Whether you consider it a good or bad omen, Antonio Brown is of the final four candidates to be put on the cover for the NFL video game, Madden 16.
After the very quetionable decision to place Peyton Hillis on the cover of Madden 12, EA Sports has resorted to a voting system where the fans can vote for which player should be chosen to be on the cover of the game.
Antonio Brown has undoubtedly been the best receiver in the NFL in the combined past two seasons, thus making him a more household name for people to talk about when discussing the NFL. As far as popularity goes, his big plays and consistent output makes him a recognizable athlete as one of the best in the league, and thereby a target for EA Sports to want him as the man for the cover in 2015.
The good side of this is that it increases the marketability of Brown and would make him the second Steeler to grace the cover of the Madden video game franchise. The first was Troy Polamalu for Madden 10, when both he and Larry Fitzgerald were chosen for the same cover and shared it for that season. The publicity that player gets is viewed as cool and if you like to play the video game, the cover player's team is usually featured more throughout the game.
The bad side is, well, very superstition sets in. If you've never heard of it before, it's the Madden curse. Since Madden 99 (each game is made for the year in which that season's Super Bowl will be played) the franchise has used players to be on the cover of each edition of the Madden franchise instead of John Madden, as it was from 1994-2000. Since the name change, many players whom were selected seemed to grace the cover have bad luck follow them in the season which they were on the cover, or shortly after the season had concluded.
You can read a full report on the history here, but some of the worst stories have been Michael Vick being injured for the season during the preseason, Shaun Alexander suffering a midseason injury that ultimately ended his career, and even our own Troy Polamalu suffering a week one injury that would keep him out of most of the 2009-2010 NFL season. Some athletes have beaten the trend over the years and many will point to those as examples that the curse doesn't exist, but this seasons such as this, when would Richard Sherman and many players in the Seattle Seahawks' secondary suffered injuries late in the season that would hamper them in their Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots.
Either way you see it, you can vote for or against Brown to be on the cover for Madden 2016. However, this year the process seems a little more complicated. It appears that the voting will have to be done through the Madden NFL Mobile application instead of on ESPN.com like it has in the past years.
Either way, place your vote...for Brown, or for superstition, in which case, vote for Gronk.