John Madden used to be on the cover of all of the Madden football video games. When players started to appear on covers beginning with Madden Football 2001, the curse began to attack superstars.
When you are put on the cover of Madden, typically, you are doomed to a bad season or injury. Some players even avoid being on the cover because of the curse. We will look back on how it started and its latest victim.
Ex-Titans running back Eddie George was the first victim of the infamous Madden Curse. The year before he was put on the cover, George put up career numbers, ranging from over 1,500 rushing yards in addition to 16 touchdowns.
When 2001 came around and George earned his spot on the cover, his statistics took a sharp turn. That season, George was plagued with a recurring toe injury that destroyed his season.
That year he set career-lows as a starting running back, running for less than 1,000 yards and only five touchdowns.
After that fateful season, George returned to the limelight, running for over 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Ex-Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper was coming off an almost 4,000 yard season with 40 total touchdowns before he was on the Madden 2002 cover.
That season, a back injury haunted him throughout the season. His statistics suffered as well, as he only threw for 2,500 yards and 20 touchdowns. He also only played in 11 games.
Ex-Rams running back Marshall Faulk was coming off a 1,300 yard season before the Madden Curse took its toll on him. That year, his team went 14-2.
The moment the curse took over, he and his teammates suffered. That year, the Rams went 7-9 and fellow MVP Kurt Warner was plagued with bad games.
Faulk's statistics also were hit, as he only played in 14 games and ran for only 953 yards. That was his worst season since 1996.
Ex-Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was coming off a great season. He was close to 3,000 yards passing, had 16 total touchdowns and looked like he had a promising career ahead of him. Sadly, the Madden curse struck again.
One week after Madden 2004 debuted with him on the cover, Vick broke his leg during a preseason game. Vick only managed to gain 585 yards passing and four touchdowns that season.
More importantly, America hates him after the dog fighting scandal that he is currently serving time in prison for.
Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis did not get demolished by the Madden curse like many of his predecessors did. Instead, his stats were down and it was the first year of his career where he did not have an interception.
Many feel that the curse waited a year, as Lewis ended up playing only four games the following season, providing only 46 tackles for the Ravens defense.
Prior to his tenure on the cover of Madden 2006, Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb led his team to the Super Bowl and was on fire.
The year of the cover, McNabb was slowed down with a hernia, which caused him to miss seven games. His statistics also suffered, as he only threw for 2,057 yards. His quarterback rating also dropped from a 104 to an 85.
That season, the Eagles, who were projected for greatness, went a disappointing 6-10.
Prior to the curse, ex-Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander was red hot. Alexander just came off breaking the NFL's rushing touchdown record and racked up over 1,800 rushing yards.
In addition, he earned the status as the league's Most Valuable Player.
Once the Madden curse took over, Alexander's tenure in the NFL was as good as done. Alexander went from over 1,800 yards and 28 touchdowns to only 896 yards and eight touchdowns, a dramatic change for the ex-MVP.
Injury also plagued the running back, causing him to play in just 10 games.
Since then, Alexander has fallen off the radar and will be lucky enough to get a shot ever again.
Prior to being placed on the cover of Madden 2008, Titans quarterback Vince Young helped the Titans comeback and make the playoffs in his rookie year, where he was named to the Pro Bowl.
After getting placed on the cover, Young's stats took a toll. His quarterback rating was only a 71 and he went from getting 19 total touchdowns to only 12.
This season, he has lost his job to veteran Kerry Collins and many think he is beginning to lose his mind after suicidal thoughts.
Jets quarterback Brett Favre came out of retirement after a fantastic 2008 season, hoping to bring the Jets to new heights. He looked pretty good throughout the season, getting the Jets to an 8-5 record with three games remaining in their schedule.
While many felt that the Jets were a lock for the playoffs, the Madden curse decided to end that debate. The Jets, behind Favre, collapsed and didn't make it into the playoffs.
This was the only season that Favre ever led the league in interceptions. He also dropped from 4,100 passing yards to 3,500.