The Madden Curse is something that has fans perpetually worried every year Madden announces their new cover athlete.
Well, what is the curse and is it even a thing? The curse has been notorious for taking players out and giving them the worst years of their careers after they feature on the Madden cover.
You can see why an NFL fan might be hesitant when their star player is announced as a Madden cover athlete. This year, Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes are set to be co-cover athletes.
Will they also fall victim to the curse? Time will tell. However, it is a frightening prospect to think about. What is the history of the curse, and has anyone ever beat it? Read on to find out.
They’re the top of the game right now, so featuring them both seem apt.
And puts the rest of the league on notice to capitalise when the “Madden Curse” inevitably kicks in for the 2021 season! #Madden22 https://t.co/eCQcyXsrkQ
— The UNAmerican Football Show (@TUFShowOfficial) June 17, 2021
What Is The Madden Cover Curse? Examples Of The Madden Cover Curse
The Madden curse began around 2002 when Vikings Star Daunte Culpepper was featured on the title. The curse is known as a curse because of how it affects players in the year after they’ve been featured on Madden.
Injuries, major drop-offs in performances, and an overall negative effect are synonymous with players who have appeared on the Madden franchise.
Daunte Culpepper (2002):
Taking Culpepper, for example, before he was on the cover of Madden, he threw for nearly 4,000 yards and 33 touchdowns. However, immediately after, he would start only 11 games throwing 14 touchdowns to 13 interceptions. A back injury would take him out the rest of the season.
Michael Vick (2004):
Vick was one of the most dynamic and perhaps most explosive quarterback in the game with his dual threat ability. After Madden featured him on the cover, however, he played only 5 games as he fractured his right fibula. The Falcons fell out of playoff contention without him.
Shaun Alexander (2007):
After a historic season in which Alexander set the record for most rushing touchdowns in a year, the Madden curse would strike down hard. He missed six starts the following year, failing to reach 1,000 rushing yards. He never saw 1,000 yards after in fact either.
Rob Gronkowski (2017):
Gronk was the most dominant tight end in the game before he featured on Madden. He would injure his back in a game against the Seahawks and missed the rest of the year.
Did Patrick Mahomes Break The Madden Curse? Counterexamples of the Madden Curse
While there are several examples of players falling prey to the Madden curse, there are also several counterexamples, many of them being in recent memory too.
Don’t worry about a “Madden curse” for Tom Brady or Patrick Mahomes – here’s how the last 4 Madden cover athletes have fared:
2020 Lamar Jackson: 7th-best QBR, won a playoff game
2019 Patrick Mahomes: Super Bowl MVP
2018 Antonio Brown: 15 Rec TD (led NFL)
2017 Tom Brady: NFL MVP https://t.co/F85ZBfWuvl
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 17, 2021
Here are the four most popular ones:
Larry Fitzgerald (2010):
Fitzgerald had an absolutely incredible season after being put on the Madden cover with Troy Polamalu. He finished the year playing every single game, catching 13 touchdowns, and making a Pro Bowl appearance.
Calvin Johnson (2013):
Megatron had perhaps the biggest shattering of the Madden curse as he broke an NFL record for receiving yards as he hauled in an absurd 1,964 yards on his way to an All Pro selection.
Tom Brady (2018):
Of course, if anyone can break the curse, it’s Tom Brady. Brady led the Patriots on another Super Bowl run, winning MVP in the process, in one of his finest years.
Patrick Mahomes (2020):
Mahomes beat all expectations of a Madden curse affecting him as he took the Kansas City Chiefs to the Super Bowl, cashing in on his first Super Bowl trophy.