It turns out Vince Young might not have been the first choice for the Madden 2008 cover. According to CNBC Sports Business reporter Darren Rovell, multiple industry sources have told him that Electronic Arts asked San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson of his interest and presented him an offer. Tomlinson turned it down.
The reason purportedly has nothing to do with the oft-cited "Madden curse," but that Tomlinson was not happy with EA's financial offer. Electronic Arts, according to Rovell, understands their cover to be what he calls the "Wheaties box endorsement," which means that EA will offer the cover athlete less than his market value. Tomlinson opted against it.
Young, afraid of no curse, is now the cover athlete. But as Rovell justly observes, Madden titles sell well regardless of who graces the cover.