Madden curse broken?


JackFetch
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Or will Brett Farve blow out a knee mowing his yard?

It will take an NFL player of extraordinary force to ultimately abolish that pesky Madden Curse. Enter now retired Green Bay Packers great Brett Favre.

To celebrate twenty years, this year's Madden NFL game won't feature a current football superstar, but instead is turning to the NFL legend Brett Favre.

That is good news to those still playing in the NFL who may have been considered for the game cover.

Prior to 2000, all of the Madden NFL game box covers prominently featured John Madden only. When EA (the developer) started to have NFL players on the cover of the Madden NFL games, some later (half-jokingly) speculated that there was a "Madden curse": a coincidental series of misfortunes that befell the product's cover-boys.

People started noticing a pattern when the Atlanta Falcons' star player, quarterback Michael Vick, was injured during the 2003 preseason after posing for the cover of Madden 2004. Vick suffered a broken fibula in a pre-season game against Baltimore, the day after Madden 2004 was released to retailers. The injury resulted in a painful 5-11 year for Vick's team. Some of the people that believed in the curse stated that the player featured on the box would get injured, or simply have a weak season. EA officials point out that Ray Lewis and Eddie George appeared on the covers of the 2005 and 2001 versions, respectively, and had successful seasons without injury, or so they say. Lewis broke his arm that season.

George's curse can be argued to have started the year he was on the cover because in the 2001 AFC Divisional Playoff game George had a costly fumble that lost the game for Tennessee. He also fumbled 8 times during the 2000 regular season, losing a career high 4 fumbles. In a playoff game against the Ravens, Eddie George bobbled a pass that was intercepted by Ray Lewis who ran it back for a touchdown for the eventual winning score.

The curse continued into the 2006 thru 2008 seasons and even extended into the Spanish version of the popular game.

QB Donovan McNabb, who was featured on the cover of Madden NFL 06, led the Philadelphia Eagles to Super Bowl XXXIX with a 13-3 regular season record to face the New England Patriots. He ended 2004 throwing just shy of 4,000 yards and throwing for 31 passing touchdowns with only 8 interceptions. He also rushed for an additional 3 TDs. However, during the 2005-2006 season, in which he was on the Madden cover, McNabb suffered a sports hernia, but elected to play until after the November 14th game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Seahawks RB Shaun Alexander, who appeared on the cover of Madden NFL 07, had one of the best statistical seasons ever in the 2005-2006 season, as he rushed for 1,880 yards and scored what was a record 28 total touchdowns (27 rushing). Alexander, who had missed one start in his previous 64 contests, fractured the 4th metatarsal in his foot after he was on the cover. He missed six starts and failed to rush for 1,000 yards for the first time since 2000. Additionally, his touchdown record from the previous year was broken by LaDainian Tomlinson, who scored 31 touchdowns in 16 games. After his 2007 season, he was released from the Seahawks.

Tennessee Titans QB Vince Young, who appeared on the cover of Madden 08, threw 2,456 yards with 9 passing touchdowns and 17 interceptions in the season of his cover appearance. Barring a drop in just two of his main statistical passing categories, Young improved on every other category from his rookie year, as well as being the spearhead in the achievement of the Titans' first playoff berth in four years. Despite making the playoffs for the first time since 2003, Young was injured just one game of the season at Houston due to a quadricep injury.

San Diego Chargers DE Luis Castillo appeared on the cover of the first-ever Spanish language version of Madden NFL 08. Castillo, during the 2007 NFL season, suffered an ankle injury that forced him to miss six games. Likewise, his stats from the season before, where he also only played in ten games, showed a statistical drop in virtually every defensive category.

So perhaps by not appearing on the field, Brett Favre could help to break the curse, assuming of course he doesn't trip over one of his kids toys and break a leg. Fortunately, and we knock on wood as we write this, none of the injuries suffered as a result of appearing on the cover of Madden NFL have been life threatening.

"Brett Favre is a perfect fit for the Madden NFL 09 cover, as he epitomizes everything the franchise has stood for the past 20 years - longevity, excellence, and a love of football," said Madden NFL 09's executive producer Dale Jackson.

Madden NFL 09 is due out for just about everything except the PC on August 12.

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