Football Curses Know No Bounds : Show Me Your Cleats! - World Cup 2010 Blog Many are claiming that the football starts featured in Nike's "Write the Future" campaign are cursed, just like the athletes on the covers of Madden and Sports Illustrated.
NPR logo Football Curses Know No Bounds

Football Curses Know No Bounds

If you've been feverishly watiching the World Cup (or even have it on in the background), chances are you've seen this commercial of epic proportions. Nike's fast-paced "Write The Future" ad campaign predicts the possible futures of some of world's biggest football stars -- Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Landon Donovan and Didier Drogba, to name a few.

These players already receive plenty of face time through their respective club teams and countless endorsements. But the epic three minutes of back-and-forth battles on the pitch -- complete with American cameos (Kobe Bryant, Homer Simpson) -- are enough to make them household names, even in the States.


They're so flashy, so attention grabbing that they may even open up these stars to the hex that often seems to accompany a dash of overexposure.

If you're at all familiar with the "Madden Curse" or the "Sports Illustrated Cover jinx" -- two American myths, in which individuals that appear on the cover of said video game and/or magazine will experience bad luck in their careers thereafter -- some are claiming that the same holds true for international football. Except for the fact that, well, this is a video.

As superstitious as some of us may be, let's take a look at the World Cup. Here's a list of some of the players featured in the ad, the team they play for, and what their true fates have been:

Dider Drogba, Ivory Coast: Graced the cover (uh, oh) of Time, as he was name one of "The 100 Most Influential People in the World." Great. And then -- broken elbow a matter of weeks before the World Cup.

Wayne Rooney, England: Goose eggs on the scoresheet. Many fans across the pond are saying he failed to live up to the hype.

Fabio Cannavaro, Italy: Hanging up the cleats after his run in the tourney, which is about ... now.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal: During the seven-goal obliteration of North Korea, he finally put one in the back of the net. But it's more or less been a scoring drought for him.

Ronaldinho, Brazil: Welp, he ain't in South Africa ... that's for sure.

I could go on and on about the other minor intricacies (Kobe's cameo fared him well; Team USA's Landon Donovan and Tim Howard -- not so much). But this sentiment is shared (and analyzed pretty well) by others in the football-hungry blogging world.

What I find interesting, though, is that most of these "curses" not only affect the players, but their entire team as well. For example, Frank Ribery's smooth tackle off Wayne Rooney could be equated as a "reason" why the French team had themselves quite a fiasco. Brazil is the only team still in the hunt with a rep in the commercial. Could this spell trouble? We'll find out tomorrow morning. And who knows how many more Nike ads are on the way?

Alejandro González Iñárritu's -- the director of the commercial -- may have won fans over with Babel. But I wonder if he'll receive any backlash from fans on his shorter, sports-related works. And as much as I love my Black Stars, maybe it was best for goalkeeper Richard Kingson or forward Asamoah Gyan to be left out of this promotion.