Did Deflategate cost Patriots star the Madden NFL 16 cover?

EA Sports has announced New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will be the cover star of this year’s Madden NFL 16 video game.

Beckham Jr., who rose to fame following a fantastic rookie season highlighted by a physics-defying touchdown catch on national television, won an online fan vote, with the results revealed on ESPN’s Sports Center on Wednesday afternoon.

The Giants WR edged out New England Patriots tight end and Super Bowl winner Rob Gronkowski to become the face of the classic NFL gaming franchise, which arrives on August 25.

Missing out on the honour suggests the popular Gronkowski may have fallen victim to fan backlash against the Patriots team, following the ‘Deflategate’ controversy.

Gronk’s teammate, quarterback Tom Brady, was this week banned for four games for allegedly orchestrating a conspiracy to have game footballs deflated to his personal preference, against the NFL rules.

The team was fined $1 million dollars, lost a couple of draft picks, and now perhaps a lucrative endorsement deal for one of its most recognisable star players.

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However, Gronkowski may end up thanking NFL fans for the snub, given the mixed fortunes of players chosen for the cover in recent years. Many previous recipients of the accolade have suffered through injuries, scandals or a drop off in performance since gracing the iconic EA Sports title.

The likes of Bret Favre, Ray Lewis, Richard Sherman, Vince Young and Adrian Petersen have all fallen victim to the fabled “Madden Curse” down the years.

Look out, Odell! You could be next. In the meantime, let’s enjoy that miraculous catch one more time…

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