It's the most popular sports video game of all-time. So you would think that being featured on the cover of this game would be an honor for all athletes. Not so.
According to the Madden Curse, every athlete featured on the cover of this EA Sports game is “supposed” to be a victim of the curse—through either retirement (Barry Sanders), injury (Michael Vick), or a whole slew of on-field and off-field problems (Donovan McNabb).
Not this year.
At 39 years old, Favre is leading the NFL in completion percentage (68.7) and his 20 touchdown passes and 90.4 passer rating should guarantee him a spot in this season's Pro Bowl. His Jets have scored more points than any other team in the AFC (340) and are being talked about as a possible Super Bowl team.
There is no curse for Favre. At least not yet.
Let's hope this doesn't jinx him. Favre is just the third NFL player of the 11 cover athletes to defy the curse.
Here's the recap since Barry Sanders became the first cover athlete in 1999. In parentheses, I have included my personal ranking as to how strictly they have been impacted by the Madden Curse – 10 is strongly influenced, 1 is the opposite.
2000 - Barry Sanders (10): Retired abruptly in preseason
2001 – Eddie George (1): Led NFL with 403 carries, 1509 yards, defied curse
2002 – Daunte Culpepper (7): Accounted for 28 total touchdowns, but also led NFL with 23 interceptions and set NFL record with 23 fumbles, season-ending knee injury in Week 12
2003 – Marshall Faulk (9): Missed time to injury, failed to top 1,000 yards after four straight All-Pro seasons
2004 – Michael Vick (10): Broke leg in preseason
2005 – Ray Lewis (4): His Ravens missed playoffs, Lewis had no INTs for first time in career, and broke wrist in final game of season, but still played 15 of 16 games and made All-Pro and Pro Bowl selections
2006 – Donovan McNabb (9): Missed seven games with sports hernia
2007 – Shaun Alexander (9): Reigning NFL MVP missed six games with fractured toe
2008 – Vince Young (8): New career high in interceptions (17), lost starting job after season
I wonder if Favre will keep defying the curse. Every player on this list who has been a victim of the curse has done so by this point in the season.
And how ironic is it that there were three candidates who were considered for the cover – Favre, Brady, and LT – and the two who were NOT featured on the cover are affected.
LaDainian Tomlinson was going to be on the cover of Madden '09, but declined the offer. Chargers' fans were so passionate about L.T. not being featured on the cover that one fan even started a website called SaveLTfromMadden.com. If L.T. had been on this year's cover, he would be continuing the curse, as L.T.'s Chargers are just 4-8 after winning the AFC West last season, and L.T. is on pace to put up by far the worst offensive numbers of his eight-year career.
And we all know about Brady, who was injured just seven minutes into the first game of the NFL season, after having played seven full seasons without missing any games due to injury.
Next season's Madden '10 cover could very well go to Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner or Minnesota Vikings' running back Adrian Peterson, so start preparing yourself for a disappointing season, Cards and Vikes fans.