Monday night hangover


John Madden already has one alleged curse.

Just last year video game and sports enthusiasts alike started to take notice of the "Madden Cover Jinx," affecting players who are on the box cover of the video games named after the legendary coach and *Monday Night Football *co-host.

Michael Vick broke his leg just a few weeks after he was put on the cover of the EA Sports video game. Eddie George and Daunte Culpepper also had similar mishaps after appearing on the cover.

This may or may not be true considering Madden himself has been on the cover.

But halfway through the 2004 season Madden is related with another series of mishaps. Teams that have won on Monday night this season are 1-7 the following week.

Boom!

The Texans have not played on Monday night in the club's history, but they have faced teams in the category. And lo and behold, Houston's next opponent – the Indianapolis Colts – beat the Minnesota Vikings 31-28 Monday evening.

The team is not taking much stock in such crazy statistics.

But some veterans around the locker room and Colts head coach Tony Dungy admit playing in prime time and losing a day of practice in the middle of the week can have negative effects.

"Monday night games are big games and especially when you travel and go on the road and you get back late, it's tougher," Dungy said Wednesday. "It's an emotional game and it usually takes a lot out of you physically … We knew that going in, that that was our challenge to come back and win a division game after winning on Monday night. So hopefully we can make that two wins. But that's the way you have to look at it. You can't say 'I wish they hadn't scheduled us this way' or whatever. You just have to come out and do that job."

The Colts do have it easier than some teams. They played at home Monday and will host the Texans this Sunday.

Texans guard Zach Wiegert remembers playing a Monday night game in Oakland before flying five hours back home.

Houston has already been the beneficiary of post-Monday night meltdown. The Titans beat the Green Bay Packers Oct. 11 and lost to the Texans Oct. 17. Tennessee did not arrive back in Nashville until early Tuesday morning.

"Playing a Monday night game you have less time to prepare for your next opponent," Texans tight end Mark Bruener said. "You're emotionally high to play a football game but being in the national spotlight like that I think you can raise your emotional level that much more."

Bruener added one of the real challenges of playing Monday night is spending extra time in a hotel room. *Monday Night Football *does not kick off until after 9 p.m. on the east coast.

"We get in a routine when we're playing in the regular season," he said. "You're body gets accustom to it and your mindset gets accustom to it."

In case you are wondering, teams that lose on Monday night are 5-3 the following week. So the short week and the extra hype may not do anything to stop Peyton Manning to Marvin Harrison or Edgerrin James up the middle.

Football is football, no matter the day of the week.

"I can't say just because you play Monday night mean's you're going to lose the next week," Wiegert said.

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