Worst Case Scenario: Calvin Johnson is on the Cover of Madden Edition

May 1, 2012

Features, Football

It was announced last week that Calvin Johnson was made the cover athlete of Madden 13. Naturally, this sent a wave of terror and nausea rippling through Lions fans, the like of which has not been felt since the all too recent days of Matt Millen orchestrated drafts. The Madden cover curse is arguably the most prevailing and dumbfounding curse in all of sports. With seeming infallible consistency, whichever NFL player has the (mis)fortune of gracing the cover of the popular video game franchise seems to suffer an series of inexplainable misfortunes, ranging from poor performance, to shocking defeats, to unforeseen injuries.

Calvin Johnson poses with his Madden 13 cover photo

Pictured: The harbinger of doom. Source

I feel it is my duty as a Lions fan to prepare myself, and others, for the absolute worst case scenario, or WCS, for Calvin Johnson this season. How bad can things get, you ask? Oh, they can get very bad.

Week 1: Detroit Lions vs St. Louis Rams

Week 1 of the NFL season actually goes very well for Calvin. He scores 5 touchdowns and accumulates 270 yards through the air in a romp over the Rams. However, after the game, in a rare show of boastfulness, Calvin tweets “Either the Rams suck, or I’m better at football then Jesus was at miracles.” This tweet does not go over well with the league or religious circles, resulting in Roger Goodell dropping a record $20,000 fine on Calvin for cyber bullying, and the Catholic church putting a $5000 bounty up for any player who puts Calvin on the sidelines.

Week 2: Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers

In a big redemption game for the Lions, Calvin fails to show up. Literally. After an afternoon media appearance, scheduled by the league to help repair Calvin’s image after what is by now being referred to as Tweet-gate, Calvin’s driver gets lost in downtown San Francisco, after assuring Calvin “dude, I know this city like the back of my hand. I don’t need a GPS.” This was, in fact, an attempt by the driver to cover up the fact that he did not actually own a GPS or a smartphone, or know anything about the city of San Francisco. Calvin would have used his smartphone, but Roger Goodell took it away until he could “learn to tweet responsibly.” The Lions lose by a field goal.

Week 3: Detroit Lions at Tennessee Titans

To assure that there is no repeat of the previous week, the Lions assign Calvin a “travel buddy” who will ensure that any obstacle that may prevent Calvin from arriving at the stadium on time is eliminated. Unfortunately, Ndamukong Suh takes this task a little too literally, and destroys much of downtown Nashville in the early morning hours before the game. Both Suh and Johnson are taken into custody, but no charges are filed, due to the prosecutor being unable to prove that one human being is capable of leveling half of a major city singlehandedly. When asked for details about the incident by the media, Suh replies “no comment” while Calvin breaks into gentle sobbing. Despite this setback, the Lions manage to pull out a two touchdown victory.

Week 4: Detroit Lions vs Minnesota Vikings

The press box at Ford Field is converted into a makeshift apartment for Calvin Johnson, in an attempt by the Lions to protect their star. This backfires when, the night before the game, lightening strikes Ford Field, causing the sound system to be set off at nearly 150 decibels, temporarily deafening Calvin. Despite this, in a display of heroism rarely seen outside of 80s sitcoms, Calvin overcomes his temporary disability to lead his team to a three touchdown victory, catching 12 passes for 112 yards in the process.

Week 5: Bye Week

During what should have been a quiet bye week, Calvin’s foot is run over by a fork lift while filming a commercial for storage company PODS. The damage is determined to be minor, and Calvin is placed in a walking boot. He is expected to miss two games.

Week 6: Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles

Calvin, unable to play due to his PODS commercial incident, sits in the sky box with offensive coordinator Scott Linehan during the game, assisting with analysis and strategy. In a thrilling fourth quarter comeback, Matt Stafford throws three touchdown passes down the stretch to get the Lions to overtime, where they ultimately fall to a late field goal. In the excitement, Calvin Johnson spills a Gatorade on his pants. ESPN, thinking Calvin has peed his pants in excitement, shows the clip an astonishing 384 times during a single episode of SportsCenter, devoting only 12 seconds to the game itself.

Week 7: Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears

After visiting several specialists, Calvin proves that not only that it was in fact Gatorade on the front of his pants the previous week, but is cleared to play on Monday Night Football in the windy city. Calvin plays, but the weather does not cooperate. Unusually powerful winds, even by Chicago standards, severely limit the passing game. Calvin only catches 2 passes for 39 yards, and does not score. The Lions lose 7-0. In a post game press conference, Johnson is quoted as saying that “this loss really blows.” He is subsequently fined by the league in the amount of $5,000 for puns unbecoming of an NFL player.

Week 8: Detroit Lions vs Seattle Seahawks

In the lead up to Week 8, Calvin is asked several times about the Madden Curse. Calvin repeatedly denies any belief in the curse, and publicly challenges the curse to “Get me this Sunday at Ford Field, if you really exist.” On the opening play of the game, Calvin catches an 83 yard TD pass from Matt Stafford to give the Lions an early 7-0 lead, contributing early to the Lions’ shutout victory. Upon reaching he bench, Calvin is struck in the eye by a paper airplane thrown by a fan in the upper levels of Ford Field, scratching Calvin’s cornea. Eye specialists recommend he sit out the next two weeks, informing him that “playing NFL football with an eye patch is literally one of the worst ideas we have ever heard.”

Week 9: Detroit Lions at Jacksonville Jaguars

Calvin Johnson ignores the advice of several physicians and plays with his eye covered by a heavy, pirate-like patch. Nobody can see this past his heavily tinted visor, however. Very quickly, Calvin learns the important role depth perception plays in his skill set. He drops three early passes, and completely misses three others, before woefully misjudging the depth of a route, running a referee over and knocking him unconscious in the process. Calvin is benched for his own safety and the safety of others shortly after this, but the Lions pull out a 14 point victory.

Week 10: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings

During the build up to this NFC North match up, little is heard from Calvin Johnson. Coach Schwartz is quoted mid-week as saying “I’ve talked to Calvin, and while I’m not concerned for his safety, I am worried about his behavior over the past few days.” Reportedly, Calvin has begun pleading with EA Sports to “put anyone else on the cover, preferably somebody already dead, ” even going as far as printing a crudely drawn version of the cover featuring Walter Camp and mailing copies out to addresses randomly selected via Google Maps. Calvin doesn’t make the trip to Minnesota with his teammates, telling local media “I just want to focus on rehabbing a few injuries and finish reading this book on the Occult I downloaded.” The Lions manage to pull out a narrow victory without Calvin, 21-19.

Week 11: Detroit Lions vs Green Bay Packers

Calvin is listed as a game time decision this week, but is expected to play when he’s seen lining the sidelines of Ford Field with what appears to be a mixture of baby powder and salt. When asked why he’s doing this, Calvin laughs for a full minute, before quietly returning to the locker room. During the game, Calvin catches 8 passes for 148 yards and three touchdowns, but refuses to play after the third quarter when he notices someone has stepped in the powder/salt mixture, leaving a noticeable gap. This doesn’t affect the outcome, however, and the Lions win by six. When asked again about the significance of the mixture, Calvin shakes his head and replies “its not important now. Its just not reliable enough.”

Week 12: Detroit Lions vs Houston Texans

The NFL, concerned that the near constant discussion of the Madden curse is having an adverse affect on Calvin, puts a gag order on all references to it. This does not seem to affect Calvin, however, who, before the Lions’ Thanksgiving clash with the Texans, is seen in the locker room in a heated discussion with his agent via cell phone. Upon ending the call, Calvin announces to everyone present “don’t worry guys, we’re going to be fine now!” before going to check on the turkey being prepared to serve during post game. Calvin burns both hands thanks to unusually thin potholders and sits out the Lions 35-33 Turkey Day loss.

Week 13: Detroit Lions vs Indianapolis Colts

On the Monday before the game, Calvin announces to the media that he will have big news to share with everyone in one week’s time, and that he will be sitting out the upcoming game with the Colts. When reporters ask why, Calvin says “a man in my position can’t afford to play against a team with a guy named Luck on it right now.” Nobody argues against this, and the Lions are victorious.

Week 14: Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers

Calvin’s big announcement is revealed early by the Wall Street Journal, who reports that he has acquired controlling interest in Electronic Arts, maker of the Madden franchise. EA makes an immediate recall for all copies of Madden 13, citing a vague piece of malicious code as the reason for the recall. In the mean time, The Lions’ losing streak in Green Bay continues after Calvin Johnson is knocked out of the game by Charles Woodson who runs head first into Calvin’s chest at full speed. Woodson claims to have no memory of this incident, or the game as a whole.

Week 15: Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals

At the behest of Calvin, who insists repeatedly that “the desert is literally the best place that we could be right now”, the Lions reluctantly agree to hold the entire week’s practice in Arizona. Meanwhile, gamers are furious at EA for not replacing their copies of Madden in a timely fashion. EA insists that when all copies of the game are returned, that the replacement will be shipped out. Protesters show up at University of Phoenix Stadium, demanding answers from Calvin Johnson. The league asks the Lions to hold Johnson out of the game, for the safety of all parties involved, which the Lions agree to. However, they go on to suffer a shocking 9 point loss the the Cardinals.

Week 16: Detroit Lions vs Atlanta Falcons

Mid week, EA announces that all known copies of Madden 13 have been returned, and begins shipping out replacements. Many are upset when they find out EA has not in fact shipped reworked copies of Madden 13, but a reboot of the Tecmo Bowl franchise, complete with 1980s graphics and controls. Reporters flock to Calvin Johnson, who comments “I think we can all agree that Madden had jumped the shark. and it was time for something new. I provided that. You all should thank me.” Shares of EA plummet almost immediately. Calvin Johnson and the Lions, however, dominate their Saturday night game with the Falcons, with Calvin scoring two touchdowns and the team cruising to a 20 point victory.

Week 17: Detroit Lions vs Chicago Bears

The Lions, needing a win to clinch a playoff spot, do so with little fanfare, beating the Bears by a score of 35-7, helped in part by Calvin Johnson’s two touchdowns, and Tecmo Bowl ’13’s cover athlete Jay Cutler’s NFL record nine interceptions. When asked after the game about the potential of a Tecmo Bowl curse, Calvin Johnson calmly replies “there’s no such thing as a Tecmo Bowl curse. Its a hex. And you can quote me on that.”

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