Rob Gronkowski seems to have it all. The tight end for the New England Patriots has millions of dollars in endorsement deals, massive yacht parties with hundreds of his closest friends, and a spot on the Madden NFL 17 cover. But that cover, like so many stars who came before him, may have cursed “Gronk” to suffer the injury that has knocked him out of the 2016 season.
In a new video promoting Madden NFL 17, Gronkowski slowly sits down on his couch, nursing his injured back, next to a giant jar of cheese puffs as he turns on his television to hear pundits discuss the “Madden Curse.” His injury placed him on the injured reserve list and forced him to miss the remainder of the season.
“Do you think I did this to you, Robert?” a mysterious disembodied voice asks. “You think this is my fault, don’t you?”
Gronkowski realizes the voice is coming from the Madden cover itself, but instead of sulking, he takes the opportunity to fire up his Xbox and complete his superstar season, albeit virtually. He has never been one to take himself seriously, and his larger-than-life persona was parodied recently on Saturday Night Live. Strangely, however, the show opted to just use a floating jersey without a person inside of it for the sketch.
In the past, football stars who appeared on the game’s cover went on to have a season filled with injuries — Troy Polamula suffered a medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury at the very start of the 2010 season after getting on the cover, for instance. Others, like Browns running back Peyton Hillis, just had lousy numbers after receiving the extra attention.
Though he also suffered from lower-than-expected performance after appearing on the game’s cover, longtime Packers quarterback Brett Favre is among the most successful players to have been permanently enshrined in video game history. The Hall-of-Famer and grandpa is making his return to the franchise in “Madden Ultimate Team,” and one version of him is entirely free to all players.
Madden NFL 17 is available now on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 3.