The 'Madden Curse' May Be Claiming Another Victim

John Madden

Photo: EA Sports

Do you believe in curses?If you’re a Red Sox fan, you did. If you’re a Cubs fan, you still do.

And if you’re a fan of one of the “lucky” players to grace the cover of EA Sports’ Madden video game series, you know all too well about the “Madden Curse.”

It’s been over a decade since John Madden relinquished his grasp as the face of his video game. Year after year, NFL superstars are chosen to be the face of the popular video game franchise.

And, year after year, said superstar’s subsequent season ends in disaster.

The curse may have struck again, as Peyton Hillis is struggling to start the 2011 season and may even be on the trading block.

Is the curse real? Take a look at the evidence.

2000: Barry Sanders - Detroit Lions

One of the NFL's all-time greatest rushers, Sanders unexpectedly retired just one week before the season. An incredible career ended quicker than one of his signature cutbacks.

2001: Eddie George - Tennessee Titans

The bruising back had an impressive season, but had a critical fumble as his top-seeded Titans fell to Baltimore in the first round of the playoffs.

2002: Daunte Culpepper - Minnesota Vikings

Culpepper struggled tremendously all season. He had just a 14:13 touchdown to interception ratio before suffering a season-ending knee injury.

2003: Marshall Faulk - St. Louis Rams

An ankle injury cost Faulk two games that season and bothered him in the games he did play. He failed to ever rush for 1,000 yards again. And just like that, the 'greatest show on turf' collapsed.

2004: Michael Vick - Atlanta Falcons

Just one day after the game's release, the elusive quarterback broke his leg in a preseason game. He missed 11 games that season. And we all know what happened in the following years.

2005: Ray Lewis - Baltimore Ravens

The fiery linebacker broke his wrist that season, costing him a regular season game. It was also his first year without an interception.

2006: Donovan McNabb - Philadelphia Eagles

A sports hernia cost McNabb seven games that season. It also ended his 5-year Pro Bowl streak. He hasn't been to Hawaii since. But he has bounced around to Washington and Minnesota.

2007: Shaun Alexander - Seattle Seahawks

The reigning MVP fractured his foot and missed six games. He never again rushed for even 900 yards in a season. Alexander was out of the league just three years later.

2008: Vince Young - Tennessee Titans

Young temporarily bucked the trend, leading his Titans to the playoffs. But he's struggled ever since, and finally fell out of favour in Tennessee. He's now a glorified backup in Philadelphia.

2009: Brett Favre - New York Jets

The Madden cover needed a jersey change after Favre was traded to the Jets. A strong start to the season dissolved as the Jets lost four of their last five games and missed the playoffs.

2010: Troy Polamalu - Pittsburgh Steelers / Larry Fitzgerald - Arizona Cardinals

Fitzgerald evaded the curse, registering a 1,000 yard season. The same couldn't be said for Polamalu. Knee injuries limited the safety to just five games and the Steelers failed to reach the playoffs.

2011: Drew Brees - New Orleans Saints

Brees had a strong season -- up until the defending Super Bowl MVP got steamrolled by Marshawn Lynch and the Seattle Seahawks in the first round of the playoffs.

2012: Peyton Hillis - Cleveland Browns

Following a career year, Hillis has rushed for just 211 yards in four games. He's already been under scrutiny for missing a game with strep throat. And now there are rumours the Browns are looking to deal him.

Speaking of's a pretty cool game

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