
“Not a big guy for curses, don’t even think about it,’’ Johnson said. The curse has resulted from players gracing the Madden cover only to have a less-than-stellar season.
It’s a big deal to get the cover and Johnson wants it for a few good mostly unselfish reasons.
“Looking forward to it, it’d be very cool to have that, it’d be good for the city, good for this organization, and especially good for my foundation,’’ Johnson said on Tuesday.
Johnson explained if he gets the cover it would benefit his foundation financially.
“They like some things I’m doing in the neighborhood back home (in Atlanta) and starting to transfer some of those things up here,’’ Johnson said. “That’s definitely a steppingstone to start doing some of that stuff.’’
Johnson’s teammate Nate Burleson believes in the Madden curse, but thinks if anyone could break it, it would be Calvin Johnson.
Since he plays in the NFL for a living, he’s more into FIFA (soccer) now. He did play Madden while at Georgia Tech.
“Everybody played Madden coming up. Everybody saw the guys that were on the cover. I remember when I was in college I was a big Madden player, it’s a big deal, it’s a big deal for ballplayers,’’ Johnson said.
Newton produced a seven-minute video urging fans to vote for him. He also challenged Johnson to a showdown playing Madden.
Johnson says he is planning a video response involving the receivers. He said to keep an eye out for it.
He’s heard from fans, some who don’t want him on the cover because of the curse.
“It’s not surprising, you’ve been hearing about the curse forever. It doesn’t surprise me, i hear about it from the fans,’’ Johnson said. “Most fans want me to get on it, it’s a lot of good things for the city. Some fans don’t want it because they’re big football fans, it’s going to be good either way.’’
Johnson beat out Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski in the votng to make it to the finals. The online poll can be found at ESPN.com.
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