With the NFL officially kicked off and heading into week 3, it’s time we talk about the elephant in the room. No it’s not the Ezekiel Elliott drama, we are going to tackle the haunting topic of the Madden curse.
Those of you who are newcomers to the wonderful fandom that is the NFL probably have no idea what I’m talking about and think I’m crazy. And while the jury is still out on the crazy thing, I assure you that this curse is one of the most widely accepted “myths” in sports. And while I will admit, I am super superstitious, after this article, I think I’ll have you convinced.
Madden is an NFL video game for Playstation and XBOX, and previously Nintendo consoles, that has been a staple in my collection since 2008, and a staple in the video game world since the 90s. The early versions of Madden had John Madden himself on the cover. It wasn’t until Madden 99 that they decided to go with cover athletes instead.
Now into the curse itself. The theory here is that if you are the feature athlete on the cover of Madden for that year, you will undoubtedly be stricken with horrible injuries, legal troubles, or other incidents that severely limit your playing time.
Let’s start in ’17 and work backwards, shall we….
Rob Gronkowski: Arguably the New England Patriots’ most intimidating receiving threat, Gronkowski graced the cover of Madden in 2017. He played in just 8 games that season, missing the last 5 and all the playoffs with a back injury.
Adrian Peterson: The best running back of this generation, Peterson was the cover athlete for Madden 25, the game that came out in 2014, named so as to honor the 25th anniversary. Peterson played in only one game that season for the Vikings after being charged with abusing his son with a tree branch. He played opening weekend and was deemed ineligible for the rest of the season.
Peyton Hillis: A name that is all but lost today, Hillis was a breakout running back for the Browns before being featured on the cover in 2012. He rushed for almost 1,200 yards the season prior, but after being featured on the cover, missed 6 games due to injury and rushed for only 587 yards. His career came to a halt just 3 seasons later.
Not convinced yet? I’ll give you one more…
Michael Vick: The infamous Michael Vick. Before his legal troubles, he was one of the most dynamic QBs to come out of college, so it’s not shocking that he was the cover athlete for Madden 2004 just 2 years after being drafted first overall by the Falcons. He broke his leg in the preseason and missed 11 games that season. The Falcons would go just 5-11 that season.
So who’s the target this season? The G.O.A.T. himself. Tom Brady is the guy with the target on his back this season. After having possibly the best season of his career and pulling off the best comeback in Super Bowl history, he is the newest target. He has been unscathed thus far, but I can’t say the same for his team. Julian Edelman and Cyrus Jones went down preseason with ACL injuries, Dont’a Hightower is out, Danny Amendola is out. Maybe the curse can’t infiltrate the G.O.A.T., so it’s going for his teammates? Whatever the speculation is, keep an eye on Brady to see if he ends up sidelined like his ’08 season. Garoppolo, get ready….just in case.
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Image Source: Business Insider