Ever since the Madden game series started putting players on the cover of the game in 1999, nearly everyone who has been featured on the cover has had a horrible season the year they were featured. This list highlights the top ten players who were victims of the Madden curse.
New Orleans Saints
Although Drew Brees wasn’t completely cursed as he threw for over 4500 yards that season, the Saints did suffer a devastating loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Wild Card game. Additionally during the 2010 season he threw a career-high 22 interceptions.
During his rookie season in the NFL Vince Young missed his first game ever since he began playing football in middle school due to a quadriceps injury. Vince Young did manage to bring the Titans to the playoffs that year, but failed to score a single touchdown in the first round game.
Troy Polamalu has luckily recovered from his curse a few years back, but it did takes it toll on him. He suffered a knee injury during the season opener and missed the next four games after that. Additionally he reinjured his knee soon after his return and the Steelers failed to make the playoffs that year after having won the Super Bowl the year before.
Daunte Culpepper, at the time, was considered to be one of the prominent rising stars in the league. Unfortunately, for Culpepper that season he ended up suffering a knee injury and missed the last five games of an already disappointing season.
New York Jets
After Brett Favre decided to come out of retirement and play for the Jets he was featured on the cover of Madden 2009. It ended up being by far the worst season of his career. He led the NFL in interceptions with 22 picks. The Jets also missed the playoffs as they lost 4 of their last 5 games down the stretch.
Donovan McNabb was injured during the season opener and missed the final seven games of the season due to the recurrence of his injury. The Eagles failed to make playoffs that season. The Eagles had reached the playoffs for the previous five season in a row and had reached the Super Bowl the previous year.
After just three games in Shaun Alexander broke his foot and missed six games. The Seahawks ended up taking a big step back after they had reached the Super Bowl the previous season.
The year Ray Lewis was featured on the Madden cover was the worst season in his all-around great career. He failed to make a single interception that season and ended up sitting out the final game of the year due to an injury. His curse continued over into the next season when he tore his hamstring and had to sit out half of the season.
San Francisco 49ers
Garrison Hearst was the first player to be featured on the cover of Madden. He was also the first victim of the Madden curse. Hearst severely broke his ankle in the playoffs and ended up missing the entirety of the next season. He never fully recovered from his injury.
Perhaps nobody received the brunt of the Madden curse as bad as Michael Vick. One day after the game was released Michael Vick fractured his leg. Little did he know, his on-the-field problems would be the least of his concern in the years to come.