Can a video game predict the future?
The "Madden NFL" franchise has a long history of accurate simulations, including correct predictions on seven of the last nine Super Bowl winners.
So what happens when I plug free agent wide receiver Brandon Lloyd into the Patriots lineup for the upcoming season, a team Lloyd has not tried to hide his interest in?
Not only do the virtual Patriots end up winning the Super Bowl, but Lloyd scores 12 touchdowns and leads the league in yards per catch.
That's what happens when the receiver with the 99 spectacular-catch rating is teamed with Tom Brady, the quarterback with 95 throwing power and 97 accuracy.
"That's awesome," Lloyd says with a laugh when I tell him about my simulation. "When I was a kid, I would always create my own character in 'Madden' and I would put myself on different teams to see what I would look like and if I could envision myself playing on a specific team. But now, after hearing those stats, maybe 'Madden' could convince me playing on a specific team.
"It would also be interesting to see how I do with Cam Newton. Put me on the Panthers and see how I do in the simulation."
Teaming B-Lloyd with Cam Newton turns into career highs in receiving yards (1,486) and touchdowns (14) for Lloyd as they help Carolina to the wild card.
"You might be on to something with these simulations," says Lloyd. "It's pretty fun to see what might happen."
Jon Robinson: You're one of 64 players picked to be involved in the "Madden NFL 13" cover vote. What's it like knowing that fans could vote to put you on the cover of the game you grew up playing?
Brandon Lloyd: It's a dream come true. I've always wondered how the process worked and why they pick certain players, so I think it's awesome that EA Sports is now letting the fans be a part of it. It starts with 64, then with each round, they narrow down the list until you have that one guy who will be on the cover. It's exciting to be involved, and I can't wait to see how it turns out.
Jon Robinson: Are you scared of the "Madden" curse?
Brandon Lloyd: A little bit. [laughs] I acknowledge the curse, but I think since this is "Madden 13," the 13 is going to curse the curse. A double curse will actually reverse the curse into a positive, so whoever ends up on this cover is actually going to have the greatest year of their career. Whoever is on the over this year is going to break records and make history. Curse the curse.