Is Madden's Curse An Urban Myth?
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Is this all just coincidence? Is there really a Madden's curse? Over the last ten years several NFL players whom appeared on Madden video game covers have either suffered season-ending injuries or declined greatly in skills. The curse started in 1999 when the game started featuring NFL players on the cover (before that year, it was Madden himself on all game covers from 1988. to 1999.). Take a brief look at the history of the Madden Curse and decide for yourself if it is fact or fiction.
Garrison Hearst was the first NFL player ever to be featured on Madden's cover, and he was first bitten by the curse. Hearst almost made it through the season until he ended it in the playoffs. Hearst broke his leg in the NFC divisional playoffs and missed two full seasons.
The cover of 2000's game is with Madden but if you look closely, you can see Sanders in the background. Sanders shockingly announced his retirement right before the season started and the game was released. If you ask Detroit Lions fans, the Lions have been bitten by the curse ever since.
Eddie George is the cover player. George made it through the season but had a steep decline in stats and skills the following season, and have never averaged more than 3.3 yards per carry for the rest of his career.
Daunte Culpepper is the cover player. He lead Vikings to the Playoffs in 2000. Culpepper suffers a season-ending knee injury late in the season and he never resembled the player he was at the start of the decade.
Marshall Faulk is the cover player of Madden that year. Faulk made it through the season but saw his stats diminish greatly for the first time in four years.He underwent reconstructive knee surgery in 2005 and retired that same year.
Michael Vick graced the cover of Madden for 2004. Vick didn’t even make it out of pre-season. He suffered a season-ending injury in the third week of pre-season. Ironically, the injury came one day after the game hit the shelves.
Ray Lewis was the first defensive player to be featured on Madden. Lewis failed to make an interception for the first time in his NFL career. He also missed a significant amount of time the following season with an wrist injury.
Every Philadelphia Eagles fan groaned when they first saw the cover - it was their QB Donovan McNabb. Unfortunately their worries came to fruition when McNabb suffered a season-ending injury with tored meniscus and the Eagles season went in vain.
Shaun Alexander was the featured Madden player that year as the League's MVP. Alexander suffered a foot injury and missed significant time that season. He was never the same player since. A few years later and Alexander doesn’t even have a job in the NFL.
Vince Young got the cover after an amazing rookie season. Young did make it throw the season with a minor injury. However, he lost the starting job the next season and continues to ride the Tennessee Titans’ bench in 2009.
Brett Favre was on the cover for the first time in his career. Gamers expected Favre to break the curse because he was retired when it was announced he’d be on the Madden cover. Unfortunately Brett couldn’t leave well enough alone and wound up playing for the Jets next season. Favre had a disappointing season and suffered several injuries.
Larry Fitzgerald and Troy Polamalu are the first two players to be featured on a Madden cover. Polamalu is injured on a blocked field goal in the second quarter of Week 1 of the NFL season. Fitzgerald was yet to play, but rumor had it that Larry Fitzgerald is in lockdown until kickoff .
Cover athlete Peyton Hillis has missed two games in the 2011 NFL season with a hamstring injury, missed one game with strep throat, and has had his numbers decline continuously after the second week. Hillis suffered a re-injury to his hamstring during practice before week nine and his outlook to finish this season with numbers equivalent to his previous year's performance is looking bleak.