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The more things change, the more they stay the same. For the first time in Madden NFL video game history two players  were selected to share the cover of the popular franchise; Steelers Strong Safety Troy Polamalu and Arizona Cardinals Wide Receiver Larry Fitzgerald. But to the dismay of many football fans in Pittsburgh( and fantasy football players nationwide), the fabled Madden Curse appears to be as strong as ever.

The first professional player to appear on the cover of Madden Football was Garrison Hearst in 1999. (Prior to this John Madden had been on all of the covers.) The Running Back for the San Fransciso 49ers had a great season but suffered a broken ankle in the playoffs. It takes something happening more than once to establish a trend, so when Quarterback Daunte Culpepper appeared on the cover of Madden NFL  2002 and missed fives games due to injury, superstitious fans came to believe in “The Madden Curse.”  Since then Marshall Faulk (2003), Michael Vick ( 2004), Donovan McNabb (2006) and Shaun Alexander (2007) have sustained injuries after appearing on the cover of the game.

Last night the curse struck again. The Super Bowl champion Steelers won the game against the Tennessee Titans 13-10, but lost Pro Bowl defensive player Polamalu for three to six weeks after sustaining a knee injury in the second quarter. Before getting hurt, Polamalu made a one-handed interception and led both teams in tackles with six.

Larry Fitzgerald and the Cardinals play on Sunday against the San Franciso 49ers. Fans should cross their fingers or sprinkle some holy water on their jerseys.

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