Double duty: Polamalu, Fitzgerald to grace 'Madden' video-game cover

WASHINGTON -- For the first time in its storied (some say cursed) history, the cover of EA Sports' "Madden NFL" video game will feature two cover athletes: Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu and Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

"Being on the cover of 'Madden' is a real honor," Fitzgerald said Friday after Electronic Arts made the announcement. "And sharing it with a talent like Troy is really special."

The shared cover of "Madden NFL 10," which arrives in stores Aug. 14, has something for everyone: Polamalu is a defensive AFC player and Fitzgerald an offensive NFC player.

EA Sports senior product manager Anthony Stevenson called the two Pro Bowlers "exemplary examples of the epic battle between offense and defense in the NFL."

Both played in last season's Super Bowl, which the Steelers won in a 27-23 nail-biter. Both athletes are known for their long, helmet-defying hair. Steel City football fans should be particularly happy, since Fitzgerald played college ball at the University of Pittsburgh. (He also was on the cover of EA's "NCAA Football 2005.")

EA's football franchise is feared for its mysterious "Madden curse." Previous cover models such as Donovan McNabb, Shaun Alexander and Vince Young have suffered injuries during their "Madden" season.

Fitzgerald, however, was defiant.

"I didn't think about the curse," he said. "If both of us have MVP years, everybody will be chomping at the bit to get on the cover."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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