The Madden Curse wasted no time this NFL season. Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t even make it to halftime in Week 1 against the Titans. The Madden 2010 cover features Polamalu and Larry Fitzgerald. Rumor has it that Larry Fitzgerald is in lockdown until kickoff and fantasy football owners are holding their breath everywhere.
The Madden Curse is more than a myth. The Madden Curse is real with a real history. The Madden Curse is what happens to NFL players who grace the cover of the Madden video game. Over the last ten years several NFL players whom appeared on Madden video game covers have either declined greatly in skill or suffered season-ending injuries. The curse started in 1999 when the game started featuring NFL players on the cover.
Take a brief look at the history of the Madden Curse and decide for yourself if it is fact or fiction.
Madden 1999 – Garrison Hearst was the first NFL player ever to be featured on Madden and bitten by the curse. Hearst almost made it through the season until he was bitten in the playoffs. Hearst broke his leg in the NFC divisional playoffs and missed two full seasons.
Madden 2000 – My favorite NFL player of all time, Barry Sanders graced the cover. Sanders pulled an anti-Favre and 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.
Madden 2001 – Eddie George is the cover player. George made it through the season but had a steep decline in stats and skills the following season.
Madden 2002 – Daunte Culpepper is the cover player. Culpepper suffers a season-ending knee injury late in the season. Culpepper has never been the same player since gracing the cover.
Madden 2003 – 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.
Madden 204 – Michael Vick graced the cover of Madden that year. Vick didn’t even make it out of pre season. Vick suffered a season-ending injury in the third week of pre season. Ironically the injury came one day after the game hit the shelves.
Madden 2005 – 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. Lewis missed a significant amount of time the following season with an injury.
Madden 2006 – Donovan McNabb graced the cover. Every Philadelphia Eagles fan like me groaned when we first saw the cover. Unfortunately our worries came to fruition when McNabb suffered a season-ending injury and the Eagles season ended in T.-Omoil.
Madden 2007 – Shaun Alexander was the featured Madden player that year. Who? Alexander suffered a foot injury and missed significant time that season. Alexander was never the same player since. A few years later and Alexander doesn’t even have a job in the NFL.
Madden 2008 – Vince Young got the cover after an amazing rookie season. Young did make it throw the season with a minor injury. However, Young lost the starting job the next season and continues to ride the Tennessee Titans’ bench in 2009.
Madden 2010 – 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 has yet to play.
So if you think the Madden Curse is fiction, you are mistaken. Nobody has broken the curse in the last ten years. Even if Fitzgerald makes it through the season without injury, Polamalu’s MCL sprain continues the curse.
Here’s hoping that Michael Vick makes another Madden video game cover!
Thanks to fantom.1979 for some of the info.
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