Then one day this kid named Darren Walsh touched the cheese with his finger, and that’s what started this thing called the Cheese Touch. It’s basically like Cooties. If you get the Cheese Touch, you’re stuck with it until you pass it on to someone else.

—Diary of a Wimpy Kid

I’m usually a pretty rational person. I call that play by Shakespeare by its name-MacBeth-much to the chagrin of a good friend that teaches college drama. I actually like black cats, and even watched the Ring complete with a phone call shortly afterward and lived to tell about it.

In some aspects of my life, I am incredibly superstitious.  Work is one of them. Never, ever use the Q word (the opposite of loud) because your previously uneventful day will implode and suddenly you’re hip deep in evil. I’m not even going to justify the whole issue I have with lobbing things into a trashcan. Miss it and whatever you were wishing for goes pffft. Let’s go one step further and declare a miss an ominous portent of badness.

When it comes to football, all bets are off. The question isn’t, are you superstitious .  The real issue is, Good lord, how many superstitions do you have?

The last field goal attempt I purposefully watched was Chris Jacke’s three-pointer in 1996 that clinched the game against San Francisco as time elapsed. Don’t think I saw a single Longwell kick during his tenure in Green Bay. When the kicker is setting up to bang it through the uprights, that’s usually my cue to hide in the hood of my sweatshirt, or bury myself in my turtleneck. Even paid a king’s ransom to sit in Dallas only so I could hide in my shirt as Mason Crosby solidified a Packer’s victory. Because every time I’ve looked up thinking I’m in the clear (including this past year’s loss to the Pats) the kicker shanks it or the ball bounces off the upright.

Just wait, it doesn’t stop there. I have lucky socks (Oddly they’re purple.) There are certain little rituals that are performed when I want the defense to strip the ball or get an interception which are completely different from when I’m hoping for a huge defensive play that date back to the late Nineties. Why, yes, I am very well aware that there are great medications to make this magical type of thinking evaporate.

And then there’s that Sport’s Illustrated Curse. Wanted to smack Peter King for making the Pack one of his picks. Hello, did he want them to lose? Thought the Packers were completely screwed. But then the SI Curse lost a little of its punch when I realized that there are multiple regional covers for both the NFL Preview as well as the playoff issues. That said, EVERY team in contention is cursed. Kind of negates itself, don’t you think?

But the Madden Curse? This grown woman that does not believe in the bogeyman totally believes in the evils that the Madden Curse brings. sums it up perfectly: Players who are chosen to be on the cover of the yearly edition of Madden NFL will be cursed with a future of injuries and/or (don’t you just love that clause?) a downward spiral to mediocrity in the subsequent season if not all-out obscurity.

Seriously, it’s the Cheese Touch of football! Once tainted by the curse (yes, I am well aware that Drew Brees walked away completely unscathed, but he’s one of the few exceptions to the rule in the past decade) a player can’t rid himself of the curse until it’s pawned off on a new sucker the next year. Dorsey Levins began his downward spiral in 2000 only to slip into obscurity after he was on the cover in later editions from that year. Eddie George and Daunte Calpepper became irrelevant after the 2001 and 2002 editions respectively.Then there’s Michael Vick. He broke his fibula after gracing the cover. And then there was that whole mess with the dogs and prison time (which he totally deserved, by the way.)Donovan McNabb has reaped the badness of the curse, and Vince Young has been on a collision course with implosion ever since his turn on the cover. The Curse is a gift that keeps on giving. Sure it could be a string of coincidences of the human brain trying to play connect the dots where there are no dots to actually connect.

Or is it?

Exhibit #1: EA Sports opens the voting via a bracket poll in the spirit of March Madness to select the next victim. The interwebs go nuts. Tweets fire left and right both proclaiming the end is nigh and to avoid the polls (or vote for suckers like Julius Peppers or Adrian Peterson.) Other factions are proclaiming, Curse Be Damned! and are campaigning for Aaron Rodgers to be the next face of Madden 2012. Needless to say, his name is mentioned in both circles. Within 24 hours of his name getting linked as a possible choice for 2012, Rodgers tweeted the following :

Rough last 24 hours, food poisoning is not fun at all, feel like myself this morning now. Lots of interesting madden curse tweets #isitreal?

Coincidence, or a warning shot? If he gets struck down with 24 hours of the hurls with nothing more than casual contact with the curse, what the hell would happen if actually was the face of Madden 12 like this mock-up? He could blow a knee out. To quote someone who will remain anonymous (or at least until she fesses up), he could pull a hammy on the way to the fridge for a PBR (Seriously, who in the right mind other than my husband even drinks that swill? I still think he gets it just to hack me off since he knows I can’t stand it.) He could lead the league in interceptions AND fumbles. Or he could be abducted by aliens and be replaced with Evil Pod Rodgers that is programmed to destroy the team and/or the world. Wouldn’t that just be a barrel of monkeys?

Sure, Rodgers putting on the belt would make a sweet cover, but if you want that image so bad, there’s a tshirt that is curse-free and ships fairly quickly. Clay Matthews throwing a Predator pose would be cool too, but there’s no way in hell I’d ever vote for it. I don’t want the Cheese Touch by proxy! That said, I’m going to vote for someone like an Urlacher, or a Peppers. Maybe Adrian Peterson. Can’t we just cut to the chase and put Cam Newton on it so the downward spiral starts immediately and we can stop hearing about how he’s all that and a bag of chips? Maybe an alien probe sticking out his rear might be a fitting bookend to the Newton media over-saturation.

The Packers may be the epicenter for the Cheesehead Nation, but it should never, ever become home of the dreaded NFL Cheese Touch.  This is one of the few times Cheeseheads should Fear the Cheese. To quote the great philosopher Monty Python, RUN AWAY!


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  • Anita

    The food poisoning was a SIGN. A SIGN that no good will come to QB1 if he is on the cover of that game! I own a black cat, so I’m not all that superstitious, but I believe in the Madden Curse.

    Packer fans, do you part. Please vote for Julius Peppers, Ndamukong Suh or Adrian Peterson for that cover. Send that curse to our division rivals!

    He’s got a Super Bowl ring, an MVP trophy, and a sweet Camaro convertible. He doesn’t need a stinking video game cover.

  • BigSnakeMan

    Jeez, you make yourself sound like an emotional mess. ;)

  • Ceallaigh

    Ad if you think I”m superstitious when it comes to football, I am about a bamillion times worse when it comes to hospital call. Used to sleep in my shoes so they wouldn’t walk down to the ER on their own to drum up business. I could go on, but then I will absolutely sound like a nutjob.

  • Ruppert

    Sailing the Seas of Cheese, eh? I wonder if Les Claypool is a Packers fan. Hmm…

  • Ceallaigh

    Ruppert, you are the first person who got the reference! No clue if he is a fan :)

  • Ruppert

    I’m seriously dating myself here, but I saw Primus open for Fishbone in ’91 on the tour that accompanied “Seas.” Great, great show. If there is a better bass player than Les, I need someone to point them out to me. Go Pack Go.

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