NFL: The Madden Curse

By Tom Waterman, WSOE Sports

Forger the curse of the Bambino, with the announcement of which player will be gracing the newest edition of Madden NFL 2010 coming up in two weeks, the annual discussion of the “Madden Curse” is once again a hot topic of debate. Beginning in the year 2001, NFL players have appeared on the Madden Cover as way of marketing the game and putting a breakout NFL star on the cover. This practice began in 2001, when Eddie George was put on the cover. This is when the curse began. In the 10 years that have followed each cover athlete has fallen victim to the “Madden Curse,” and subsequently suffered a season-ending injury or had a terrible year.

The Victims:

Eddie George (Madden 2001): 939 yards, 3.0 yards per carry and 5 touchdowns. George was out of the NFL three years later.

Daunte Culpepper (Madden 2002): 14 Touchdowns and 13 Interceptions, Only played in 11 games that season and was forced to deal with other problems such as the “Randy Ratio”, Three torn knee ligaments and the subsequent rehab, and of course having to play for the Raiders and the Lions. Ugh!

Marshall Faulk (Madden 2003): 212 carries and 953 yards and 8 touchdowns. Played in 14 games that season, and was out of the NFL four years later.

Michael Vick (Madden 2004): 4 Touchdowns and 3 Interceptions. Broke his ankle in the preseason and only played in 5 games that season. He also was out of football four years later, and is currently in person for his role in dog fighting case. Vick will seek reinstatement into the NFL this summer.

Ray Lewis (Madden 2005): The curse didn’t really affect him, but he did fail to record an interception after having six the previous season. He recorded 147 tackles in 15 games that year. Lewis has continued to add to his credentials to what will certainly be a hall of fame career.

Donovan McNabb (Madden 2006): McNabb suffered from the infamous “sports hernia”, and ended up having season-ending surgery. His team went 6-10, one year removed form being in the Super Bowl. What was worse, having to deal with the sports hernia? or having to deal with Terrell Owens?

Shaun Alexander (Madden 2007): He scored the cover after setting the single season touchdown record the year before and for rushing for more then 1,800 yards. Alexander broke his foot in the following season after being on the cover and missed six games and failed to reach 1,000 yards. He is also now out of the NFL.

Vince Young (Madden 2008): Vince Young accumulated 9 Touchdowns and 17 interceptions after being on the cover for Madden 2008. The season after that Young lost his starting job and is currently behind fellow Titan Quarterback Kerry Collins on the depth chart.

Brett Favre (Madden 2009): Favre was retired when he was announced as the cover athlete for Madden 2009, but being on the cover in the uniform for a team you no longer play for can’t be a good sign. Favre ended the season with 22 Touchdowns and 22 Interceptions, and without a playoff appearance. He is now retired for good. We think.

So for whoever is lucky enough to grace the cover of Madden 2010, whether it is Larry Fitzgerald, Troy Polamalu, Brandon Jacobs, Drew Brees, or Ben Roethlisberger or whomever, just be sure not to draft them on your fantasy football team next year. I’m just kidding, But Seriously! The Madden Curse just never misses.

Tom Waterman
WSOE Sports
swaterman@elon.edu

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