Friday, 23rd August 2019

The Madden Curse

Posted on 02. Feb, 2011 by FSM Staff in Highlight, NFL

The Madden Curse

As NFL fans from around the globe patiently wait for the Super Bowl this month, they are killing time by talking trash and debating football pop-culture. With Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints taking an early flight out of the Playoffs this season, discussion of the “Madden Curse” has sparked up between amigos yet again.

For those readers out there who know not of the curse or its wicked ways, all will be revealed if you keep reading (and click some Google ads while you’re at it). John Madden is a legendary personality in the history of the NFL as a coach and broadcaster. He is also filthy stinkin’ rich thanks to the tremendously successful video game franchise “Madden”. For the last ten years or so, there has been a different NFL superstar on the cover of the latest edition of the game. And for the last ten years or so, that superstar usually has some bad luck with injuries and life in general after he has made the cover. Some say coincidence while others claim that higher powers are at play. Whatever the reason, most fans believe that the “curse” is on a player’s mind when he agrees to be on the Madden cover.

Much like the Swiss, FreeSportsMag does not have an official stance on the Madden Curse. While we do not formally recognize its existence, we acknowledge that something doesn’t smell quite right about the situation. Here is a list of NFL players that made the Madden cover in the last decade and a brief summary of life for them after the big photo shoot. You can decide for yourself if you believe in this curse…

2001 Eddie George – After appearing on the game cover, George and the Tennessee Titans crapped out of the 2001 NFL playoffs which doesn’t seem too bad. George also never averaged more than 3.3 yards per carry for the remainder of his career which is bad however.

2002 Daunte Culpepper – Making the cover in 2002, Culpepper led the Minnesota Vikings to a 5-11 season record. And as a special “curse” bonus, Culpepper set an NFL record for fumbles in a season. In 2005 and 2006 Culpepper suffered serious knee issues and he has never been the same since.

2003 Marshall Faulk – The season Faulk appeared on the Madden cover was the beginning of the end for him and the Super Bowl caliber St. Louis Rams. Faulk’s yards per carry declined for the next three seasons until he retired due to knee problems.

2004 Michael Vick – Vick barely made it to the 2004 season. He broke his leg during a meaningless pre-season game which caused him to miss the first 12 meaningful games of the real season for the Atlanta Falcons. Vick would later get in trouble with the law and go to prison for his role in illegal dog fighting. But more recently, Vick resurrected himself with the Philadelphia Eagles making the Pro Bowl this season. Is this evidence the curse can be lifted?

2005 Ray Lewis – Ray Lewis survived the curse for the first 14 games of the 2005 NFL season but his streak ended with a week 15 wrist injury. Lewis also finished the season without an interception for the first time in his career. All other cover models considered, Lewis got off relatively easy. He is still an all-pro middle linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens and shows no signs of slowing down. Some would even argue that he is getting away with murder. We just think the curse is scared of him.

2006 Donovan McNabb – McNabb suffered a season ending ACL injury to his right knee after he made the cover for the 2006 season. The Philadelphia Eagles ultimately unloaded McNabb by trading him to the Washington Redskins which has been a wasteland of fading stars in the past few years.

2007 Shaun Alexander – After being named MVP the previous season, Alexander fought a foot injury causing him to miss six starts during the 2007 campaign. Alexander would never regain his MVP form and eventually found his way on to the Redskins much like his 2006 predecessor.

2008 Vince Young – Young did not have any severe injuries or bad luck after appearing on the Madden cover. He had a
decent season and it was not until more recently that injuries and personality differences with his head coach have caused his future with the Tennessee Titans to be in jeopardy.

2009 Brett Favre – A retired Favre made the 2009 cover in a Green Bay Packer uniform. Shortly after the game was released, Favre unretired and joined the New York Jets forcing EA sports to release an updated Madden cover online. The Jets started the season 8-3 but ended 9-7 and missed the playoffs. Favre led the NFL in interceptions that season with 22 while playing with a torn bicep for the final five games.

2010 Larry Fitzgerald / Troy Polamalu – Polamalu and Fitz were both featured on the 2010 edition of Madden thanks to the popularity of the Steelers/Cardinals Super Bowl game the previous season. It was the first time in the game’s history that two players were pictured on the same cover. Polamalu sprained his MCL during the first regular season game of the 2010 season and missed the next four games. He also missed games later in the season with a different ligament injury and the Steelers ended the 2010 campaign in a manner not befitting of champions. Larry Fitzgerald on the other hand was able to start all 16 regular season games and was voted in to the 2010 Pro Bowl.

2011 Drew Brees – After shocking the world by defeating the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl the prior year, Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints shocked the world again last month by losing in the first round of the playoffs to the undeserving 7-9 Seattle Seahawks. Many experts are calling it one of the biggest upsets in NFL playoff history.

Lorenzen Wright Memorial

Posted on 03. Aug, 2010 by FSM Staff in Highlight, NBA

Lorenzen Wright Memorial

Tragedy seems to be striking the sports world more than usual these days with the recent deaths of Steve McNair and Chris Henry just to name a few. Lorenzen Wright is the latest sports figure to lose his life in what can only be described as a senseless act of violence.

Though the circumstances surrounding Wright’s death are still a mystery, the Memphis Police Department knows one thing for certain: Lorenzen Wright was murdered.

The Memphis police claim to be working hard to solve the case which they have ruled a homicide. Wright’s body was found in the woods outside of Memphis, multiple gunshots being the cause of death. It is not clear why Wright was murdered though there is talk of a high profile Memphis drug dealer being involved. Whatever the circumstances, Lorenzen Wright deserved to exit this life with much more dignity and our heart goes out to him and his family.

Lorenzen Wright is described as a “people person” who “never met a stranger” by close friends. The owner of the Memphis Grizzlies, one of the NBA franchises Wright played for during his 13 year career, said that Wright “…delighted fans on the court with his passion and off the court with his generosity in [the] Memphis community…”

After a productive stint at the University of Memphis, Wright came in to the NBA as the #7 lottery pick with the Los Angeles Clippers. During his lengthy career, he also played for the Atlanta Hawks, Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings, and Cleveland Cavaliers. A physical presence in the paint, Wright had career averages of 8 points and 6.4 rebounds while playing in a total of 778 professional games.

A statement made by NBA coaching legend Hubie Brown, who coached Wright during his time with the Memphis Grizzlies, does a good job of summarizing Wright’s career and the impact he had on his teammates:

“In my second season with the team…he helped us win 50 games and make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. He had a physical presence, understood his job, was totally professional and, in our style of play, he excelled. He was well-respected by his peers because of his ability to be flexible. He’s an upbeat guy, and really enjoyed leadership. He was an emotional leader who could also back it up with his physical play.”

Another good guy gone. Rest in Peace Lorenzen Wright.

John Wooden Tribute

Posted on 05. Jun, 2010 by FSM Staff in Uncategorized

John Wooden Tribute

Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden passed away on 6/4/10 and the entire sports world is in mourning. The Wizard of Westwood was 99 years old and he left behind a legacy of greatness on and off the hardwood. Wooden’s outlook on life and the lessons he taught us will not be soon forgotten. There are and will be many articles out there about his great accomplishments which include winning a record 10 NCAA Basketball tournaments. FreeSportsMag would like to deviate slightly so that we can present to you some of John Wooden’s famous inspirational quotes. May his wisdom live on in the hearts and minds of athlete and non-athlete alike…

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

“A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.”

“Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”

“Adversity is the state in which man mostly easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then.”

“Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights.”

“Ability is a poor man’s wealth.”

“I’d rather have a lot of talent and a little experience than a lot of experience and a little talent.”

“Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.”

“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.”

“Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”

“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”

“You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.”

“Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.”

“What you are as a person is far more important that what you are as a basketball player.”

$5 Personal Training Business

Posted on 28. Mar, 2010 by FSM Staff in Highlight

$5 Personal Training Business

Have you ever wanted a career as a personal trainer, but you don’t know how to start? Do you have $5?

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All of this for the small investment of $5. This is what the experts like to call “low risk-high reward” in the world of business. If you decide personal training is not for you, you will only lose $5 and not thousands of dollars like many other entrepreneurs lose when they start a new business.

You will be able to begin your personal training journey almost immediately. All orders are sent directly to you in digital format via your personal e-mail address within 48 hours of payment. We accept payment via credit card and PayPal. All payments are processed securely through the official PayPal website.

*guide sent in PDF format

DONE-leavy in Los Angeles?

Posted on 03. Jan, 2010 by stavkav in NBA

DONE-leavy in Los Angeles?

Just when I think I have myself all figured out, life knocks me on my arse and shows me just how ignorant I truly am. The most recent knockdown occurred on April 10th, when I was fortunate enough to get free tickets to the L.A. Clippers versus the Sacramento Kings contest at Staples Center. On this night, the basketball gods were kind enough to reach down to the 8th row behind the Clipper bench and replace one fan’s hate with wisdom.

In the previous five years, there has been no greater Mike Dunleavy basher than yours truly (well maybe the Sports Guy Bill Simmons). As an avid Los Angeles Clippers fan, many of Coach Dunleavy’s decisions have caused me to experience panic attacks, curse profusely in front of family, and abuse alcohol. Dunleavy’s coaching against the Phoenix Suns in the 2006 NBA Playoffs was especially bad for my physical and mental health. I never want to hear the name Daniel Ewing again.

A good Dunleavy bashing always starts with a little bit of history. Before a tirade begins, the listener must be told that the only reason Mike Dunleavy took the L.A. Lakers to the finals in 1991 was because Magic Johnson and James Worthy were on that team. The listener must then be made aware of the monumental meltdown/choke-job that occurred in the 2000 Western Conference Finals where the Portland Trailblazers, coached by Dunleavy, gave up a double digit lead to Shaq, Kobe, and the rest of the L.A. Lakers during the final minutes of game 7. Damon Stoudamire never wants to hear the name Mike Dunleavy again.

After the history portion of the bash is complete, any number of Dunleavy short-comings or current Clipper woes can be discussed at length using as many expletives as necessary. When concluding the tirade, it is crucial to mention the only way to make everything right is for owner Donald Sterling to fire Mike Dunleavy.

I was prepared to use the Dunleavy-bashing formula described above on April 10th at Staples Center. My hate for the man was turned up to 11 and I was ready to talk with whatever fan was willing to listen. But that didn’t end up being necessary because a drunken fan sitting a few rows away from me spoke up for the entire Clipper nation. The rumblings started in the first half. A few well-timed “Fire Dunleavy” shouts left most of us in the section by the Clipper bench chuckling. The beer must have been flowing at halftime because this fan really picked it up a notch during the second half. The shouts turned in to chants and his cronies even started getting in on the action. The chants then became louder and more frequent and the Clipper bench started to take notice.

Ricky Davis was the first to nonchalantly look back in an attempt to get a glimpse of the heckler. He also tried to hide a smile once he spotted him. I noticed others get sucked in to the drama as well. Assistant coach and former player Rory White casually glanced up during a time out as did announcer Mike Smith. This heckler was relentless and there is no doubt in my mind that Mike Dunleavy could hear every word. After a while, it just started to get uncomfortable in my section, especially as the “Fire Dunleavy” chant started to spread.

That’s when a very strange thing happened to me. I started to feel bad for the man who had been tormenting me for the last 5 years; I started to feel bad for Mike Dunleavy. I don’t know how or why this happened (that’s why I attributed the epiphany to the basketball gods earlier in this article), but somehow it happened. I started to think of all the positive things coach Dunleavy has done for the Clippers like leading them to the best record in franchise history and convincing owner Donald Sterling to finally spend money. I thought of some of the bigger names he was able to help bring to the Clippers like Sam Cassell, Baron Davis, and Marcus Camby. I realized that, besides Elgin Baylor and Eric Piatkowski, Mike Dunleavy is the only other form of continuity the Clippers have had in recent years. So, I finally cut the guy some slack.

I could finally admit that I was mad at myself and not Mike Dunleavy. In psychology, it is referred to as projection. I was angry with myself and projected that anger on to coach Dunleavy. I was mad at myself for having hope and believing the Clippers could ever be more than just L.A.’s b-team. I tasted a little bit of success in 2006 and thought it would be enough to change the history of a franchise overnight. I wanted immediate results and I started to get unruly. I think a big portion of the Clipper nation felt or currently feels this same way.

Los Angeles Clippers fans are usually patient, easy-going, and kind, not bitter and angry. This fan is going back to basics.

Who knows what the future holds for coach Mike Dunleavy? Based on his performance in the last three years, one would naturally assume that he may not be coaching the Los Angeles Clippers next season. However, knowing how the fiscally minded Donald Sterling likes to work, it also just as likely that Dunleavy will be the coach of the Clippers for the next few years instead of being bought out of a contract where he has over $10 million still coming his way.

A Momentary Lapse of Reason

Posted on 03. Jan, 2010 by stavkav in General Sports, NBA

A Momentary Lapse of Reason

Professional basketball fans in Los Angeles usually fall in to one of two groups. The first group is comprised of mellow people who have no problems going with the flow. These people never have high expectations and can have an equally good time going to a club or staying home to watch television. The second group is comprised of quite a different breed. This group is ultra confident and always wants to have a good time. In fact, their confidence can resemble arrogance and they may even seem to have a sense of entitlement. Some members of this group might enjoy a quiet night at home, but the majority are out and about, being seen and living the L.A. life up. If you live in southern California you know where I’m going with this. If you don’t call Los Angeles home, then pick which group you identify most with. Group number one means you are a Clippers fan. Group number two means you root for the Lakers.

While there are many more differences between Clippers and Lakers fans than the few mentioned above, one glaring similarity exists: both want to enjoy themselves and are not looking for any trouble. This holds a bit truer for Clippers fans as there is more drama associated with winning titles and tensions can be a bit higher over in Laker land.

Excessive winning can make a fan impatient. Laker fans have been known to get quite vocal at times. But their rants and shouts from the stands are usually comical in nature and rarely do they cross the line. Occasionally, the crowd will unite after a blown call to chant bullsh*t, bullsh*t in unison, but that is about as bad as it gets. So it is surprising to hear about the unruly behavior of the L.A. fans this past Christmas day during the game against the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers. The game was physical and the referees swallowed their whistles for the most part. The lack of foul calls frustrated the Lakers and ultimately led to Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher, and Lamar Odom getting technical fouls in protest. Odom persisted and was ejected from the game which prompted an atypical reaction from the crowd on hand at Staples Center. They shared the frustration of the Laker players and expressed this feeling by littering the court with foam hands that were passed out as part of a Nike promotion earlier that night.

“I’ve never seen an L.A. crowd react like this before,” said Lakers coach Phil Jackson after the incident. “I like their enthusiasm. I don’t like their demonstrative manner.”

Though the reaction from the L.A. fans at Staples Center was atypical, it was definitely not excusable. Amid the harmless foam signs that were twirling on to the court, a few water bottles found their way on as well. You will get no argument here that getting hit with foam is harmless. A full water bottle however, that is another story entirely. King James would agree:

“The only thing that you hope doesn’t happen is one of the players getting hit or a referee getting hit, especially by a full water bottle…when that came on the court, it was coming pretty fast. You don’t want that to happen because it could definitely hurt somebody. Luckily no one got hurt, and that’s a good thing.”

It is easy to see how a fan could have a momentary lapse of reason during a game of this magnitude. Kobe versus Lebron aside, there was also the storyline of Shaquille O’Neal making yet another glorious return to L.A. with yet another contender. In the heat of the moment, any fan might feel the urge to fling some foam.

“If you want to throw something, at least throw something that isn’t going to hurt,” Kobe tried to explain after the game. “So I guess that (foam) was the best situation.”