The Madden Curse has been well-documented in recent years, but perhaps not to the extent as this breakdown from Shirts.com. Since 1999, the NFL player gracing the cover of the Madden NFL video game by EA Sports has run into trouble that season, most notably with injuries.

Madden 15 is scheduled for release Tuesday, and cornerback Richard Sherman is the featured player after helping the Seahawks win the Super Bowl. Sherman is the second Seattle player to earn this honor.

Running back Shaun Alexander was selected after he helped the Seahawks reach the Super Bowl in his MVP season of 2005. After making the Madden cover, Alexander hurt his foot in 2006 and never regained his form, which provided more fodder for Curse believers.

The Milwaukee Brewers' name is a tribute to those who make beer. The team plays at Miller Park, a stadium sponsored by a brewing company. Until 1978, the team used "Beer Barrel Man" as its mascot.

Beer is not treated lightly in Milwaukee.

During the Brewers-Blue Jays game on Wednesday evening, a fan lost about three-fourths of his beer attempting to snag a foul ball. He failed to attain the souvenir and left himself covered in his own drink.

Fox Sports Wisconsin broadcasters Brian Anderson and Bill Schroeder could not stand to watch this Milwaukee man get shortchanged on his hefty ballpark beer purchase. After discussing his plight on the TV call, the broadcasters pitched in to get the fan, who, remember, did not actually catch the foul ball, a full beer.

The replacement beer came in a tall glass, upscale by MLB ballparks standards.

According to the broadcast, Anderson and Schroeder used Schroeder's brother to help make the transport. Schroeder, who is referred to by his nickname, "Rock," in the clip, played catcher for the Brewers and Angels from 1983-1990. He was behind the plate for the only no-hitter in Brewers' history, an April 15 outing from Juan Nieves.

The Brewers lost the game 9-5, so it does not appear the good karma of Anderson and Schroeder had an effect on the game.

While LeBron James ended the NBA's juiciest on-court free agency drama last month, the league's most valuable apparel free-agent is still on the market. But Kevin Durant is set to receive a deal larger than the one James signed with the Cavaliers.

Darren Rovell of ESPN reports that Under Armour has offered Durant a contract worth between $265 million and $285 million for 10 years. That's between $26.5 million and $28.5 million a year, or nearly 10 percent of Under Armour's annual marketing budget.

Durant has been loyal to Nike throughout his career. When he was a rookie, Adidas offered him $20 million more, but he still signed with the Swoosh. Now Under Armour is courting Durant diligently, and it has a lot to offer.

Headquartered in Baltimore, 36 miles away from where Durant grew up, Under Armour has an enormous presence in the Charm City. The company used the local ties as a selling point in a meeting on Aug. 13, which Rovell reports was only supposed to last a few hours but ended up taking the entire day. Under Armour also sold Durant on stock options as well as the prospect of a brand new community center with his mother's name.

Other than James and Kobe Bryant, Durant was the most marketable star in Nike's stable. A no-frills superstar coming off of his first MVP award, Durant is only 25 and seemingly entering the prime of his career. Nike's "KD" line of shoes, socks, backpacks and other apparel ballooned to $175 million at retail the past season.

As part of its contract with Durant, Nike has the option to match Under Armour's offer, in which case Durant would be legally obligated to sign with Nike.

Nike, of course, cannot compete with Under Armour's location. While Durant still has two years left on his contract with the Thunder, there's already been much talk of a possible return to his hometown Wizards. As Rovell notes, there's been speculation that a potential Durant deal with Under Armour could be tied to a design on signing with Washington.

"Should Nike pass and Under Armour win the battle for Durant, one has to wonder how much of a role Under Armour will play in Durant's decision where to play next. After all, in money alone, Durant would be more an employee of Under Armour than he is of the Thunder."

"Durant is due $41.2 million over his next two seasons with the team; his Under Armour deal would pay him at least $10 million more over that period."

Durant is coming off of one of the finest statistical seasons of his career, averaging career highs in points (32) and assists (5.5). During the season he broke Michael Jordan's record for the most consecutive games scoring at least 25 points (Durant hit 41).

He participated in the USA Basketball camp in Las Vegas and was set to join the team for the FIBA World Cup but pulled out due to mental and physical exhaustion. While that very well may the case, some have speculated that his decision may have been influenced by his interest in Under Armour. USA Basketball is heavily sponsored by Nike.

While debate about the name of Washington's NFL team has heated up significantly the past few years, one man associated with the league has been silently protesting since 2007.

That man is Mike Carey, who recently retired after a 19-year career as an NFL referee. According to Washington Post columnist Mike Wise, Carey asked out of Redskins assignments because of his disdain for the team's name. He didn't work a preseason or regular-season Washington game, home or away, since the opening week of the 2006 season.

“It just became clear to me that to be in the middle of the field, where something disrespectful is happening, was probably not the best thing for me,” Carey told Wise.

Carey was one of the more distinguished officials during his time in the league, and in 2008 he was named with Ed Hochuli as the best referee in the game in an ESPN coaches poll. That same year he became the first African-American referee to work a Super Bowl.

Carey told Wise he didn't make the request directly to league commissioner Roger Goodell, instead he spoke with a person involved with officiating schedules (he would not reveal a name). He didn't know if Goodell or anyone within Washington's organization was even familiar with his request.

“I think everybody has to look inside themselves and decide what is the right thing for them," Carey told Wise. “In America, we’ve learned that respect is the most important thing that you have. I learned it from my parents, my schools, from my faith. And when you learn there’s something that might not be as respectful as you like, when you come to terms with it, you have to do something about it.”

In a telling sign of just how polarizing this debate has become, shortly before Wise's column made its rounds another story was published that detailed former Bears coach Mike Ditka's strong opposition to the Redskins changing their name.

Ditka told RedskinsHistorian.com that he doesn't understand the "stink" over the supposedly derogatory name.

“It’s so much [expletive] it’s incredible," Ditka, now an ESPN analyst, said. "We’re going to let the liberals of the world run this world. It was said out of reverence, out of pride to the American Indian. Even though it was called a Redskin, what are you going to call them, a Proudskin? This is so stupid it's appalling, and I hope that owner keeps fighting for it and never changes it, because the Redskins are part of an American football history, and it should never be anything but the Washington Redskins. That’s the way it is."

Carey will work for CBS this season as a rules commentator.

Steve Horgan is a lifelong Red Sox fan. He will also be an eternal part of Red Sox history.

Last October, Horgan made history from the home bullpen. After 27 years as a police officer and 20 years at Fenway Park, Horgan was stationed in the Red Sox bullpen for the 2013 season. When David Ortiz slugged a game-tying grand slam in the eighth inning of Game 2 of the ALCS last season, the ball narrowly missed Horgan. The officer stared the ball down as he celebrated with his hands in the air.

The reaction gave way to a memorable shot of Horgan with his arms outstretched, as Tigers center fielder Torii Hunter tumbled over the fence. Hunter's legs matched Horgan's arms.

"Because I’m a Sox fan, I just raised my arms," Horgan told the AP.

On Monday, the Red Sox honored Horgan by giving away 1,000 bobbleheads featuring the officer and his pose.


The bobblehead includes Horgan's beard, which he claims he grew in conjunction with the Red Sox players in 2013. The beard was intact for Horgan bobblehead night Monday.

Horgan says he "knows [he's] made it" now that he has a bobblehead.

During the World Series victory parade last fall, Horgan rode alongside Red Sox owner John Henry.

On Monday night, Jimmy Fallon hosted golf's two megastars of the post-Jack Nicklaus Era: Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy (sorry, Phil Mickelson).

Woods, the 38-year-old 14-time major winner, and McIlory, the 25-year-old four-time major winner, spent the first five minutes chatting golf with Fallon during their appearance on The Tonight Show.

Fallon gushed over McIlroy's 2014 British Open and PGA Championship titles, while Woods dropped some of the most self-deprecating humor in the history of sports figures on television. While McIlroy humbly accepted Fallon's compliments, Woods said on the topic of darkness during the fourth round of the PGA: "It was really bright on TV though from my couch."

Woods also said chasing around two kids keeps his back in shape. There was a time no one could get a word out of this guy. On Monday night, Woods reamed with jokes. He only used to act this animated in Gillette commercials.

McIlroy and Woods spent some time explaining their equipment to Fallon. It is going to be hard for any brand to compete with Nike when they have the two most recognizable faces in the sport on national television with their equipment.

In the second half of the segment, Fallon battled McIlroy in a chipping contest called "Facebreakers." The object of the game was to break the other man's six glass faces first. McIlroy won with relative ease, claiming a trophy that apparently had his name already engraved (where does he put something like that in relation to his major championship trophies?).

Woods serves as Fallon's caddy for the game, as he cannot swing a club due to his back injury. One can sense the first in Woods eyes, wanting to swing again.

McIlroy speaks highly of Woods throughout the segment, claiming he models parts of his game after Woods and appreciates Woods' run of majors lasting from 1997-2008 (which has since quieted). Meanwhile, Fallon teases Woods over beating the golfer in on the Nintendo Wii a few years ago:

Could the late night television scene be a precursor for majors in 2015 involving Woods and McIlroy at the top of the leaderboard? It would certainly be good for golf ... better than its two uberfaces appearing just on Fallon.

Gifts for Derek Jeter on his season-long farewell tour have included a painting by George W. Bush and a $34,000 watch from Robinson Cano, but some fans in New Jersey may have come up with the most creative tribute.

As reported by NJ.com, VonThun Farms in South Brunswick created a five-acre corn maze with Jeter's likeness along with a "Thanks, Captain Clutch" message.

"We are right in the middle of Yankees territory," Cindy VonThun told NJ.com reporter Brian Amaral. "No matter which way you turn, everybody just loves Derek Jeter. He's just the all-around good guy."

The maze opens to the public Sept. 20. NJ.com reports that the maze has two routes, with the longer taking roughly an hour to complete.


One of the U.S. ProMiniGolf Association's premier events, the United States Open Miniature Golf Tournament, begins today at Bluegrass Miniature Golf Course in Oceanport, N.J.

This is not a satire. This is real.

The two-day tournament is one of professional miniature golf's three highest-profile events, the other two being the Master's and the world championships. Entry into the contest was open with a $100 payment before Aug. 1 and $125 after Aug. 1. The Friday-Saturday affair features nine or ten rounds (TBA, according to the website) with a purse of $12,000.

This year's champion will earn a $3,500 check. The runner-up will receive $1,500, and the top ten place finishers will receive monetary prizes. The top 30 will earn some sort of award.

Located at Monmouth Park Racetrack, Bluegrass is a relatively flat course untarnished by windmills, clowns and other accessories. One could call it a "links" miniature golf course.

For some of the competitors, the U.S. Open is the highlight of the professional season. By paying just $25 to the U.S. ProMiniGolf Association, anyone can bag amateur status for the pros. The American circuit features a variety of tournaments with a common championship prize in the mid three-figures, according to The New York Times.

Arguably the sport's best player, 19-year-old Olivia Prokopova, is in this year's field. The Czech teen won two of the past three U.S. Opens, at Greatest Adventures in Branson, Mo., (2011) and Crocodile Rocks in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. (2013). Prokopova's prize money for winning the 2013 U.S. Open was $2,000, which indicates the sport is growing with this year's first place being worth $3,500. She also won the triple crown (U.S. Open, Master's, World Championships) in miniature golf a season ago.

Prokopova told The New York Times she practices 8 to 12 hours six days a week, reserving time for schoolwork on Wednesdays. Propokova's father runs a miniature golf course-building company back in the Czech Republic. One of the company's employees, 39-year-old Ales Vlk, travels with Prokopova as her nutritionist, masseur, motivational coach, physical therapist and training partner. The star said she takes 14 vitamin and herbal supplements a day.

"I have to eat light food before I play, or else I can't bend down and pick up the ball," she told the New York Times.

In the Czech Republic, Prokopova hit celebrity status. She is the subject of a book and a documentary, and she has her own website. The greenside sniper has corporate sponsors and a line of jackets. She has met the president of the Czech Republic on two occasions.

Prokopova's most notable suitor may be Brad Lebo, a 53-year-old dentist from Pennsylvania. Lebo won both the 2006 and 2010 editions of the U.S. Open. Lebo claims to have earned $9,000 in his career thanks to 105 victories, but he only gets love from some friends.

“I get a mixed bag of comments. People I play golf with are either intrigued, or they mock me hysterically," Lebo, who participates in 45 to 50 tournaments a year, says.

Along with Prokopova and Lebo, about half the U.S. Open field will feature local New Jesrey amateurs within driving distance. This will not belittle the competition. For professional miniature golfers, this is the big time. Even if just on turf in a New Jersey Park.

When Jay-Z established Roc Nation Sports, the draw of the agency was name recognition. What H.O.V.A. lacked in negotiation experience, he could make up for with his celebrity status and powerful allies.

In June, Rusney Castillo, a 27-year-old MLB prospect who had defected from Cuba in December 2013, became Roc Nation's ninth signing. He joined a megastar roster with the NFL's Victor Cruz, Geno Smith and Hakeem Nicks, MLB's CC Sabathia and Robinson Cano, the NBA's Kevin Durant and James Young and the WNBA's Skylar Diggins.

Castillo has spent the past half-year establishing residency and working with both MLB and the federal government to attain the ability to become a baseball free agent. This summer, Castillo, a member of Cuba's 2011 World Baseball Classic team, put on a series of open and closed workouts for MLB scouts. At his personal showcase, 28 out of 30 teams sent representatives. Castillo's strongest suitors with the deepest pockets also invited him to one-on-one workouts.

Now, his agency is making one more move to get Castillo's name out there. On Jay-Z's official YouTube channel, "Jay Z's Life+Times," a Castillo highlights video was posted Wednesday. On a channel that features backstage content from Jay-Z and wife Beyonce's "On the Run Tour," the video is sure to get some pull.

The video is set to the tune of "Open Letter," a Jay-Z track inspired by the rapper's trip to Cuba in 2013. For their fifth wedding anniversary, Jay-Z and Beyonce spent their vacation on the communist island, despite U.S. national security restrictions making it difficult to travel to Cuba.

Jay-Z called out President Obama for the travel restrictions and said, "I done turned Havana to Atlanta." No word yet if that is supposed to excited Braves fans.

In 2013, Roc Nation made a hard push for Cuban sensation Yasiel Puig, but the Dodgers outfielder opted for Radegen Sports Management. Yoenis Cespedes, another Cuban, also turned Roc Nation down.

Roc Nation seems to have final gotten its Cuban man in Rusney Castillo. The outfielder/infielder could sign as early as this weekend, which could give him time for a quick taste of the minors before joining an MLB club.

The team that grabs him may have a lot of problems, but Rusney Castillo won't be one.

The saga of Drake's illegal recruitment of Kevin Durant took another turn this week, when it was reported that the NBA was willing to drop the $25,000 tampering fine against the Raptors if they fired the rapper from his official role with the organization.

Drake, who is considered an employee after the Raptors named him the team's "global ambassador," made a pitch to the NBA's MVP at his fifth annual OVO Fest in Toronto. That resulted in the tampering punishment.

“You know, my brother Kevin Durant was kind enough to come to the show tonight and watch us,” Drake said. “I just want him to see what would happen if he came to play in Toronto. Let him know what would happen.” The crowd cheered in response.

And now a report in the Globe and Mail indicates that the NBA was pushing a more severe punishment for the 27-year-old Toronto native. Cathal Kelly says the league was willing to drop the fine if the team agreed to cut ties with Drake.

The Raptors decided not to part ways with the rapper and instead forked over $25,000.

Drake has figured prominently into the Raptors marketing during the past year, as he was front and center at all of the team's playoff games. He also provided an assist to guard Terrence Ross during this year's Slam Dunk Contest.

Drake's association with the Raptors is worth much more than $25,000, and the team knows that.

What's unclear going forward is how the NBA will distinguish tampering, especially in the case of Drake. The rapper's plethora of associations with top athletes will prove tricky for the league to sort through.

Drake has been known to travel to lots of sporting events, and he was seen congratulating the Kentucky Wildcats after their Final Four victory over Wisconsin. Jay-Z, a former minority owner of the Nets, earned his team a fine after he visited Kentucky's locker room in 2011.

Drake hosted the ESPYs last month, where he hung out with dozens of athletes and posed for a photo with Durant. He also joked around with free agent guard Lance Stephenson.

It will be interesting to see how commissioner Adam Silver and his colleagues delineate between tampering and mingling. The ball is now in the league's court, so to speak.

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