As much as it saddens me to write this, there is a new curse in town. You can take your Billy Goats and Bambinos and video game covers and throw them out the window.
The Herald Sports Curse is real.
Four Herald sports editors wrote features this academic year on four individuals associated with Wisconsin athletics. And they all dropped like the drink your drunk roommate was “still working on” at the bar last Friday.
Back in the first fall issue, I did a story on men’s soccer coach Todd Yeagley. Now he’s the men’s soccer coach at Indiana after bolting from UW like it was a bad one-night stand.
Current Managing Editor Michael Bleach did a nice piece on football O-lineman Travis Frederick, the first true freshman ever to start on the line to begin the season. Two days later, Frederick goes down with an ankle sprain.
On Oct. 15, Max Henson writes about redshirt freshman Mike Taylor’s success as a starting linebacker. Two days later, Taylor’s knee is more torn up than your dorm room when you can’t find your keys.
We reached a relative lull after that, and I’m proud to say we had nothing to do with Jon Leuer’s wrist and that the men’s hockey team remains intact. But then Sports Editor Jordan Schelling decided more damage was needed.
A glowing column about now former defensive end O’Brien Schofield’s success in the East-West Shrine Bowl needed only a one-day turnaround to doom the NFL prospect. Monday, Schofield tore his ACL in Senior Bowl practice, a severe blow to his draft status — which had just picked up in the last week or so.
So to all athletes we have spoken to, or will speak to in the future: We’re sorry. Hopefully the curse is temporary, and we’ve all only been responsible for one each. Just watch out for Associate Sports Editor Mike Fiammetta — he’s due.
Everyone knows the only curse worth talking about is the Madden Curse. Just look at the evidence.
Since 1999, every athlete to appear on the Madden cover has seen his career take a turn for the worse. For some, that turn was more like an unexpected U-turn while traveling at a rate of 100 miles per hour.
Over the first four years of the curse, the Madden team took down four players who had led their teams to playoff success in Dorsey Levens, Eddie George, Daunte Culpepper and Marshall Faulk. After gracing the Madden cover, none of their once-great careers were the same.
After opening up 4-for-4, the folks at Madden decided to kick it up a notch in 2003.
They put superstar quarterback Michael Vick on the cover and it only took one day for Vick’s right fibula to snap like a twig after the game hit store shelves.
From 2004 to 2006, Ray Lewis, Donovan McNabb and Shaun Alexander were on the cover of the 2005, 2006 and 2007 games, respectively. The trio missed six, seven and six games during their Madden cover seasons.
In 2007, Vince Young thought he could reverse the curse. How foolish. It didn’t happen in one year, but Young warmed the bench for nearly all of the 2008 season.
Finally, this year, both Troy Polamalu and Larry Fitzgerald were featured on the cover as EA Sports figured they couldn’t both go down.
They were right, but Polamalu’s injury in Week One kept him out the entire season, and the reigning Super Bowl Champs out of the playoffs entirely.
The Madden Curse is real.There’s 10 years of evidence.
As much as I want publicity for The Badger Herald, I don’t think making up the “Herald Curse” is the way to do it, Adam.
On the other hand, don’t expect me to let Mike Fiammetta interview me anytime soon, I can’t afford to go down with a knee injury.