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Tom Brady will be on cover of ‘Madden NFL 18′

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Tom Brady can add one more line to the greatest résumé in NFL history: Madden cover boy.

The New England Patriots quarterback will be featured on the cover of Madden NFL 18, EA Sports announced Friday morning. It’s a first for the five-time Super Bowl champion, who follows in the footsteps of teammate Rob Gronkowski, the man on the cover of last year’s edition of the venerable gaming franchise. This marks the first time in Madden’s nearly 30-year history that teammates have been on the cover in back-to-back years.

It’s surprising Brady hadn’t previously garnered cover status given his myriad of accomplishments since entering the league in 2000. Brady, who turns 40 in August, is the oldest guy to grace the cover since John Madden himself was smiling maniacally for the cameras from 1988 through 2000. (Shameless plug: I did a complete power ranking of the 29 covers right here).

But Madden, like the rest of us, can no longer avoid a basic societal truth: Tom Brady has it all. And what he doesn’t have should be immediately turned over to him for fear of consequence. (I just purchased four copies of his $200 cookbook to appease the overlords.)

There’s an alternate universe where the Atlanta Falcons don’t blow a 28-3 third-quarter lead in the Super Bowl and Matt Ryan or perhaps Julio Jones are on the cover of this game. It’s one more indignity for Falcons fans to process during what we imagine continues to be a very difficult time. Ludacris is not getting out of bed today when he hears about this.

On the bright side, Falcons fans don’t have to hear about the infernal “Madden Curse,” a jinx so powerful it once allowed Calvin Johnson to finish a season with an NFL record 1,964 receiving yards. There will be hot takes across the span of your basic cable package today claiming that Brady has now put himself in great danger to see his unparalleled career cruelly compromised by the decision to enter into a business relationship with Electronic Arts Inc.

Counterpoint: Last year, Tom Brady whooped up on Father Time the way Ralphie destroyed Scott Farkus in A Christmas Story. Maybe Brady’s greatest accomplishment will come this year, when he wins his sixth Super Bowl ring and debunks the “Madden Curse” once and for all.

And yes, this is perhaps the greatest reverse jinx ever perpetrated by a sad Jets fan with nothing to lose.

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Aaron Rodgers can have long career like Tom Brady, his coach believes

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It’s all in the legs.

That’s what Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy believes will determine whether Aaron Rodgers — or any quarterback, for that matter — can do what Tom Brady is talking about: playing well into his 40s. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said this week that Brady would like to play six or seven more years.

Rodgers, 33, first indicated last offseason that he started to think of ways to maximize his longevity. That’s when he revamped his diet to, among other things, eliminate cheese and other dairy products. He also said he’s used Brady as a model for the way he eats and trains.

McCarthy said earlier this month at the NFL scouting combine that he wouldn’t be surprised if Rodgers was able to maintain his current level of play like Brady, who won the Super Bowl this past season at age 39. He took that a step further on Wednesday when he was asked at the NFL annual meetings if he could see Rodgers playing well into his 40s.

“I mean mentally and physically, clearly yes; he has that ability,” McCarthy told reporters in Phoenix. “I think there’s no question there. But I think all positions in football are the same. It’s their legs. You watch a player — and it’s no different with quarterbacks — as long as they have their legs, they can compete at that level.”

McCarthy, whose background is as a quarterbacks coach, doesn’t see any reason why Brady can’t keep going.

“I think you can only go by what’s on film and based on his last game, he will accomplish that,” McCarthy said. “I would bet on that. But there’s a lot of factors that go into that. I think you have to give these athletes an incredible amount of credit what they’re doing. With the rest and recovery and nutrition, I think you’re now seeing the decade of what it’s provided. It’s provided for guys to play longer, especially at that position.”

While some players have been retiring early due to long-term health concerns, McCarthy said he believes players have the chance now to play longer than ever due to increased knowledge about nutrition and training.

“If you do have good fortune and good healthy and you’re able to keep playing at a high level, I think these guys will play a lot longer than the generation before them,” McCarthy said.

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