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NFL Lines - The Madden Curse

Posted by Marcello Messina on 3/12/2012 6:45:04 PM

image credit: post406

NFL Lines – The Madden Curse

The Madden Curse is one that dictates that whoever is chosen to be on the cover of the EA sports videogame will have a terrible NFL lines year or be injured the following season. It is a superstition that has been given considerable evidence during the past ten years, considering the record of these aforementioned former cover stars. Although a prestigious position, and one that is financially rewarding, being the face of the esteemed EA Madden franchise is also one that is fraught with superstition.

1999- Gavin Hearst and Start of The Curse
1999 was the first year that EA decided to replace John Madden with an actual NFL player on the cover. San Francisco 49ers running back Garrison Heart was therefore chosen. He was coming off a stellar season, and seemed destined for the NFL Hall of Fame. However, after being presented as the cover star, Hearst broke his ankle in such a severe way that he missed two full NFL lines seasons, and was never the same player again.

2000- Barry Sanders and Dorsey Levens
In 2000, Barry Sanders was selected as the EA cover star. However, as training camp was about to start, Sanders suddenly decided to retire, as thousands of copies of the game were already being shipped. Later versions featured Green Bay Packers running back Dorsey Levens. Halfway through the season, Levens injured his knee. The Packers missed the playoffs after appearing in the Super Bowl in back-to-back seasons, and Levens was never a starter again, as he served out the rest of his career as a bench-warmer.

2001- Eddie George
Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George was on the cover of Madden 2001. That NFL lines season, he would have a career year, breaking most of his personal records. George seemed to have shaken off the Madden curse, as he led his team to the divisional finals against the Baltimore Ravens. However, in that game, Eddie George missed a crucial, easy pass that was intercepted and returned for what would be the game-winning touchdown. George would spend most of the next season injured, and never come close to repeating his 2001 stats.

2003-Marshall Faulk
Faulk was crucial in the St. Louis Rams’ spectacular record of two Super Bowls in three years, so he was the obvious choice for the 2003 Madden cover star. He had just run four consecutive NFL lines seasons of more than 1,300 yards, and was one of the biggest names in the league. After being on the Madden cover, Faulk has a season to forget, as he rushed for under 1,000 yards and the Rams finished with a 7-9 record.

2004- Michael Vick
By 2004, the Madden curse was starting to be taken more seriously, as the six players featured since 1999 all had seasons to forget the following year. Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was chosen as the 2004 cover star. What followed is well known, as Vick was incarcerated for orchestrating dog fights in a scandal that would affect his career, and his life.

2005- Ray Lewis
Ray Lewis was chosen as the Madden cover star for 2005 after recording six interceptions the previous NFL lines season. However, that season, he did not record one single interception for the first time in his career, whilst the Ravens also went 9-7 and failed to make the playoffs for the first time in four seasons. Lewis ended the season nursing a hamstring injury on the bench

2006- Donovan McNabb
Under Donovan McNabb, the Eagles recorded a stellar 59-21 and made the playoffs for five consecutive years, including one NFC championship and one Super Bowl appearance. After publicly denouncing the curse, McNabb suffered a sports hernia in the first game of the season. McNabb would miss 8 games, agitate the injury, then go on to miss the rest of the season.

2008- Vince Young
In 2008, LaDainian Tomlinson was initially slated to be the EA cover star. However, worried fans started petitions on websites, and Tomlinson eventually rescinded the offer, citing financial reasons. Tomlinson went on to have a stellar year. Vince Young, the young rookie who became the Madden cover star instead, played only five games before injuring his quadriceps. Young also suffered through a knee injury that kept him out for the entire NFL lines season, before losing the starting gig to Kerry Collins.

2009- Brett Favre
In 2009, EA selected Brett Favre as their cover star, who was retired at the time. However, Favre then made a return with the New York Jets. Favre had a terrible end to the season, tearing a bicep and finishing the season with only two touchdowns, and nine interceptions. The Jets evidently did not make the playoffs.

2010- Larry Fitzgerald and Troy Polamalu
Larry Fitzgerald and Troy Polamalu shared the cover of Madden 2010. The curse would hit the both of them. In the first game of the season, Polamalu sprained his MCL and missed four games. He then returned for three games, before tearing his posterior cruciate ligament and missing most of the rest of the NFL lines season. Fitzgerald would go on to have a stellar season with over 1,000 receiving yards. However, at the end of the season he would suffer a rib injury which would force him out of the playoffs and a Pro Bowl.

2011- Drew Brees
This case is a bit less clear-cut than the previous years. Drew Brees led the Saints, defending Super Bowl champions to the playoffs as favourites to at least make it to the NFC Championship. However, they lost in the first round to Seattle, the first team to ever make the playoffs with a losing record. In this way, this was one of the biggest upsets in NFL lines history as the Saints lost to one of the worst teams in Super Bowl history.

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