It was all going great. Troy Polamalu, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ star safety, lit up the field Thursday night in the NFL opening game against the Tennessee Titans. He was all over the field, tackling guys left and right. He even caught an interception, although he racked up a few (two of which were undeserved) penalties. Then, it all came crashing down.
Troy Polamalu left the game at the end of the first half and it was questionable if he would return. After the game, Mike Tomlin reported that Troy had suffered an injury — a sprained MCL to be exact. This could keep Troy out for 3-6 weeks.
Now, superstitions are everywhere, especially in sports. Troy Polamalu, along with Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, were recently put on the cover of Madden NFL '10. It’s a great honor, obviously, but is it also a curse?
The legend is that the year after the player is on the cover of the video game, the player has a horrible year. Maybe the player suffers an injury like Troy or the player just doesn’t put up the statistics he is used to.
That’s absurd, right?
Well, oddly enough, the legend has some credibility.
• 2001: Eddie George (Tennessee Titans) had the worst statistics in all his years with the Titans.
• 2002: Daunte Culpepper (Minnesota Vikings) led the Vikings to be 6-10, throwing 23 interceptions and having 21 fumbles.
• 2003: Marshall Faulk's (St. Louis Rams) statistics went way down after the 2002 season.
• 2004: Michael Vick (Atlanta Falcons) was injured in the preseason and didn’t return until Week 11. When he came back, he racked up horrible statistics.
• 2005: Ray Lewis (Baltimore Ravens) was injured.
• 2006: Donovan McNabb (Philadelphia Eagles) was injured in Week 11. He also never went to a Pro Bowl after being on the cover.
• 2007: Shaun Alexander (Seattle Seahawks) was injured.
• 2008: Vince Young (Tennessee Titans) allegedly tried to kill himself and lost the starting job to Kerry Collins.
• 2009: Brett Favre (Green Bay Packers) led the Jets to be 9-7, but the team lost four of their last five games, missed the playoffs, and got his coach fired.
Coincidence or curse?
The legend just continues with Troy. Hopefully, the Cardinals can lock up Fitzgerald in a safe place between games. Without him, Kurt Warner and the rest of the Cardinals will struggle to get in the playoffs.