Despite the post-touchdown religious rituals that sanctify end zones, little superstition hangs over The Explorer’s sports desk.
But I’ve learned to fear the Madden Curse — for not even light, nor Brett Favre, can escape it.
Lamprey-like, the hex attaches to NFL players adorning the cover of the world’s greatest video game and drubs seasons in ways no chicken’s foot-and-beads ensemble could.
Now the bane’s burrowed inter-dimensional, seared through the looking glass, and into the realm of retired players.
For 2009, the Madden Curse stunningly morphed Favre into the NFL’s version of Hillary Clinton, running a circus-like resistance toward hanging up the jersey.
The EA Sports game gurus thought they walked the safe path this year. Plaster someone legendary — yet, inactive — on the box. No chances of a Shaun Alexander-ish broken foot, or Daunte Culpepperesque 4-7 season, supposedly.
The worst Favre could’ve done was soak up a nasty hangover and fall off his riding mower during the NFL Thanksgiving telecast. Right?
Even the Voodoo Lady from Richard Pryor’s “Mudbone,” Miss Rudolph, would glow.
And she turned a railroad worker into a polar bear.
One day, the Madden programmers, just for kicks, will include sports-agent arbitration and back-from-the-dead-just-one-more-season comeback modes for retirees.
Predictably enough, they’ll call this “The Favre Update.”
But the code geeks have bigger walleye to fillet for the moment. Like who to put on the 2010 cover.
Forget Michael Vick. Prison is sketchy enough without invoking the wrath of the spirit world. And they can’t use John Madden, considering the zealous manner in which he handles a turkey drumstick. You can already imagine the bone lodged horizontally in his neck, Tex Avery-style.
Maybe Osama bin Laden, streaking over the goal line for a collarbone-snapping botched reception? Or the Euro, to sandbag the dollar’s devaluation?
You’ve got to hand it to Aaron Rodgers, who’s avoided sprinkling liquid mercury around his locker ala Santeria, lest the Madden Curse nest in his jockstrap by proximity.
But if the Packers suddenly develop autism symptoms while running from Lambeau Field’s tunnel, you’ll know he cracked.
Just like the 2010 cover star’s tibia.