A Gronk ‘Madden’ Cover Would Be a First for the Patriots
New England Patriots tight-end Rob Gronkowski was announced Monday as a finalist to appear on the cover of EA Sports’ Madden 16. If selected, Gronk would be the first Pats player to appear on the cover of the wildly popular video game franchise. He would also be subject to the purported “Madden Curse” that accompanies it, seemingly dooming players to mediocre performances and season-ending injuries in the following season. Remember Peyton Hillis?
The theme of Madden 16′s search for a poster boy is “Playmakers.” Gronkowski will face Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson, New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr., and Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown in the first round of fan voting, ending May 11. Fans will have an additional two days to select a winner, who will be announced on Sportscenter May 13.
While the Patriots haven’t gotten much love from Madden, other Boston sports teams have fairer a tad better with video games. Kevin Garnett appeared on the cover of NBA 2K9 at the apex of the Celtics’ Big Three era, while Larry Bird appeared on an alternate cover of 2K12, 1983’s One on One: Dr. J vs. Larry Bird, 1988’s Jordan vs. Bird: One on One, and as a member of the Dream Team on Team USA Basketball in 1992. The Celtics and Lakers cashed in on their legendary rivalry with Lakers versus Celtics and the NBA Playoffs in 1989, and ten years later, Antoine Walker graced the cover of EA’s NBA Live 99.
Selke Trophy-winning Bruins center and all-around perfect human Patrice Bergeron landed on the cover of EA’s NHL 15 after a lengthy fan vote culminating in a showdown against Montreal Canadians defenseman P.K. Subban. Before then, Bruin hadn’t appeared on a cover since goaltender Andy Moog appeared on NHL 94 to promote its new goalie-versus-goalie feature. NHL 2k2 for the Sony Dreamcast–remember Dreamcast?–featured Boston University star Chris Drury, but only once he joined the Colorado Avalanche.
In contrast, Red Sox players appear on the cover of MLB: The Show fairly often, with David Ortiz in 2006, Dustin Pedroia in 2009, and Adrian Gonzalez in 2012. Manny Ramirez appeared on the cover of MVP Baseball 2005, and Roger Clemens appeared on the eponymous Roger Clemens’ MVP Baseball in 1991, though it’s doubtful he faced much competition.