Monday, September 28, 2009

Madden Curse

On the lighter side of blogs, I now turn to the critical question, "does the Madden Curse really exist?"  The answer to this is an unequivocal "yes".  For those who are not familiar with the curse, here is a brief explanation.  The player to be featured on the cover of Madden will suffer a drop in performance the year of the cover.  His career will usually never be the same.  To prove that it exists, let's go through the numbers of all of the Madden cover players since 2001, the first year the game featured a player rather than John Madden.

2001-Eddie George

George had his best season in terms of yards and touchdowns, but bobbled a pass in the Divisional playoffs that was then intercepted, run back for a td, and the Titans lost.  His next season began the downfall of George.

2002-Dante Culpepper

Following a good rookie season, Culpepper struggled, and suffered a knee injury, missing the last 5 games of the season.

2003-Marshall Faulk

Faulk dropped his rushing total under 1000 following four straight 1300 yard seasons.  He was plagued by an ankle injury.

2004-Michael Vick

Vick breaks his leg in the preseason, missing almost the entire season.

2005-Ray Lewis

Lewis failed to get a single interception following a season with 6.  He missed the last game with an injury, and then missed much of the rest of the next season with a hamstring injury.

2006-Donovan McNabb

McNabb said he didn't believe in the curse at the start of the season.  He suffered a sports hernia in the first game of the season, and missed the final 7 games.

2007-Shaun Alexander

Alexander broke his foot and missed 6 weeks.  He has never been the same.

2008-Vince Young

Young mostly escaped unscathed, but in the next year had a spiritual crisis that kept him from playing in 13 games.  He has not played in a regular season game since.

2009-Brett Favre

Favre retired.  The curse was so powerful that it brought him back from retirement.  Twice.  He only had a subaverage year, not the worst of his career, but not good.


Polamalu has only played in one game so far after injuring his knee.
Fitzgerald seems to be having a decent year so far, but just wait.

So, in recap, 6 out of the 11 had atrocious years, 3 had subaverage years, and 2 have the verdict still out as their season is not over.  It's real.

Source-,, and my brain.


  1. IIRC, McNabb was amazing that year until he got hurt. I like the post though. Also your Ray Lewis argument is full of holes. The guy is a linebacker. His interceptionless season was '04 and not '05 and his 6 interceptions are a statistical anomaly. In his Hall of Fame career '03 was the only season Lewis had more than 3 picks. Lewis was injured for most of '05 however and only played 6 games. I think you switched his '04 and '05 seasons around actually, the more i look at it....

    Excellent blog choice.

  2. There is no doubt that the Ray Lewis Season is an anomaly. You must remember that they year Madden is released deals with the previous year's season. Therefore the Ray Lewis curse was actually a year delayed. He had a decent statistical year in '04, minus the 1 interception following a year with 6. My only point with mentioning the interceptions was that Lewis was an absolute monster the year before ('03) both in pass coverage and in run stopping, and in '04 he merely had a good year, as well as missing the last game of the season with an injury. It is my belief that the curse caught up to him in the '05 season, one year after he was featured on Madden. That year was plagued by injuries, as noted. And those of us who have watched his post '05 career have seen that he has never really been the same dominating player that he was is '04 and previously.