If you know anything about the Madden football games, you know of the curse surrounding them. Whoever graces the cover of the game for that year will be struck by this curse. Let’s run down the list very quick (using excerpts from this page).
- 2001 – Eddie George: Coming off a Super Bowl appearance with the Titans the previous year, the former Heisman Trophy winner’s career was looking as promising as ever. However, his yards-per-carry took a nosedive each of the next two years, as injuries slowed George. He acquired the label of a “soft running back” and was accused of not hitting the hole hard. To his credit, he didn’t miss a game during the next three seasons, but he was obviously not the same running back. His receptions, receiving yards, and yards-per-catch have all continually fallen over the past three years, and he hasn’t had a single carry of over 35 yards.li>2002 – Daunte Culpepper: He was coming off a breakthrough year, which saw him throw for nearly 4,000 yards, 33 touchdowns, and only 16 interceptions (good for a 98.0 quarterback rating). He also rushed for seven more TDs, and led Minnesota to the NFC Championship game against the Giants. It was his first season as a starter, and he was already dominating the Viking record book. But it didn’t last long, thanks to EA Sports. Over the course of the past two seasons, Daunte has compiled totals of 32 touchdowns and 43 interceptions as the Vikings have put together an ugly 11-21 record.li>2003 – Marshall Faulk: He was entering his 10th season at the age of 29, and was already considered a lock for the Hall of Fame. His St. Louis Rams had made it to at least the NFC Championship each of the previous three years, and Marshall was coming off his seventh 1,000 yard season. He’d scored 47 touchdowns in 2000/2001, and had recorded four straight 80-catch years as a running back. But the Madden Curse touches even the untouchable. The Rams came into the season as Super Bowl favorites, but started an unthinkable 0-5. Faulk, considered an iron man during his career, fell to injuries and missed six games. He ended the season with his lowest rushing total in seven seasons, his lowest catch total in four, the lowest yards-per-catch of his career, and half as many touchdowns as the season before. The Rams were out of the playoff race faster than the Carolina Panthers.
And now, less than 1 week after Madden 2004 was release, we can add cover boy Mike Vick to that list. Out six weeks (optimistic?) from suffering a broken leg this weekend. It’s too bad because he was an explosive and fun character to watch.