Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Not about music, but...

...but if you haven't noticed, I kind of have a football video game fetish.

In some of the best news to hit San Diego in weeks, Chargers superstar runningback LaDainian Tomlinson will NOT be on the cover of Madden 2007. That "honor" will instead go to Tennessee Titans phenom quarterback Vince Young.

Sports fans fear curses just as much as they cherish the games' rituals and unspoken rules, even if they won't admit it. The Chicago Cubs don't lose because of a billy goat, but there's no bogeyman either ... right???

Madden has its own curse. The video games, which actually date all the way to the Apple II days, used to just have the Hall of Fame coach on the game box, but since 2000 a different player who had a huge year makes the cover.

And something bad always happens to them.

Barry Sanders was on the 2000 edition and he abruptly retires from football. Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick, the 2004 cover man, broke his leg in the preseason and the team tanked. The coach lost his job. When runningback Marshall Faulk appeared on the 2003 box, he missed five games with an ankle injury and never cracked the 1,000 yard benchmark in a season again. Daunte Culpepper (2002), Ray Lewis (2005), Donovan McNabb (2006) and Shaun Alexander (2007) all were injured in the season when they were on the cover.

How serious to fans take this? Enough that San Diego fans started a Web site and online petition to keep EA Sports, which makes the game, from picking L.T.

Now, all curses aside, a million things have to go right to have a breakout year in the physically punishing NFL (Ben Roethlisberger didn't need a video game cover to get in a motorcycle wreck and have an appendectomy), and one of the rules of football is a runningback is always one play away from a career-ending injury.

It's totally set up to happen for Vince Young. After one of sports' rarities, a great rookie quarterback season, he feels like he sees the field. Plus he loves to run. One good blindside from a linebacker and, POW, Michael Vick II. Or maybe he'll get hit by a bus, but not for a month or so, enough time for him to forget and let his guard down.

But with all the nearly-Shakespearean drama of the Chargers' season -- L.T.'s records, the team's success, playoff bust, coaching change -- having L.T. be picked would be the kiss of death.

So breathe easy, San Diego. Now all the team needs to worry about is gelling under a new coach and sophomore QB, staying healthy and navigating one of the toughest schedules in the league.

OK, back to music...

No comments: