Ravens

Ravens

In the past, many NFL stars tried to avoid being the cover athlete for the Madden NFL video game, citing the curse that follows.

But on Sunday, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the cover athlete for Madden NFL 20, the game's most recent edition, raised the Lombardi Trophy for the first time in his career when Kansas City defeated San Francisco in Super Bowl LIV. 

Baltimore's official Twitter account put out a video this week deeming the Madden curse dead, and thus, endorsing Lamar Jackson as the game's next cover athlete.

But is the curse actually dead?

It started with one of the game's first editions in 1999, with Garrison Hearst on the cover. He suffered a devastating ankle injury that took him two seasons to recover. Barry Sanders promptly retired just weeks after being on the cover in 2000. Eddie George never put up the same numbers after he graced the cover in 2001.

Dante Culpepper, Marshall Faulk, Michael Vick, Ray Lewis, Shaun Alexander, Vince Young, Peyton Hillis and Troy Polamalu were all bit by the curse with a statistical regression or injury the following season after being named the cover athlete. 

Only a few cover athletes -- Calvin Johnson, Richard Sherman, Tom Brady, and now Mahomes -- have completely beaten the curse in the game's nearly two-decade existence.

Jackson and Mahomes have different play styles, but they both have similar career arch's thus far. Both sat behind a proven veteran as a rookie and then won the league MVP their first year as a starter. Mahomes followed up his NFL MVP with a Super Bowl title this season, something Jackson will look to do in 2020.

 

Now, Jackson could follow in Mahomes' path as the Madden cover athlete.

"I don't believe in the curse," Jackson told reporters in November. "I play football. If it comes, it comes. But I'm playing football at the end of the day. Tom Brady was on the cover at one point, he still won Super Bowls."

Now, the Ravens hope Jackson, should he be named to the cover of the video game, joins the exclusive club of those who avoided the jinx.

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