The Madden Curse

The Madden Curse is an all-too real enemy in NFL History.

Dude should've taken the box's advice.

The Curse is what Madden got out of the divorce between him and Satan.

Just The Facts

  1. Every athelete featured on every Madden cover (since 1999) has had a terrible season, usually due to injury.
  2. Prior to that time, John Madden himself appeared on every game cover.
  3. Madden does not believe in the curse himself. This is because he's never been injured after 11 years on the cover.

History/Overview of the Curse

Are you one of those people who don't believe in the curse, who laughs in the face of the very idea? Well, good for you, the world needs some laughter, but please, continue reading. Are you one of the millions of suckers who believe in the curse, who say it's some paranormal force pulling the strings? Well, of course you need to keep reading, to test the validity of it. Let's begin this mysterious venture with..

Garrison Hearst (Madden '99)

I wonder if that's how he got hurt.

It is, sarscastic subscript. Garrison Hearst, Halfback for the 49ers, had an outstanding regular season, finishing with 1570 all-purpose yards, yet suffered a broken ankle in a divisional playoff game against the Falcons. The break was so severe that he missed two full seasons after that.

Dorsey Levens (Madden 2000 - PAL Territories)

Dorsey had a pretty good year, actually. 1999 was the second-best year of his 11 seasons playing, with 1034 yards rushing and 71 receptions for 573 yards, both career highs. So, the curse is baloney, right? Well...

Barry Sanders (Madden 2000)

The other coverboy, Barry Sanders and his team fell victim to the curse, with the same team stats as the 1998 49ers (8-8). However, it was not injury that did him in, but his abrupt retiring before the season ever began. What an ass. Oddly enough, he wasn't even featured in the foreground, but he was just barely visible in the upper right-hand corner of the cover. Of course, it didn't really have anything to do with a curse, but rather the Lions' decades worth of suckage which lead to his eventual retirement. "So, there's no such thing as curses or French Canadians, those are just myths, right?" You ask yourself in a Swedish accent. Well, not quite...

Eddie George (Madden 2001)

Kinda weird how all the victims to the curse have been runningbacks so far, eh? Anywho, a fumble in the 2000 playoffs cost the Titans the game, and their Superbowl Dreams. His bad luck carried over into 2001, when a toe injury contributed to a career low yards per carry and yards rushing. So, you can't just decide what year a player sucks; It's got to be the year they appear on the cover, right? Well, The Madden Curse decided it's had enough fun toying with runningbacks and switched its focus to quarterbacks, the first being...

Dante Culpepper (Madden '02)

He had a fantastic season in 2000, throwing for over nearly 4000 yards. Yet a back injury in 2001 made sure he would only appear in 11 games, and this lead to his productivity dropping off. The Curse had its breif stint with the QB, and switched back to its specialty, runningbacks, with none other than...

Marshall Faulk (Madden '03)

Faulk had a pretty versatile 2001 season, with 2147 all-purpose yards (rushing/receiving). In 2002, however, the fecal matter hit the fan. The St. Louis Rams, after going 14-2 and appearing in the Super Bowl, crashed to 7-9, starting a pattern of suck that continues to this day. Of course, the team was decimated by injuries that year, not only to then-QB Kurt Warner (who is now with the Cardinals) but also key linemen Orlando Pace and Tom Nutten as well. The Curse, bored yet again with runningbacks, switched back to QBs, and it decided to have a little extra fun with this next one...

Michael Vick (Madden '04)

Beautiful Disaster

Vick was the league's brightest star entering the '03 season, but broke his leg in a preseason game, just a week after appearing on the cover, and as we all know, things only got worse from there.

Worse for him, hilarious for us.

Ray Lewis (Madden '05)

The heart and soul of the Raven's defense, Middle Linebacker Ray Lewis and his team failed to make the playoffs, and he did not have one interception in the 2004 season. Of course, that didn't stop him from making it to the Pro Bowl and become an All-Pro, a first for the team.

This is totally unrelated, but I'd just like to remind everyone he was charged with Murder some time ago (see 7 Beloved Celebs and the Awful Shit You Forgot they Did ).

Donovan McNabb (Madden '06)

McNabb lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl in '04, but had played hurt for most of the 2005 season, costing them the worst season ever (6-10), finishing dead last in the league. He earned a respectable QB rating of 85, however, after he finally decided to get surgery.

Shaun Alexander (Madden '07)

He had one of the best years a RB could ask for in 2005, but broke his foot in '06, and had his TD record (28) broken by LaDanian Tomlinson. He was released by the Seahawks in 2008. Today, nobody cares (we certainly don't).

In 2007, GameSpot and CNBC said a large number of butthurt LT fans who believed in the Curse were opposed to having him on the cover, so much so that one fan went so far as to create to voice disdain. Of course, it turned out that he didn't even end up on the cover at all!

Vince Young (Madden '08)

Having never missed a game in his life, he missed one (just one) during the 2007 season. The Curse seemed to be going easy on the players, but it had something in store for next year that nobody saw coming...

Brett Farve (Madden '09)


Favre was released from the Packers, and he announced he would ruin it for everyone else by coming back for just one more season. And to go out with a bang, it was decided he would go to... the New York Jets. Uh, anyhow, he actually did pretty good, starting the team off 8-3, until he injured his throwing arm, and it all went downhill from there. His picks and touchdowns were even (22-22), and the team ended the season 9-7. Favre was the only white guy to grace the Madden cover (besides Madden himself).

Troy Polamalu/Larry Fitzgerald (Madden 10)

Troy Polamalu injured his knee at the beginning of the 2009 season, costing the defending Super Bowl Champions, the Pittsburgh Steelers, an 8-7 season. The Cardinals, however, had a pretty good season, and even made it far into the Playoffs (until they were beaten by the Saints). In fact, the Fitz wasn't even badly injured, and had a pretty good season.

A Different Kind of Curse

The Madden Curse is pretty bad in itself, but there is a much worse plague that has affected the NFL, more speceifically, Tony Romo. It is, of course, the curse of YOKO ROMO. His touchdowns went down, and his picks and fumbles went up. This was due to the "Simpson Effect" - whoever dates Jessica Simpson leads a life of misfortune.

"Look, it's not me, it's you."

Validity of the Curse

Whether the curse is real or not, one thing is for sure - people are going to get hurt in the NFL. A lot. The fact that the players featured get hurt that season could just be plain coincidence, or maybe Satan really does like to toy with us.