By Seth Rubinroit
Photos by Sam Rubinroit
“I was honored, especially going on it with a guy like Troy Polamalu,” Fitzgerald said about the cover. “It was the first time they had two cover athletes, so it is great. I am excited.”
Many athletes have had poor seasons or injuries after being on the cover of Madden, leading to a widespread belief in a Madden Curse. Players such as Michael Vick, Donavan McNabb, and Shaun Alexander have suffered substantial injuries after being on the cover. Fans even created SaveLTFromMadden.com to try to keep San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson off the cover. Despite the hype about the Madden Curse, Fitzgerald is not worried.
“I believe in god, and Troy does to,” Fitzgerald said. “He has led our path this far, and He is not going to lead us in the wrong direction.”
At the Madden NFL ’10 Pigskin Pro-Am celebrity flag football game in Malibu, California, Fitzgerald, who served as a coach, had a chance to talk to Jerry Rice, the former San Francisco 49er who is considered the best wide receiver of all time.
“I know Jerry pretty well personally, and we talk about offense,” Fitzgerald said. “He has been a great mentor to me throughout my younger days, and continues to be.”
Fitzgerald was the third pick in the 2004 NFL Draft out of the University of Pittsburgh. In college, he won the Fred Biletnikoff Award as the top college football receiver. In 2008, Fitzgerald had 96 receptions for 1,431 yards and 12 touchdowns. He has made three Pro Bowls, and won the 2009 Pro Bowl MVP. In the playoffs, Fitzgerald set NFL records for the most receiving yards, catches, and touchdowns in a single postseason, helping the Cardinals reach their first Super Bowl in franchise history.
In order to reach the Super Bowl again this season, the Cardinals “need to work hard, and not let complacency set in,” Fitzgerald said. “I think we will fair pretty well.”
To see Fitzgerald coach NFL legends such as Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, and John Elway in the Madden NFL ’10 Pigskin Pro-Am celebrity flag football, tune into the NFL Network, ESPN2, VH-1, and SPIKE in the days leading up to the August 14 release of Madden NFL ’10.
T.J. Houshmanzadeh, a wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks, made headlines when he decided to boycott playing Madden NFL ’10 because his overall rating was too low. His ranking is not among the ten highest wide receivers.
Last season, Houshmanzadeh had 92 receptions for 904 yards and 4 touchdowns, which were all below his 2007 numbers.
Several NFL players could empathize with Houshmanzadeh.
“I am probably going to boycott the game too if I get a bad rating, but they do a good job when it comes to the ratings,” DeMarcus Ware, Pro Bowl linebacker with the Dallas Cowboys, said with a smile.