Larry Fitzgerald and Troy Polamalu Face Madden Jinx

The dreaded Madden jinx has been placed on two players this season

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    Does the prospect of a curse change draft plans?

    The makers of the incredibly popular Madden series thought they'd dodged a bullet last year when they put Brett Favre on the cover of the game wearing a Green Bay Packers jersey. When the choice was made, Favre was retired and any curse associated with appearing on the cover would seem to have no effect on a retired player. But Favre returned to play for the Jets, though, and the curse reared its ugly head when the Jets crashed and burned down the stretch.

    This year they'll try to get rid of any bad mojo by splitting the duties between two players. Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals and Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers will share space on the cover of Madden NFL 10 and, hopefully, trick the comos into letting them and their teams avoid any pitfalls normally asssociated with the honor.

    Even if the two players avoid serious injury, their teams might not be happy about the appearance. No player who has appeared on the Madden cover has played in the Super Bowl in the same season and some, like Donovan McNabb, have gone from the big game to out of the playoffs the next year. 

    The game itself adds features like fighting for fumbles at the bottom of a pile and gang tackling to the mix this season. According to Pasta Padre, Fitzgerald will be on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" tonight to play the game. If he sprains his thumb, we'll know that the curse is for real.

    Madden Gives Up the Game

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    For more than 40 years, pro football has been John Madden's life. He announced Thursday that he'll be retiring from football broadcasting. (Published Thursday, Apr 16, 2009)

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.