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The Madden curse strikes again

Weather you believe it or not there seems to be a crazy curse for any player that appears on the cover of the Madden video game this dates back to the 1999 edition (the ’98 NFL season) when EA Sports began featuring an NFL player on the cover rather John Madden.

There have been 13 cover players and many of them have suffered injuries or have had awful seasons the year they’ve been on the cover, hence the “Madden Curse.”

The list of players is distinguished, but the results are alarming:


  • Madden ’99 cover player: Garrison Hearst–Following an outstanding regular season, in the playoffs Hearst broke his ankle, requiring a two-year rehab.
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  • Madden ’00 cover player: Barry Sanders–Sanders shared the cover with John Madden. While he didn’t suffer an injury, Sanders surprisingly announced his retirement from football prior to the season.
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  • Madden ’01 cover player: Eddie George–One of the exceptions to the curse, George had career highs in rushing yards and touchdowns in the 2000 season, however he did have a fumble in the playoffs that caused his team, the Titans, to lose the game.
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  • Madden ’02 cover player: Daunte Culpepper–Following an outstanding 2000 season, Culpepper’s ’01 season was limited to 11 games because of a knee injury and his team, the Vikings, finished 5-11.
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  • Madden ’03 cover player: Marshall Faulk–The season (2001) that earned him the cover of the game would be his final season rushing for over 1,000 yards. His production dropped and the team spiraled to a 7-9 season.
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  • Madden ’04 cover player: Michael Vick–Vick broke his leg in a preseason game a week after the game was released and missed the first 11 games of the regular season.
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  • Madden ’05 cover player: Ray Lewis–Lewis, the first defensive player to appear on the cover, is another exception to the curse–sort of. Lewis’ Ravens failed to make the playoffs in 2004 after being AFC North division champs the previous year. Lewis didn’t record any interceptions that season after recording six the previous year, but he was still selected to the Pro Bowl.
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  • Madden ’06 cover player: Donovan McNabb–McNabb battled injuries the entire ’05 season, before finally missing the final five games of the season. McNabb and the Eagles finished 6-10 that season and suffered through the antics of embattled wide receiver Terrell Owens.
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  • Madden ’07 cover player: Shaun Alexander–Following a record-breaking and MVP season in 2005, Alexander was rewarded with an eight-year contract making him the highest-paid running back in NFL history. 2005 would be his last successful and healthy year. In 2006 he suffered a broken foot and only played in 10 games. His career continued on the down swing and he is now out of the league.
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  • Madden ’08 cover player: Vince Young–Young had a fair 2007 season, but nothing as good as his previous year, his rookie season. He still lead his team to the playoffs, but his real trouble came the following year in 2008 when he injured his knee in the first game of the season and lost his starting job for the remainder of the season.
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  • Madden ’09 cover player: Brett Favre: After retiring and then un-retiring, Favre held the Packers organization hostage in the early portion of the ’08 offseason and training camp, before being traded to the New York Jets. Down the stretch in ’08 Favre struggled through injuries and the Jets fell out of the playoff picture on the way to losing four of the final five games.
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  • This leads us to the newest victim  Thursday night kicked off the start of the 09 NFL season, This years Madden 2010 cover has both Troy Polamalu and Larry Fitgerald on it, and the curse struck Polamalu on Thursday night.  Polamalu was diagnosed with an MCL sprain in his left knee, according to Steelers coach Mike Tomlin after the game, and could be out for 3-6 weeks, lets hope Larry avoids the curse.

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