Three and out: Newton, Megatron in Madden hunt

Typically, the Three and out blog touches on three current topics that will affect fantasy football. But today I’m focusing on one – the Madden cover curse.

With one round left in the voting for the “honor” of donning the latest edition of the popular video game, fantasy enthusiasts have to be worried about the potential fate of the two finalists – Cam Newton and Calvin Johnson. Both players were superstars in 2011, and they’re likely first-round selections in next season’s fantasy drafts.

But based on the morbid history of the Madden cover athlete, I am going to have some reservations about taking either one of them. Last year’s cover athlete, Peyton Hillis, told me in an interview that he didn’t believe in the curse. But after injuries and a major decline in statistical success followed his presence on the cover, the veteran changed his tune.

Even the great LaDainian Tomlinson told me that he passed on being on the cover during his career, in part because he was worried about being another victim of the dreaded curse.

So will I pass on the newest member of the Madden cover club?

If it’s Newton, I will.

I know he is coming off the greatest rookie season at his position of all time. I also know he broke an NFL record for rushing touchdowns in a single season at his position. But that might be even more reason to avoid him. Couple what will be ridiculously high statistical expectations and the Madden curse and well, Newton could have bust written all over him.

As for Johnson, I would never take a wide receiver in the first round regardless of if he were the potential victim of a curse or not. But whether or not he’s able to duplicate the career numbers he posted in 2011 remains to be seen — if the cover hex continues, he won’t.

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