Is there a Madden Curse? Perhaps…

In 1999 the acclaimed EA Sports Football game Madden started to feature NFL Football players on the cover along the with John Madden.

In 2001 they completely decided to not have the cover boy  anymore and just feature the NFL players.

1999 is when the Madden Curse was born.

What is the Madden Curse some of you may ask?

The “Madden Curse” is believed to be a jinx of any NFL football player that appears on the cover of the Madden game.  Once they are on the cover, it’s believed that he will suffer from injury at some point during the season or would have a significant decrease in production from the previous years.

Let’s look at the evidence…


1999 – Garrison Hearst –

In 1999 the San Francisco 49er had a great year, he rushed 310 times for 1570 Yards & 7 TD’s.  During a playoff game in 1999 against the Atlanta Falcons Hearst suffered a broken ankle.  The severity of his injury was so serious that Hearst missed the next 2 regular seasons.  He did make a comeback in 01 and became the NFL’s comeback player of the year during that season, but too late the “curse” has been born.


2000 – Barry Sanders

Barry retires after the 99 season from the Lions finishing with an 8-8 record, which doesn’t really apply the Madden curse to him, but I think it passed on to the Detroit Lions b/c they have failed to make the playoffs without Sanders and have been the laughing stock of the NFL including an 0-16 record this past season.


2001 – Eddie George

Prior to gracing the cover of Madden, George had just finished a career year for the Titans, rushing for 1,509 yards & 14 TD’s.  The year that he appeared on the cover of Madden, George only 939 yards, 5 TD’s and averaged less than 3 yards a carry due to a nagging toe injury that limited his play.  George never regained the form that he was in prior to Madden, for the remainder of his career he average less than 3 yards a carry.


2002 – Daunte Culpepper

Daunte’s stats for 2000 – He threw for 4,000 yards, 33 TD’s, rushed for 470 Yards and 7 TD’s.  In 2001 – the year of the Madden cover, he threw 13 INT’s and 14 TD’s and his season was cut short in the 11th game by a back injury.   Just like George, Culpepper was never the same player again.

032003 – Marshall Faulk

Marshall was part of “The Greatest Show on Turf” – In 01 he ran for over 2,000 yards and 21 TD’s.  After appearing on the cover during the 02 season Marshal suffered an ankle injury that limited his numbers to 10 TD’s and 1,600 rushing yards.  Never again did Marshal run for 1,000 yards for the remainder of his career.


2004 – Michael Vick

Perhaps the most notorious NFL player to ever appear on the Madden cover.  Just five days after the game was released Vick was injured during a preseason game and was only able to play in the last five games of the season, throwing for 4 TD’s.  Yet Vick’s Madden misfortune didn’t end there as years later “the curse” continues to haunt him as he serves 1 year sentence for killing dogs and is out of the NFL.


2005 – Ray Lewis

It’s said that for the most part, Lewis avoided “the curse” – he was only injured one game, but throughout the whole season didn’t record a single INT for the first time in his career – but then again, I think “the curse” followed him off the field as he faced murder charges that year.

2006 – Donovan McNabb

The year that McNabb graced the cover, the Eagles didn’t make the playoffs for the first time since 1999, he threw more INT’s than TD’s and he was lost during the 11th game of the season due to a sports hernia.


2007 – Shaun Alexander

In 64 previous games Alexander had never missed a game, but after appearing on the cover, he fractured a bone on his foot and missed six games that season.  He had the lowest total of yards since his rookie season, rushing for 896 yards.


2008 – Vince Young

During the 07 season (the year that he graced the Madden cover) Young threw for 9 TD’s and 17 INT’s.  The following season “the curse” continued to follow him as he was benched in favor of Kerry Collins due to reported “mental health issues.”


2009 – Brett Favre

The unintentional funniest Madden cover to date b/c it has Favre with a Packers uniform, a few days later he was traded the NY Jets where he led the team to a quick start, but then fizzled towards the end of the season leading the team to an 9-7 record, missing the playoffs, and throwing for 22 TD’s & 22 INT’s.


There you have it, is there a Madden curse????

I’ll let you look at the evidence and decide for yourself…


3 Responses

  1. I think the curse pertains to someone getting so famous, then stops doing the work that it took to get famous. In other words, gets lazy, and doesn’t keep the level of intensity, in which they get caught off guard and then injured. A lot of newly famous people take time away from there game to do more shows, interviews, movies, etc. Just human nature.

  2. That’s a really good post – very interesting indeed. I wonder if any of these guys are superstitious now and would rather be on a Wheaties box or something.

    Can’t wait for your next post! It will be great coming here each week to read at least 2 new and interesting posts!

    • Funny you mention that, it’s been rumored in the past that some guys are a little skeptical to appear on the cover… Such as LaDanian Tomlinson from the Chargers, their fans went as far as to create a website that begged for Tomlinson not to appear on the Madden cover.

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