What the Madden Curse REALLY is…


Let’s say thirteen years ago your friend introduces you to an astonishing and young idea. After relentless flirting, you might just have to give it a chance.

Ever since 1999, players who grace the cover of the Madden NFL football video game are subsequently injured or have a horrible year.  Notend up in the hospital, spontaneously retiring, sitting on the bench, or…behind prison bars. Every year the same question is brought up: could I be that guy to break this silly curse thing?

No.

The smart ones avoid it at all costs. Ask Ladainian Tomlinson. In 2008 terrified LT fans started websites to deliver their team’s best player from making the costly mistake of signing the Madden deal. He listened,  opted-out, and went on to play a record-setting year. Rising star Vince Young lasted 5 games before a quadricep injury. His numbers drastically declined and supposedly that was his first real injury since the fifth grade! The auspicious quarterback lost his job to a washed up Kerry Collins; the rest was history. Young was sent to the Philadelphia Eagles–in an interview during the 2011 preseason he told the world to watch out for the Dream Team–making us the laughingstock of the NFL.

When two negatives join it’s supposed to make the obvious, a positive. When the aforementioned quarterback Young and the starting QB Michael Vick for the Eagles, another victim of the MC, I convinced myself that the franchise was saved. Would the Madden Curse and its ghosts no longer beleaguer my beloved squad? Fuck no.

If Most Exciting Player of the Decade awards were issued, Michael Vick would’ve achieved at least three of them. This superhuman accounts for almost all his team’s yardage totals. It’s more astonishing to me that he admitted to never opening up a playbook or studying any of the game film that the Falcons organization suggested him to. Vick graced the cover of Madden 2004. He broke his leg during a preseason match, missed eleven games and that was the end of that. In 2007 he was convicted for involvement in a dogfighting scandal, gambling his hard-earned money on puppies ripping each other’s hearts out. The Madden Curse punished the man with a fat suspension for 2 years, reinstated with the Eagles, and get this: teased the fans leading the team to a heavenly 10-6 record. The Vick-led group of men tippy-toed into the postseason and lost a nail-biter against the Packers, which eliminated them from the playoffs.

Two negatives make a positive, but I then realize that the squad in Philadelphia actually carried another quarterback who fronted the Madden video game.

Madden 2006: Donovan McNabb. He will always be one of my favorite quarterbacks. Under his leadership we fans got to enjoy five playoff seasons and a glorious loss in the Super Bowl. I think he was delirious when he agreed to gracing the Madden cover. But being 17 then I trusted the man of great credibility and wished the best for him. Wished him so well that in the first game of the 2006 season the man received a sports hernia, an injury that requires months to heal. The aggravated groin required surgery and the team finished 6-10. Yes. McNabb never quite played the same again, except in 2008 the Curse teased us with another strip-show with the Eagles representing in the NFC Conference Championship, one game away from the Super Bowl. You can assume the outcome of that game.

The Eagles organization then pulled a blasphemous move, trading McNabb to a divisional rival, the Redskins. They both shared a common interest: DC needed someone to revive their city, and McNabb needed to save his own career. When head coach Mike Shanahan demoted him to the 3rd string due to poor? performance, he was sent off to the Minnesota Vikings. With an offensive powerhouse, the Vikings needed a solid quarterback to help the passing game. In McNabb I trusted, but I think cheering for him in public embarrassed me more. If he just didn’t take the money for the Madden curse, his face would be a bronze statue in the Hall of Fame. SIGH.

The fierce Ray Lewis who graced the cover in 2005 broke his wrist the following season and nursed a hamstring injury the year after that. After winning in the Super Bowl in 2001, the Ravens have yet to make an appearance and yes, Lewis has been the heart and soul of their defense. The man who’s been discussing retirement in the last month just tore his bicep. Even the Curse was too scared to hurt him in his youth–as it proves that the MC strikes men when they’re vulnerable.

Take Brett Favre for instance. The lively and bubbly man who celebrated his touchdown passes as if they were his last is now the offensive coordinator for a high school team in Hattiesburg, Miss. In 2008, the near-40 year old quarterback had enough arm to take a picture on his cell phone of his privates and send them to a Jets game day hostess. It’s almost as if the Madden Curse not only ruins the performances of these awesome players, but tarnishes the image, the personalities and lifestyles of them too. I don’t see myself even Photoshopping a picture of myself and pasting it over a Madden cover template.

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