According to NFL.com, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has been selected to grace the cover of Madden NFL 17.
Gronk barely lost out on the honor last year, where he was runner-up to Odell Beckham. Getting a Madden cover image is considered a huge honor in many circles, as Gronk will now join legends of the game like Barry Sanders, Brett Favre, and Adrian Peterson. This year, he usurped odds-on favorite Cam Newton for the title.
And while it's pretty cool to say you've graced the cover of one of the most popular video game franchises of all time, there's a much more sinister side to this whole equation: the dreaded Madden Curse. Depending on who you talk to, and depending on who you believe, the Madden Curse is all but a guarantee: whoever gets the cover is either going to get injured or have a lousy season. And for a player with Gronk's injury history, I for one don't like this thing one bit.
Of course, we can all look to recent cover guys and have reason for optimism. Beckham caught 96 passes for over 1400 yards and 13 TDs last season. Richard Sherman, who graced the cover of Madden 15, stayed healthy all season. Calvin Johnson, who was on the cover in 2013, had 122 catches for almost 2,000 receiving yards that season. So maybe the curse is dead. But still, the last thing we all needed is something else to stress about this offseason, yet here we find ourselves.
Everyone who worships at the altar of the football gods, please do some extra sacrificing this year. The only way to combat bad juju is with good juju, and the more we can get out into the ether, the better Gronk's chances of staying healthy.
Madden NFL 17 will be available on August 23.