Megatron Wins The Vote!
Every year the time comes that someone should be chosen for the Madden NFL cover. This year it is time for Calvin Johnson to step up and show his colors. Calvin Johnson is an all-star wide receiver standing at an astonishing 6′ 5″ and weighing 236 lbs. Last year alone Calvin had 96 receptions for 1,681 yards during the regular season. The votes are tallied and the same question is on every gamers mind. How will he stack up to the Madden Curse?
Madden Curse History
The Madden Curse Started in 1999. Basically since 1999 every NFL star that has been on the cover of Madden’s hit game has either gotten injured or played terribly. Lets go back throughout the years and look at these devastating events.
Garrison Hearst 1999
The Madden Curse has plagued many amazing player in the past and it all started with Garrison Hearst in 1999. Garrison Hearst was an all-star running back for the San Francisco 49ers and the year he was put on the cover he broke his ankle, leaving him out for almost two seasons. Even after he recovered from this injury he never ran the same and never put up the same ammount of amazing numbers that he did before.
Barry Sanders 2000
One of my most well known Madden curses was in 2000. Barry Sanders, my hero, was set to be on the cover of Madden 2000. One of the best running backs in the league who was most famous for his ability to juke and stay away from tacklers. Right before training camp Sanders announced his retirement. Some say it was to protect the record of Walter Payton’s all time rushing yards but in later years Sanders would say in interviews that the losing aspect of the Detroit Lions was robing him of his competitive spirit and that he did not believe that the lions could improve.
Eddie George 2001
In 2001 Eddie George, another running back, was named the cover recipient. In the division playoffs George fumbled a pass from Steven McNair that was intercepted for a touchdown losing them the game and the division title. George’s career also went on a huge downturn with him never averaging more than 3.4 yards per carry.
Daunte Culpepper 2002
Daunte Culpepper in 2002 was given the Madden Cover after the two running backs Sanders and George. Daunte was very successful in past years and even took Minnesota to the playoffs in 2000. After his appearence on the cover of Madden the curse struck again. Daunte Culpepper’s numbers fell dramatically and he ended up throwing upwards of 20 intereceptions and the Minnesota Vikings had a 5-11 losing record. In later years Daunte Culpepper blew out both of his knees and was never able to put up the numbers he was able to before his showing on the Madden cover.
Marshall Faulk 2003
Returning to running backs Marshall Faulk was put on the 2003 Cover. After the curse was brought down on Faulk he would not register another 1,000 yard rushing game. Performance issues on the field coupled with knee injuries plagued the rest of Marshall Faulks career and he eventually retired in 2005 after knee surgery.
Michael Vic 2004
Michael Vic was also plagued by the Madden curse in a couple of different ways. Vic broke his fibula before the regular season even began. He also, in later years, would have trouble with the law for the dog-fighting ring’s that where taking place inside his home. Although his career was harmed from the backlash for cruelty of animals he has a new home. Now playing with the Eagles he has a decent quarter back rating and is maybe the first time the Madden curse was not fatal. Found to be partaking in illegal actions and put in jail, but at least it’s not fatal.
Ray Lewis 2005
In 2005 Ray Lewis the middle linebacker was named the cover player for Madden. Injury again would plague Ray Lewis, like some of the other cursed players, with a broken wrist in week 15. Even though his injury was minor and at the end of the season his career states where effected and he did not put up comparable numbers to the year before. The amount of turnovers was much less than the year before and 2006 was also the first season that Ray Lewis went without an interception in his professional career. Later Ray Lewis also ran into to trouble with law but was found not guilty of drug charges.
Donovan McNabb 2006
Back to another quarterback Donovan McNabb was put on the cover in 2006. The year before McNabb was put on the cover was a record year with McNabb taking the Eagles all the way to the Superbowl. Injury, the common story among these curses, happened early in the season with McNabb suffering from a hernia. Later in the season he also tore his ACL and meniscus in his knee. The knee injuries where season ending. From Superbowl superstar to physical therapy superstar in just a year. Sometimes the Madden curse can be a bitch.
Shaun Alexander 2007
During the 2006 season Shaun Alexander was the MVP of the league. He also had set an NFL record for touchdowns in a season with 27. Probably one of the more tragic cases of the curse Alexander had a career ending injury when he broke his foot. He struggled to try to regain his abilities in later years but was unsuccessful. There also was some backlash over the Madden curse during the decision making process for Madden 2007. There where groups and even websites deticated to saving Ladainian Tomlinson from being on the Madden cover. Later Tomlinson says that there where contract negotiation problems but some still think he did not appear on the cover because of the Madden curse.
Vince Young 2008
Young is one of the only people that relatively escaped the Madden curse. He only had a minor injury during the season and was relatively as productive as the year before his cover appearence. There where many interviews that Young did before the season where he spoke about not wanting to think about the curse. He wanted to focus on his team and the season. Whatever he did it worked and new cover athletes (wink wink Calvine) should find out what kind of magic he used to stay safe.
Brett Favre 2009
Ohhh Bret Favre. So many people remember Bret Favre through fond images of him in his Green Bay Packers Jersey. In an unprecedented case Madden put Favre on the cover even though he was set to retire. Right before preseason started Favre announced that he was not going to retire and was traded to the New York Jets. Everyone remembers this curse in particular because Favre did not have a real successful season after being traded and has been through a sexual scandal when he sent pictures and sexts to a side line personality Jenn Sterger.
Larry Fitzgerald & Troy Polamalu 2010
Fitzgerald was generaly uneffected by the the Madden curse. He was able to play and start in all 16 regular season games. He did miss the Pro Bowl due to injury but the Pro Bowl is a joke anyways so I wouldn’t count it as a major significants compared to some of the other Madden curse victims. Troy Palomalu on the other hand did have a lot of problems with injuries. He hurt hurt his MCL early in the season during the season opener. After returning, playing on a sprained MCL and putting up mediocre numbers he had another injury in a game against Cincinnati to again his knee. The amount of injuries killed his season numbers.
Drew Brees 2011
Although Drew played every game during 2011 there is a little hint of curse in the season. Winning the 2010 Super Bowl people did not think that the Saints where going to make another comeback. However fans and critiques did expect a better performance then the season they where given. In the wild card game before the playoffs the Saints lost to the wildcard Seahawks. The Seahawks became the first team to ever make it into the playoffs with a losing record. A lot of people argued that this was not Brees’s fault as he did have great numbers.
In later years the scandal arose from the Coaches placing bounties on football players to reward injuries. This scandal has been felt on the team through the loss of head coach Sean Payton, suspension of Gregg Williams the defensive coordinator and the loss of draft picks. The curse may have missed Brees but it did not miss the Saints.
Peyton Hillis 2012
In the 2012 season Peyton Hillis had many problems negotiating his contract with the Browns. This lead to scandals in the locker room and behavior that was labeled negative for the team. He also had many injuries throughout the season to his hamstring and missed a game in the season due to strep throat. His numbers for the year where much lower compared to his 2011 season because of injury and sickness. Eventually Hillis signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. The interesting thing about Hillis is he is one of the only athletes to actually come out and say his negative trending season was because of the Madden curse.
So what do you think? Is the Madden Curse Real? Or is the game of football an injury filled sport already?