Tom Brady made some news last week when it was announced that he would be the cover athlete for Madden 2018. Brady scoffed at any thought of a Madden Curse and even made a video where he poked fun at it. Personally, I think the guy is a little bit crazy. I’m superstitious myself and yes….I believe in the Madden Curse.
While it doesn’t seem to happen every year, it happens more often than not and the evidence is out there. I’m a Tom Brady fan, but you don’t tease the Madden Cover Gods…especially when you’re a QB who’s close to the age of 40. It’s just not smart, BECAUSE THE CURSE IS REAL FOLKS!
Oh, you don’t believe in the curse? Just sit back and see all the evidence for yourself as I rank all the players who have appeared on the cover of Madden from LEAST CURSED TO MOST CURSED!
BEWARE PEOPLE! Reading this alone might cause you to be cursed……
18. Richard Sherman (MADDEN 2015)
Tackles: 52 (38 in 2013, 33 in 2015)
Interceptions: 4 (8 in 2013, 2 in 2015)
Passes Deflected: 11 (18 in 2013, 14 in 2015)
Games Started: 16 (16 in 2013, 16 in 2015)
Team Record: 12-4 (13-3 in 2013, 10-6 in 2015)
Richard Sherman was the first ever corner to appear on the cover of Madden. Luckily for Seahawks fans, the Madden Curse had no impact on Sherman’s career what so ever. He actually had a better year the year he was on Madden than he did the previous year. How dare you Richard Sherman. That’s not how this shit works man.
17. Ray Lewis (MADDEN 2005)
Tackles: 100 (120 in 2003, 38 in 2005)
Sacks: 1.0 (1.5 in 2003, 1.0 in 2005)
Interceptions: 0 (6 in 2003, 1 in 2005)
Games Played: 15 (16 in 2003, 6 in 2005)
Team Record: 9-7 (10-6 in 2003, 6-10 in 2005)
Was Ray Lewis affected by the Madden Curse during the 2004 season? That’s up for debate. Lewis had a good year in 2004, although he failed to nab an interception all-season (a rare thing for Lewis) and the Ravens missed the playoffs for the first time in years. The one thing we do know is, if that’s all the Madden Curse could do to affect Ray Lewis’ career…..Lewis is a lot better than any of us previously thought.
16. Odell Beckham Jr. (MADDEN 2016)
Receiving Yards: 1,450 (1,305 in 2014, 1,367 in 2016)
Receiving Touchdowns: 13 (12 in 2014, 10 in 2016)
Games Started: 15 (11 in 2014, 16 in 2016)
Team Record: 6-10 (6-10 in 2014, 11-5 in 2016)
A lot of people were surprised when Odell Beckham Jr. managed to snag the Madden cover after only a year in the league. A lot of New York Giants fans instantly started to freak out. With their new hot rookie on the cover of Madden, bad news was right around the corner….right? Wrong. Even though his play may have dipped slightly, Beckham still had a good year and is still kicking ass in the league. No curse here.
15. Drew Brees (MADDEN 2011)
Passing Yards: 4,620 (4,388 in 2009, 5,476 in 2011)
Completion Percentage: 68.1 (70.6 in 2009, 71.2 in 2011)
Games Started: 16 (15 in 2009, 16 in 2011)
Passing Touchdowns: 33 (34 in 2009, 46 in 2011)
Interceptions: 22 (11 in 2009, 14 in 2011)
QB Rating: 90.9 (109.6 in 2009, 110.6 in 2011)
Team Record: 11-5 (13-3 in 2009, 13-3 in 2011)
You think something silly like a “Madden Curse” is going to slow down a first ballot Hall-of-Famer like Drew Brees? If we’ve learned anything about Drew Brees during his career, it’s that you never count him out. The minute you start putting doubt on him, he surprises the hell out of you. This was just another example. I personally thought Brees was going to shit the bed the minute it was announced he got the cover of Madden 2011. However, he went out and had a good year (his production did slip slightly though and his interceptions doubled from the previous year) which is more than any of us thought was going to happen when he got the cover.
14. Eddie George (MADDEN 2001)
Rushing Yards: 1509 (1,304 in 1999, 939 in 2001)
Rushing Yards Per Carry: 3.7 (4.1 in 1999, 3.0 in 2001)
Games Started: 16 (16 in 1999, 16 in 2001)
Rushing Touchdowns: 14 (9 in 1999, 5 in 2001)
Team Record: 13-3 (13-3 in 1999, 7-9 in 2001)
Eddie George was the one who started the trend of NFL players on the cover of Madden. If you are someone who truly believes in the Madden Curse and you think it’s hurting our beloved game, well….you know who to thank. Some would argue that you can’t really blame Eddie George though. After making the cover of Madden, George went on to have arguably the best statistic season of his career. Unfortunately for George, he did up costing his team in the playoffs when he bobbled a pass that ended up as an interception and ended the Titans’ year. See you guys. The curse is real.
13. Larry Fitzgerald (MADDEN 2010)
Receiving Yards: 1,092 (1,431 in 2008, 1,137 in 2010)
Receiving Touchdowns: 13 (12 in 2008, 6 in 2010)
Games Started: 16 (16 in 2008, 15 in 2010)
Team Record: 10-6 (9-7 in 2008, 5-11 in 2010)
Larry Fitzgerald and Troy Polamalu became the first players to share the cover of Madden in 2009. While both players’ production dipped that season, Fitzgerald’s didn’t fall near as much as Polamalu’s. You know what we call that? Sharing the wealth people.
12. Calvin Johnson (MADDEN 2013)
Receiving Yards: 1,964 (1,681 in 2011, 1,492 in 2013)
Receiving Touchdowns: 5 (16 in 2011, 12 in 2013)
Games Started: 16 (16 in 2011, 14 in 2013)
Team Record: 4-12 (10-6 in 2011, 7-9 in 2013)
Was Calvin Johnson affected much by the “Madden Curse”? Not really. He did go on to set the NFL record for receiving yards in a season in 2012, which is pretty damn impressive considering the odds against him that season. The only thing that the “Madden Curse” may have affected this season was Johnson’s receiving touchdowns and the overall team’s success as the Lions went from 10-6 to 4-12. That is….if you believe in that sort of thing and all.
11. Brett Favre (MADDEN 2009)
Passing Yards: 3,472 (4,155 in 2007, 4,202 in 2009)
Completion Percentage: 65.7 (66.5 in 2007, 68.4 in 2009)
Games Started: 16 (16 in 2007, 16 in 2009)
Passing Touchdowns: 22 (28 in 2007, 33 in 2009)
Interceptions: 22 (15 in 2007, 7 in 2009)
QB Rating: 81.0 (95.7 in 2007, 107.2 in 2009)
Team Record: 9-7 (13-3 in 2007, 12-4 in 2009)
When Brett Favre announced his retirement from the Green Bay Packers, the developers of the Madden game decided to honor Favre with a cover of him in his Packers uniform on the game. And then Favre decided not to retire after all and suit up with the New York Jets for the 2008 season. Favre had a decent year for the Jets, but he threw 22 interceptions, the team finished third in the division, and Favre bolted for the Vikings the very next season. This was just a bad decision for both parties in hindsight and the curse definitely struck Favre that season.
10. Daunte Culpepper (MADDEN 2002)
Passing Yards: 2,612 (3,937 in 2000, 3,853 in 2002)
Completion Percentage: 64.2 (62.7 in 2000, 60.7 in 2002)
Games Started: 11 (16 in 2000, 16 in 2002)
Passing Touchdowns: 14 (33 in 2000, 18 in 2002)
Interceptions: 13 (16 in 2000, 23 in 2002)
QB Rating: 83.3 (98.0 in 2000, 75.3 in 2002)
Team Record: 5-11 (11-5 in 2000, 6-10 in 2002)
This was arguably the “start” of the “Madden Curse”. After having a great year for the Vikings in 2001, Culpepper was announced as the first QB to appear on the cover of the game and months later his season went to shit. A knee injury ended up forcing Culpepper to miss five games for Minnesota that season as the Vikings went from an 11-5 team to a 5-11 team. Not to mention, when Culpepper finally recovered from his knee injury….he only had two more seasons that we would actually consider to be good years. To say that appearing on the cover of Madden ruined Daunte Culpepper’s career would probably be an overstatement. But it also might be true.
9. Rob Gronkowski (MADDEN 2016)
Receiving Yards: 540 (1,176 in 2015)
Receiving Touchdowns: 3 (11 in 2015)
Games Started: 6 (15 in 2015)
Team Record: 14-2 (12-4 in 2015)
After going down with an injury and missing more than half of the season last year, Rob Gronkowski found out how truly valuable he is to the New England Patriots. What I mean by that is, the Patriots without Gronkowksi were still one of the scariest teams in the league. That is not a good thing for Gronk. After this upcoming season, Gronk’s contract will double and the Patriots also have an out that allows them to get rid of Gronk without any serious harm to the cap. We’ve seen Bill Belichick do crazier things guys. This ranking is more of a prediction as to what I think is going to happen. With Tom Brady on the cover of Madden this year, he could get hurt and Gronk could see a dip in production once more. If that happens, Gronk will be a free agent next season and Patriots fans will forever blame the cover of Madden for being a bitch.
8. Adrian Peterson (MADDEN 2014)
Rushing Yards: 1,266 (2,097 in 2012, 75 in 2014)
Rushing Yards Per Carry: 4.5 (6.0 in 2012, 3.6 in 2014)
Games Started: 14 (16 in 2012, 1 in 2014)
Rushing Touchdowns: 10 (12 in 2012, 0 in 2014)
Team Record: 5-10-1 (10-6 in 2012, 7-9 in 2014)
Yes, Adrian Peterson had a decent year in 2013. However, you have to remember that the guy’s numbers took a pretty big hit after appearing on the cover of Madden. His rushing yards fell from 2,097 down to 1,266 and he ended up missing a few games at the end of the year with a foot injury. On top of all that, the Vikings went from a 10-6 team to a 5-10-1 non-playoff team and of course….how can we forget the worst thing of all? Peterson was suspended for the majority of the 2014 season for abusing his child with a “switch” and his career hasn’t been the same since. Shouldn’t have been on the cover of a stupid video game, Adrian.
7. Troy Polamalu (MADDEN 2010)
Tackles: 18 (54 in 2008, 49 in 2010)
Interceptions: 3 (7 in 2008, 7 in 2010)
Games Played: 5 (16 in 2008, 14 in 2010)
Team Record: 9-7 (12-4 in 2008, 12-4 in 2010)
Pittsburgh Steelers fans will be the first ones to tell you that Troy Polamalu was a consistently dangerous player during his NFL career. From the moment he stepped onto an NFL field, Polamalu was ready to terrorize the league and he did exactly that. It’s rare for a defensive player to get the cover of Madden, but if anyone could handle the pressure it was Troy. Unfortunately, things went to shit this season for Polamalu. The guy suffered TWO injuries and only played in 5 games for the Steelers. Pittsburgh also ended up finishing 9-7 and missed the playoffs. Try telling Steelers fans that the Madden Curse isn’t real. It’s the only thing that could stop Troy Polamalu.
6. Marshall Faulk (MADDEN 2003)
Rushing Yards: 953 (1,382 in 2001, 818 in 2003)
Rushing Yards Per Carry: 4.5 (5.3 in 2001, 3.9 in 2003)
Games Started: 10 (14 in 2001, 11 in 2003)
Rushing Touchdowns: 8 (12 in 2001, 10 in 2003)
Team Record: 7-9 (14-2 in 2001, 12-4 in 2003)
Marshall Faulk was one of the NFL’s most consistent running backs for eight seasons for both the Rams and the Colts. And then the guy ends up grabbing the cover of Madden 2003 and end approaches. The 2003 season was the first year in 5 seasons that Faulk was unable to get over 1,000 rushing yards. Not only that, but Faulk ended up playing in only 10 games that year due to an injury. Unfortunately for Faulk and his fans, he was never able to recover after this and ended up calling it a career in 2006. Once again, try telling Faulk and his fans that there’s no such thing as a Madden Curse. You might get slapped.
5. Donovan McNabb (MADDEN 2006)
Passing Yards: 2,507 (3,875 in 2004, 2,647 in 2006)
Completion Percentage: 59.1 (64.0 in 2004, 57.0 in 2006)
Games Started: 9 (15 in 2004, 10 in 2006)
Passing Touchdowns: 16 (31 in 2004, 18 in 2006)
Interceptions: 9 (8 in 2004, 6 in 2006)
QB Rating: 85.0 (104.7 in 2004, 95.5 in 2006)
Team Record: 6-10 (13-3 in 2004, 10-6 in 2006)
Donovan McNabb was giving a big “fuck you” to the Madden Curse during the 2005 season. He was on pace for a great year and then the unfortunate happened. He hurt his groin and ended up missing the rest of the year as the Eagles went from a 13-3 team to a 6-10 team. On top of that, McNabb also tore his ACL the following season and ended up playing in only 10 games that year. All this because McNabb decided he wanted to appear on the cover of a football game. If it wasn’t for Madden, the Eagles would probably have a Super Bowl ring by now. OK, that was probably a little excessive….BUT IT’S TRUE!
4. Michael Vick (MADDEN 2004)
Passing Yards: 585 (2,936 in 2002, 2,313 in 2004)
Completion Percentage: 50.0 (54.9 in 2002, 56.4 in 2004)
Games Started: 4 (15 in 2002, 15 in 2004)
Passing Touchdowns: 4 (16 in 2002, 14 in 2004)
Interceptions: 3 (8 in 2002, 12 in 2004)
QB Rating: 69.0 (81.6 in 2002, 78.1 in 2004)
Team Record: 5-11 (9-6-1 in 2002, 11-5 in 2004)
Michael Vick terrorized the NFL in 2002 to the point that he was rewarded as the “greatest video game character ever made” on Madden 2004. Seriously. I was never a big Michael Vick fan, but you absolutely had to play with him on Madden 2004, because he was a game-changer. That’s where the fun ends though for Vick and Madden. Vick ended up getting injured during a pre-season game and missed the Falcons first 11 games of the season as the team went a disappointing 5-11 that season. On top of all that, just four years later, Vick would be behind prison bars following a horrible dog-fighting scandal. But yeah….the Madden Curse isn’t real.
3. Vince Young (MADDEN 2008)
Passing Yards: 2,546 (2,199 in 2006, 219 in 2008)
Completion Percentage: 62.3 (51.5 in 2006, 61.1 in 2008)
Games Started: 15 (13 in 2006, 1 in 2008)
Passing Touchdowns: 9 (12 in 2006, 1 in 2008)
Interceptions: 17 (13 in 2006, 2 in 2008)
QB Rating: 71.1 (66.7 in 2006, 64.5 in 2008)
Team Record: 10-6 (8-8 in 2006, 13-3 in 2008)
Vince Young might be the worst player to ever appear on the cover of Madden. LaDainian Tomlinson was actually supposed to appear on the cover of the game that year, but Chargers fans insisted that he not do it (out of fear of the curse) and Tomlinson satisfied them. So, who ended up stepping up into his place? Vince Young. And you know who scoffed at the Madden Curse? Vince Young. And you know who ended up having a horrible year and actually ended up becoming a back-up QB following this season? That’s right….Vince Young. SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU LAUGH AT THE MADDEN CURSE TOM BRADY???? YOU DON’T TEMPT THE MADDEN GODS!!!!
2. Shaun Alexander (MADDEN 2007)
Rushing Yards: 896 (1,880 in 2005, 716 in 2007)
Rushing Yards Per Carry: 3.6 (5.1 in 2005, 3.5 in 2007)
Games Started: 10 (16 in 2005, 10 in 2007)
Rushing Touchdowns: 7 (27 in 2005, 4 in 2007)
Team Record: 9-7 (13-3 in 2005, 10-6 in 2007)
Shaun Alexander was one of the best players for the Seattle Seahawks from 2001 to 2005. He consistently ran for over 1,000 yards, scored double-digit touchdowns and was a big reason for the Seahawks success around this time. And then Alexander decided to appear on the cover of Madden and everything went to shit. He only played in 10 games that season and following a year where he ran for 1,880 yards and 27 touchdowns, he only had 896 yards and 7 TD’s. On top of all that, Alexander was never the same and was released from the team just two years later. But there’s no such thing as a curse guys.
1. Peyton Hillis (MADDEN 2012)
Rushing Yards: 587 (1,177 in 2010, 309 in 2012)
Rushing Yards Per Carry: 3.6 (4.4 in 2010, 3.6 in 2012)
Games Started: 9 (14 in 2010, 2 in 2012)
Rushing Touchdowns: 3 (11 in 2010, 1 in 2012)
Team Record: 4-12 (5-11 in 2010, 2-14 in 2012)
I think we all knew we were in trouble the minute a Cleveland Brown was placed on the cover of Madden. I think we all knew we were in BIG TIME trouble when a white running back that was a Cleveland Brown was placed on the cover of Madden. To this day, I’ll never understand how this one happened. Peyton Hillis had ONE good season with the Browns and everyone fell in love with him. He was placed on the cover of Madden and everything went to shit. He immediately started having a contract dispute with the Browns, his injuries were all over the place, and he managed to do jack squat that year. He ended up leaving the Browns after this season and joined the Chiefs for one year where he did nothing. He ended up finishing his career with the New York Giants where he also didn’t do much. If you need proof of a Madden Curse, look no further than Peyton Hillis. This guy is still paying for it.