Last year's Madden for Xbox 360 played itself. In comparison to other platforms, the first next-gen game, despite true-to-life graphics, left out a lot of key features (a deeper franchise mode and a create-a-player option, for starters) that make Madden, well, Madden. Modifying in the off-season, EA Sports added depth with new features: NFL Superstar mode, where you become the star who gets all the endorsements, scrutiny and panties; a Mini-Camp mode that helps you scout rookies and rehabilitate players; and the Lead Blocker Control, where you maneuver offensive linemen and make blocks that'll give your running game more open holes than Heather Hunter in her prime. And the Seahawks' franchise rusher, reigning MVP and Madden cover boy Shaun Alexander, is big enough (we mean in status, numbnuts) to fill them.

KING So would it be wrong of me to play as Pittsburgh?

SHAUN ALEXANDER What? What's Pittsburgh?

You know . . . the team that beat you in last year's Super Bowl?

The only thing I know about Pittsburgh is they have good hoagies out there.

Jeez, I hope you didn't let yourself go due to post-season depression. How does it feel to grace the cover of Madden '07?

The Madden cover is the highest honor that you can get. So I was excited because that was a big thing in Seattle. You break records, take your team to the Super Bowl and still no one knows who you are.

True. Until Kurt Cobain died, we didn't know Seattle existed. Anyhoo, will you be yet another Madden cover boy who suffers a debilitating season?

I've always been the person that wanted to break jinxes and curses. It's funny; I thought if you worried about what sock you put on first, you'd drive yourself crazy. Don't knock it 'til you try it. I don't have enough time to worry about all that. My pastor's wife said it best: "You're going to break the curse.”

Continue reading this story in the October ‘06 issue of KING (#36)