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The Madden Curse: Real Or Legend?

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ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 14: Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions makes a catch behind Bryan Scott #43 of the Buffalo Bills  at Ralph Wilson Stadium on November 14, 2010 in Orchard Park, New York. Buffalo won 14-12. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

ORCHARD PARK, NY – NOVEMBER 14: Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions makes a catch behind Bryan Scott #43 of the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on November 14, 2010 in Orchard Park, New York. Buffalo won 14-12. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

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By: Evan Jankens

Every year you hear about the curse of the Madden Cover. Then the athlete on the cover is asked if he believes in the curse and their answer is always “of course not, it’s superstition, I just have to work hard and everything will work out.” I really want to be the guy who gets to ask these athletes who’ve been “cursed” in the years before if they believe in it now. Last year’s cover athlete Peyton Hillis should be asked how he feels about the curse after having a stellar season in 2010 with 1,177 on 270 carries and 11 touchdowns while playing in every game. In 2011 Hillis didn’t exactly have even a good year, he ran for 587 yards on 161 carries with 3 touchdowns and only played in 10 games — Was he cursed? Below you will find 10 reasons why I think Calvin Johnson shouldn’t be the cover athlete for this year’s Madden. The version of the game is in bold, but remember the 2000 game was for the 1999 season and so on.

10. 2000 John Madden still graced the cover of his own game but there was an image over his left shoulder of the Detroit Lions Barry Sanders breaking a tackle.  In 1998 Barry ran for 1,491 yards, and in July of 1999, about a month or so before the game came out, Barry retired.  Was this the start of the Madden curse? Or just coincidence?

9.  2002 Minnesota Vikings QB Daunte Culpepper was the cover athlete for Madden. Maybe the curse is over since Eddie George was just fine after being on the cover of the 2001 game. Well nope that’s not the case. To me this started the decline of Culpepper; he threw 14 TDs and 13 ints. Oh, here is the kicker, he injured his knee and only appeared in 11 games. His career only went downhill from there.

8. 2003 The Rams Marshall Faulk was the cover athlete. There is no way the steady Eddie Marshall Faulk could have a down year is there? Well yes, it was possible. In 2001 Faulk rushed for 1382 yards on 260 carries and 12 TDs in 14games. The year he was the cover athlete he rushed for 953 yards on 212 carries and 8 TDs and started only 10 games while appearing in 14. That was the first year since 1996 that he didn’t rush for 1,000 yards.

7. 2004 The NFL’s biggest star Michael Vick was the cover athlete. Nothing could happen to this phenomenal QB could it? Why yes it could. Michael Vick broke his right fibula in the preseason and only appeared in the final 5 games of the 2003 season. Things really never got better for Vick after this if you know what I’m saying. Do you believe in the curse yet?

6. 2005 Ray Lewis did have a great season in 2004, in fact he was voted as a 1st – team All Pro by the AP. But the following year he did get hurt in week 6 and missed the final 11 games of the season after being put on IR.

5. 2006 Donovan McNabb was on the cover after just reaching the Super Bowl. The 2005 season wasn’t one to remember for McNabb. The season started with Terrell Owens bashing McNabb for his play in the Super Bowl, he only played in 9 games and finished the season on IR. Curse or coincidence? Starting to seem more like a curse, huh?

4. 2007 Everyone remembers Shaun Alexander right? He was a stud RB in the NFL in the 2005 season. In 2005 he ran for 1,880 yards on 370 carries and 27 TDs. Crazy numbers right. There is no way a video game could curse a guy with numbers like this, right? That’s another big fat WRONG. In 2006 Alexander rushed for 896 yards in only 10 games, which was another Madden cover athlete whose season was cut short by injury. Just another fact to back up my thought, Alexander never even sniffed a 1,000 yard season and only scored 11 more TDs in his career before he retired.

3. 2008 The NFL’s future was the cover athlete. That guy was the Titans’ Vince Young. Most of you already know the story of Young but I will help refresh the memory of those who don’t. In 2007 Young didn’t exactly have the season the face of the NFL should have. He threw 17 interceptions and only nine touchdowns. Maybe this wasn’t a Madden curse since he didn’t get hurt. But was this a form of the curse?

2. 2009 Brett Favre was the cover athlete. Favre demanded a trade from the Green Bay Packers and his wish was granted, he was traded to the New York Jets. The cover featured Favre in the Packers uniform but EA made sure if you were upset with this then you could go to their website and print out the new cover with Favre as a Jet. Was this a case of the Madden curse? Who knows, maybe it was for the Jets because the success they have had since this really hasn’t been what they  wanted.

1. 2010 Madden featured two athletes on the cover in Larry Fitzgerald and Troy Polamalu. Yes, Fitz’ yards were down but his TD numbers went up from 12 in 2008 to 13 in 2009. Now his counterpart Polamalu may have been affected by the curse, he only played in five games after has his season was cut short by injury. In 2011 Drew Brees was the cover athlete,  and he did have a Drew Brees-type year and nothing happened to him. So maybe every 10 years the curse skips the player? We all know what happened to Peyton Hillis in the 2011 season.

After saying all this, I just think Lions fans should do Megatron a favor and not vote for him to be the cover athlete of this year’s Madden. Is it cool to be on the cover of a video game? I’m sure it’s about as good as it could get, besides maybe getting to date Kate Upton, but I think you get my point. These are questions the Lions won’t want to answer in regard to a video game. Vote for Arian Foster in Calvin’s current match-up, I’m begging you. If you don’t believe in the curse or, hell, even if you do, leave me a comment and let me know why. If you do believe in the curse you will love the article Ryan Wooley wrote today in which he explains why he wants Calvin Johnson on the cover.

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