Many of the NFL’s greatest stars have graced the cover of “Madden” only to suffer injuries, horrible playoff losses or team collapses.
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The New York Giants should be proud that WR Odell Beckham Jr. has made the cover of Madden NFL 16 – but the team might want to invest in some bubble-wrap for the Pro Bowl receiver and some four-leaf clovers and lucky rabbits feet for themselves, because nothing but terrible things happen to the teams and athletes that appear on the cover of the long-running video game franchise.
The dreaded “Madden Curse,” which some dismiss as superstition but has made some fans go so far as to sign a petition to keep players like former All-Pro RB LaDanian Tomlison off of it, has ravaged players and teams with injuries, strange decisions and bizarre playoff losses.
Don’t believe in the Madden Curse? Take a look at the evidence and see for yourself – Here is a list of the athletes who have appeared on the cover of Madden and what has befallen them and their teams:
RB Garrison Hearst, 1999 – After making the Pro Bowl in 1998, Hearst breaks his ankle and misses two straight seasons.
RB Barry Sanders, 2000 – Arguably the greatest RB of all-time, Sanders suddenly retired from football just before the start of the season, missing out on possibly breaking the NFL all-time rushing record.
RB Eddie George, 2001 – Despite having a career-year with the Titans, George bobbles a pass from QB Steve McNair in the playoffs right into Baltimore Ravens LB Ray Lewis’ hands, which leads to a Ravens game-sealing TD
QB Daunte Culpepper, 2002 – Ravaged by injuries and poor play for two straight seasons, including a year with 23 interceptions and tying the NFL record for recorded fumbles in 2002.
RB Marshall Faulk, 2003 – The future Hall of Famer never records another 1,000 yard season again in his career and his St. Louis Rams team goes into a massive funk, going 23-73-1 from 2007 to 2014.
QB Michael Vick, 2004 – One of the most electrifying players in football, Vick breaks his fibula and misses 11 games. Several years later he is convicted of operating an illegal dog-fighting ring and sent to prison.
LB Ray Lewis, 2005 – The legendary LB has his season cut short by a wrist injury in Week 15 and fails to record an interception for the first time in his NFL career.
QB Donovan McNabb, 2006 – The Eagles star QB tears his ACL and meniscus in his right knee while jumping out of bounds in a game versus the Tennessee Titans, ending his season
RB Shaun Alexander, 2007 – The reigning NFL MVP suffers a foot injury that costs him six games and never rushes for over 1,000 yards ever again.
QB Vince Young, 2008 – Has the lowest TD% of his career and suffers long-term injuries that run him out of the league just a few years later.
QB Brett Favre, 2009 – The NFL’s Iron Man retires from the Green Bay Packers and is later traded to the New York Jets. He starts the season 8-3 but a lingering shoulder injuries reduces his throwing power and the team collapses to a 9-7 finish, leading to head coach Eric Mangini’s firing.
WR Larry Fitzgerald and SS Troy Polamalu, 2010 – For the first time ever two athletes appear on the cover together, but Polamalu gets injured in Week 1 against the Titans and Fitzgerald’s QB Kurt Warner retires at the end of the season, sending the team into a four-year drought without a winning season.
QB Drew Brees, 2011 – The Saints QB fails to lead the team to a division title after winning the Super Bowl the year before, and the team is bounced in the first round of the playoffs by the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks.
RB Peyton Hillis, 2012 – The Browns RB rushes for over 1,000 yards in 2010 only to fall off the map completely the following year with the team due to injuries and a holdout for a new contract the team never gives him. He signs a major contract with the Chiefs the following season but never comes close to matching his 2010 form.
WR Calvin Johnson, 2013 – “Megatron” breaks the NFL record for receiving yards in a season, but it isn’t enough to help the team as the Detroit Lions fall to a 4-12 record after making the playoffs the previous year.
RB Adrian Peterson, 2014 – The NFL MVP misses several games in 2013 and misses all but one game in 2014 after he is indicted in Texas for child abuse.
CB Richard Sherman, 2015 – The outspoken Seahawks CB watches from the sideline as one of the worst calls in NFL history results in a loss to the Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX. The Madden NFL 15 simulator also accurately predicted the final scores of the game and of the first three quarters.