It's safe to say that 2010 has been a good year for Drew Brees. The NFL quarterback led his team, the New Orleans Saints, to victory in Super Bowl XLIV in February, completing 32 of 39 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns. As a result, the Saints--who were displaced for a season following Hurricane Katrina in 2005--earned a first-ever Super Bowl victory, with Brees himself named the game's MVP.
Now, Brees has earned another accolade--in the game world. This morning, EA Sports announced that the Purdue University alum will be the cover athlete for Madden NFL 11. He was chosen over Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen and Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne in an online vote conducted by EA Sports. Electronic Arts' sports division will also be using its Web site to allow voters to rate rookie players during the NFL Draft, which begins today at 4:30 p.m. PDT/7:30 p.m. EDT.
Madden NFL 11 is set for release this August on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, PSP, and iPhone. Developed by Orlando, Florida-based EA Tiburon, the game will introduce GameFlow, a new coaching system that lets players call more realistic, situational plays in less time. It will also feature an overhauled presentation with new audio and broadcast flourishes, as well as revised animations and online features.
The Madden NFL 11 cover adds to Brees' 2010 triumphs, which come five years after his career was almost ended following a shoulder injury in the last game of his 2005 season with the San Diego Chargers. Such mishaps will certainly be on the minds of his fans, due to the so-called "Madden Curse" that has afflicted many players chosen to cover a game in the 21-year-old series. Most recently, one of Madden NFL 10's cover athletes, Pittsburgh Steelers Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu, suffered a knee injury in the second quarter of last season's opening game.
He wasn't the only one. Madden NFL 2008's cover athlete, Vince Young, received a knee injury that caused his backup quarterback, Kerry Collins, to start most of the 2008 season. After a string of injuries, 2007 cover star Shaun Alexander went from being the NFL's Most Valuable Player to being a backup running back in just two years. Madden NFL 06 cover athlete Donovan McNabb suffered a season-ending sports hernia halfway through the season after he was named cover athlete. Also, 2004 cover athlete Michael Vick missed most of the 2004 season after breaking his leg--and was incarcerated after being convicted on a series of gambling and dogfighting-related felonies in 2007.