When Drew Brees was chosen to grace the cover of Madden NFL 11, there were many who saw it as a sign that the good times ending in New Orleans.
The Madden curse, they said, would doom the Saints and their superstar quarterback, like it had so many before him.
Through five games so far, Brees has not been the superhuman quarterback of previous years, throwing five interceptions as the Saints are struggling with a record of 3-2.
What are the curse's origins? Just how bad off is Brees compared to the rest of it's victims? We'll explain the history of the curse, and rank the 10 worst victims of it since it's beginning.
John MAdden was featured on every cover of his game from it's debut until Madden 99. On the cover of the 2000 edition, EA wanted superstar Barry Sanders. But the Lions' running back retired before the season began, forcing them to substitute Green Bay Packers running back Dorsey Levens.
From that point on, the cover featured a prominent NFL star from the previous season. However, people began noticing a trend of players getting hurt, or failing to produce the season they appeared on the cover; thus, the Madden curse was born.
2009 Stats: 4,388 passing yards, 34 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 13-2 record as a starter, Super Bowl MVP.
2010 Stats: 1,410 passing yards, 9 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, 3-2 record.
Cursed? Tough to say yet. The Saints haven't looked as good as they did last year, but injuries have sapped their backfield strength, and teams are playing them soft in the secondary, taking away the deep ball. Brees could be in for a bit of a regression from last year's performance.
1999 Stats: 1,304 yards rushing, 9 touchdowns.
2000 Stats: 1,509 rushing yards, 14 carries.
Cursed? Yes. George may have had a career year in 2000, but he was never the same after that. Injuries and age sapped much of his explosiveness, and he was out of the league by 2004.
2003 Stats: 121 tackles, 42 assists, 6 interceptions, 1.5 sacks.
2004 Stats: 101 tackles 46 assists, 0 interceptions, 1 sack
Cursed? Definitely. Lewis saw all his stats dip, and he failed to record an interception in 2004. Plus, Lewis injured himself in Week 15 and couldn't play the last two games of the season; the Ravens failed to reach the playoffs. The next season, he missed all but five games and has never been the same stat-producer since.
2008 Stats: 54 Tackles, 7 interceptions
2009 Stats: 18 tackles, 3 interceptions
Cursed? Polamalu was hurt for a good portion of 2009. The Steelers, heavy favorites to win the AFC North, missed the playoffs entirely.
2007 Stats: 4,155 yards, 28 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, 13-3 record
2008 Stats: 3,472 yards, 22 touchdowns, 22 interceptions, 8-8 record
Cursed? EA thought they had the curse beat, putting a then-retired Favre on the cover of Madden 09. So imagine their surprise when Favre returned for the 2008 season as a New York Jet. Favre had an awful season, fading miserably down the stretch, as the Jets collapsed and missed the playoffs.
2004 Stats: 3,875 yards, 31 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, 13-2 record as starter.
2005 Stats: 2,507 yards, 16 touchdowns, 9 interceptions, 4-5 record as starter.
Cursed? McNabb suffered a sports hernia in the first game of the 2005 season. He played through the pain for eight more games, before sitting out for the rest of the year. The Eagles went 6-10 that season, and fans started the calls for McNabb to leave Philadelphia.
2001 Stats: 1,382 rush yards, 765 receiving yards, 21 total touchdowns
2002 Stats: 950 rushing yards, 537 receiving yards, 10 total touchdowns
Cursed? This was when people started talking about the Madden curse. Faulk's numbers dropped precipitously between these two seasons, and he was never the same after appearing on the cover.
2002 Stats: 2,936 passing yards, 16 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, 11-4 record, 777 rush yards, 8 touchdowns
2003 Stats: 585 passing yards, 4 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 3-1 record, 255 rushing yards, 1 touchdown
Cursed? Vick broke his leg in the fourth game of the 2003 season. Other than a resurgence in 2004, his career has never been quite the same since, and he's battled recent legal troubles, to boot.
2000 Stats: 3,937 passing yards, 33 touchdowns, 16 interceptions, 470 rushing yards, 7 touchdowns
2001 Stats: 2,612 passing yards, 14 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 416 rushing yards, 5 touchdowns
Cursed? Culpepper could never quite live up to the hype surrounding him. He got hurt in 2001, and while his stats reached the levels they hit in 2000 later in his career, the quarterback could not get the Vikings past an 8-8 record after gracing Madden's cover.
2005 Stats: 1,880 rushing yards, 27 touchdowns
2006 Stats: 896 rushing yards, 7 touchdowns
Cursed? The most convincing case for the curse of the bunch, Alexander fell off a cliff in 2006. Two years later, the former NFL MVP was out of football, and the Seahawks had sunk back to anonymity.