One National Football League player I'm watching closely this season is Calvin Johnson, the fabulous wide receiver for the Detroit Lions.
It's not because Johnson led the NFL in receiving yards last season with 1,681 yards. Or because he has a cool nickname -- Megatron -- that makes him sound like a superhero.
No, I'm keeping an eye on Johnson because he's on the cover of this season's "Madden NFL 13" video game. Folks say the player on the cover is doomed to have a bad season.
Last year, Cleveland Browns star running back Peyton Hillis was on the cover of "Madden 12." Sure enough, Hillis had a bad season. His rushing yards dropped from 1,177 to just 587, and he scored only three touchdowns.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees had a terrific season the year before he was on the cover of "Madden 11." But the Seattle Seahawks upset his team in the first round of the NFL playoffs.
Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, and quarterbacks Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick were injured during the season each was on the game's cover.
Quarterbacks Brett Favre ("Madden 09"), Vince Young ("Madden 08") and Daunte Culpepper ("Madden 02") had terrible seasons, throwing loads of interceptions, when they appeared on the game's cover.
Now, I don't believe in curses. After all, baseball fans said the Boston Red Sox were cursed because they hadn't won the World Series for more than 80 years. They called it "The Curse of the Bambino" after the Sox traded Babe Ruth (who was called "The Bambino" and may have been the best player ever) to the New York Yankees.
The Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 and 2007. So I guess there was no curse.
Some Chicago Cubs fans think their team is cursed. They haven't won a World Series for more than 100 years. Washington Capitals fans are beginning to think they can't win the big one. The Capitals always seem to lose a heartbreaker in the National Hockey League playoffs.
Can Megatron break the Madden Curse? Keep an eye on him.bookclub