EA Sports' Madden 2013 cover boy and Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson
OK, so the EA Sports Madden NFL football video game is not a professional sports team. But it is definitely a sports-related franchise and an extremely lucrative one at that. It is also unquestionably unlucky, at least for the NFL players that have graced the cover.
Since former Oakland Raiders coach and legendary announcer John Madden stopped being the cover boy for his own video game after the 1999 edition, the list of those touched by the Madden Curse (Time) is a long and notable one.
Eddie George, Daunte Culpepper, Marshal Faulk, Michael Vick, Ray Lewis, Donovan McNabb, Shaun Alexander, Vince Young, Brett Favre, Troy Polamalu, Drew Brees* and Peyton Hillis have all suffered either a major injury or some other notable indignity during the same season that they appeared on the cover.
Here’s hoping that Megatron aka Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson is the one to end the curse.
Interestingly enough, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald—the only other wide receiver to appear on the Madden cover—avoided the curse in 2009 when he shared the honor with Polamalu. Who knows if it was the shared cover or his position that did the trick?
*Brees’ inclusion on this list is a hotly debated issue that you can read more about in this Bleacher Report article from 2011. He threw for more than 4,600 yards and 33 touchdowns in 2010, but he also threw a career-worst 22 interceptions.
His New Orleans Saints also suffered one of the most embarrassing playoff losses in NFL history as the defending Super Bowl Champs fell to the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Wild Card Round.