Madden Curse….

Madden is the kiss of Death
Madden is the kiss of Death



In the world of sports we have something that those of us in the know like to call “the madden Curse”  it normally happens when a player is featured on the cover of the John Madden football game..  either they have really bad seasons or get injuried…  its akin to the same thing that use to be known as the Sports illustrated curse but for the video game set.


Some argue that the Madden curse didn’t actually begin to take effect until 2001, when players began to appear by themselves on the video game cover. 2000 was the first year a player ever appeared on the cover. Barry Sanders shared the cover with John Madden in this release and abruptly retired – ending his career and leaving the Detroit Lions without their star running back of the previous 10 years. Because he willingly retired and shared the cover with John, many say that this may not have been a result of the curse.


Eddie George, then of the Tennessee Titans, who graced the 2001 box, was the second ‘cursed’ player. Although he had the best year of his career, rushing for 1,509 yards, catching 50 passes for 453 yards and scoring 16 total touchdowns, he was cursed by bobbling a pass in the playoffs. The pass was then intercepted, ironically, by Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, who returned the ball for a touchdown. George would also get injured the following season. After regularly averaging nearly 4 yards per carry in his first five seasons and rushing for over 1,300 yards in each one, he averaged only 3 yards per carry and rushed for career lows of 939 yards and 5 touchdowns in the 2001 season.



Former Minnesota Vikings star quarterback Daunte Culpepper appeared on the 2002 cover, and the Vikings struggled to a 4-7 record until Culpepper was shelved with a season-ending knee injury, which unfortunately ended a very good season for Culpepper. Though he briefly regained his prowess and showed flashes of great potential over the years since the curse, Culpepper is proving to be a complete bust in Miami


Running back Marshall Faulk of the St. Louis Rams, who was on the 2003 box, suffered an ankle injury, missing six games. He never broke through the 1,000 yards rushing mark for the rest of his career. Though some regarded Faulk as one of the greatest offensive weapons of his time, the Madden curse took its toll on what would be the slow dismantlement of “The Greatest Show on Turf.”


Very shortly after Madden 2004 was released featuring Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick on the cover, Vick was injured during a preseason game, suffering a fractured right fibula. Vick played in the last 5 regular season games, finishing with 585 yards passing and 4 touchdowns. The Atlanta Falcons missed the playoffs and were out of contention by the time Vick returned from his injury. They finished the season with 5 wins and 11 losses, a stark contrast to the team’s 9-6-1 record the season prior.



Madden 2005 featured Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens. He broke his wrist, an injury that kept him out of the last game of the regular season. It was also Lewis’ first season without a single interception, after posting a career-high 6 the previous year. The Baltimore Ravens also failed to make the playoffs that season (2004), after winning their division the year before. Furthermore, in Week 6 the following year, Ray Lewis’ season was ended by an injury.



Donovan McNabb was on the cover in 2006. Prior to the 05 season, McNabb had a highly-publicized feud with his teammate, Terrell Owens (who was, coincidentally, the cover athlete for rival Sega Sports’ ESPN NFL 2K5). In the first game of the regular season, McNabb took a hit to the chest from the helmet of Atlanta Falcons Chad Lavalais. It was also revealed that McNabb had a ‘sports hernia’ that needed surgery. Refusing to have season-ending surgery while the Eagles still had a chance to make the playoffs, McNabb played in discomfort throughout the season. In week 10, McNabb re-injured his groin when shoved to the ground by Dallas linebacker Bradie James. McNabb did play the next series but was ineffective and then decided to pack it in for the rest of the season.



Madden NFL 07 cover-athlete and reigning-MVP Shaun Alexander of the Seattle Seahawks suffered an injury from a chipped bone in his left foot which he received during the first game of the season against the Lions. Alexander decided to play through the pain and his foot didn’t bother him again until the week 3 game against the New York Giants. Following Seattle’s victory, Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren said that a bone scan revealed Alexander sustained a “small crack” on a non-weight-bearing bone in his foot.  Shaun Alexander, who rushed for over 1,800 yards two years ago and was featured on the cover of Madden, has been cut by the Seattle Seahawks . Alexander, who is signed through the 2010, was scheduled to make $4.475 million this season. The Seahawks terminated his contract and he is currently looking for work…


After a promising rookie season, pundits expected Vince Young to improve upon his initial numbers and lead his team in 2007.  They should have known better.  Young found himself on the cover of Madden 2008–an “honor” that spells doom no matter who graces the front side of the most famous sports game in the world.

While the Titans did improve record-wise from 2006 to 2007, Vince Young certainly did not.  His overall quarterback rating jumped from a paltry 66.7 to a poor 71.1.  Making up for this incremental jump in efficiency (thanks to a nearly 11% spike in completion percentage), Young cut his touchdowns from 12 to 9 and increased his interception total from 13 to 17, impressive considering he threw the ball just under 16 times a game.  His rushing stats, his most outstanding category, also fell in year two.  Young rushed for 157 fewer yards in 2007 and his Yards Per Carry fell 1.5 yards.

All-in-all, 2007 was not too kind to the former Texas star, who single-handedly willed his inferior alma mater to victory over the 33rd NFL franchise, the USC Trojans, in the 2006 BCS Championship game.  But, looking at the record of past Madden cover boys, this should come as no surprise.

Madden 2009  cover-athlete Brette Favre….. Sigh where should I start???   We all thought it would skip a year as they put Brett Favre on the cover and since he was retired he should be safe….. NOT THE CASE….  Brett has gone from a hall of fame QB to a joke that isn’t welcome at the training camp of the team HE put on the map!!!




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