The 26th version of the Madden Series came out yesterday and with it comes the talk of “the Madden curse.” Since the first Madden was released on the MS-DOS system in 1988, there have been a total of 21 different players on the cover.
John Madden dominated the covers for well over a decade until 2001. Eddie George was the first athlete to get the cover and the first on my list of the 5 players to beat the Madden curse.
Eddie George (2001)
George had a beast of a season in 2000 with 1,962 total yards and 16 TD’s. This was George’s 5th season and 5th straight year over 100 yards rushing. The Titans made the playoffs this year but lost 24-10 to the eventual Super Bowl Champs and the next guy on my list, Ray Lewis from the Baltimore Ravens.
Ray Lewis (2005)
Ray Ray was the first defensive player to get his mug shot on the cover of Madden. In Lewis’s 9th season he had 147 tackles and made the AP All-Pro first team.
Larry Fitzgerald (2009)
Larry Fitzgerald shared the cover in 2009 with Troy Polamalu who definitely got a healthy dose of the Madden Curse. Polamalu sprained his MCL in the season opener and played in only four games after that. Fitzgerald had a career high 13 TD’s, caught nearly 100 balls and over 100 yards receiving. Maybe Madden should have two athletes every year…just saying.
Drew Brees (2011)
Brees marched his way to the cover after a dominating 2009 season that led to the Saints to their first Super Bowl victory. Brees threw for 4,610 yards and 32 touchdowns. The Saints did make the playoffs but were upset by the 7-9 Seahawks. You might remember this “Beast” of a play..
Calvin Johnson (2013)
“Megatron” had a monster year in catches (122) and yards (1,964) during his Madden Cover year. Too bad he played on the Lions who went 4-12 and marked their 21st season without a playoff win!
Barry Sanders (2014)
Last year Barry Sanders edged out Adrian Peterson for the cover. AP dodged the Madden curse and turned in another standard 1000+ rushing yards and 10 TD season.
This year again it was left to the fans. The final four was Cam Newton vs Andrew Luck and Richard Sherman vs Colin Kaepernick. Richard Sherman won out, much too my delight, since I am a Panthers Fan. Sherman did lobby unsuccessfully to have the entire Seahawks defense on the cover with him. My prediction is that he becomes the sixth person to beat the Madden Curse.
[Images via EA Sports]