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Let’s Look At The Madden Football Curse
Historically, few people are more superstitious than athletes. Whether it’s eating the same thing before every game or wearing the same old t-shirt under their pads during every game, athletes and fans are looking for every reason to explain wins, losses, streaks hot and cold races. This extends to the world of video games, let’s take a look at The Madden Curse.
The Madden Curse is the belief that bad things can happen to the player or player’s team that appears on the cover of the All-Madden football game each year.
Madden NFL ’99
This is the first year that All-Madden Football has published a photo of a player on the cover, that player was Garrison Hearst. Hearst had a career year in 1999 and was one of the hottest names in the NFL at the time. After appearing on the cover, he led the 49ers to a run and a first-round playoff win over the Green Bay Packers. In their next playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons, Hearst would injure his knee and not play again until the 2001 season.
Madden NFL 2000
Barry Sanders appeared on the cover with John Madden for the 2000 edition of All-Madden Football. Sanders had a long and impressive career and still had some of the best numbers in the league, as well as some of the most exciting games. A week before training camp opened for the season, Barry Sanders retired, leaving the Detroit Lions without an effective running game.
Madden NFL 2001
In the 2001 season after appearing on the cover of Madden Football, Eddie George averaged 3 yards per run (a career low) and only ran just over 900 yards on the ground while struggling against a nagging toe injury.
Madden NFL 2002
The previous year, Daunte Culpepper threw for over 4,000 yards and completed 33 touchdown passes. After appearing on the cover of Madden NFL 2002, Culpepper threw just 13 touchdown passes and 14 interceptions before his season ended in Week 11 due to injury.
Madden NFL 2003
Running back Marshall Faulk appeared on the cover of Madden NFL 2003. Faulk had one of his best years in the league the previous season, but after making the cover he missed five regular season games due to of an ankle injury. He never again rushed for more than 1,000 yards in a season. The Rams were 7-9 on the year, a year short of a 14-2 season that culminated in a Super Bowl appearance.
Madden NFL 2004
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick appeared on the 2004 Madden NFL cover. Five days after the cover was released, Michael Vick fractured his right fibula. He was only able to play the last five regular season games that season.
Madden NFL 2005
Madden NFL 2005 saw the first defensive player appear on the cover, Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens. This season, Lewis would have no interceptions after making six the previous season. He would also be injured in week 15 of this season and would be forced to miss the final game of the year. The Ravens would also miss the playoffs that year after winning their division the previous season.
Madden NFL 2006
After leading the Eagles to the Super Bowl only to lose to the Patriots, Donovan McNabb appeared on the cover of Madden NFL 2006 the following season. Although the Eagles as a team returned to the NFC Championship Game, McNabb would battle sports hernia all season only to get knocked out of the game against the Dallas Cowboys and undergo season-ending surgery.
Madden NFL 2007
Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander appeared on the cover of Madden NFL 2007 the year after he set the record for most rushing touchdowns scored in a season. After missing just one game in his previous 64 starts, Alexander would miss six starts with a broken foot. He would fail to run for 1,000 yards on the season for the first time since 2000.
Madden NFL 2008
During Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young’s season on the cover of Madden NFL 2008, he would throw for less than 2,500 yards with 17 interceptions. Young would go on to be injured and miss his first NFL game through injury. Until then, Young had never missed a game due to injury during his NFL seasons, in college or high school.
Superstitions have been around in sports for a long time, but Madden’s Curse is a pretty good one with a long, long history.
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