Lion's fans all around the world know that Calvin Johnson is now a serious contender for the Madden cover, unfortunately we also know of the so called Madden "curse". Because of the curse many fans have exclaimed our displeasure to have Calvin Johnson on the cover of the #1 selling sports game in the US and 5th overall disregarding genre. It seems to me that we act as though we always hit a red light. In other words, we only remember hitting the red lights and never the green ones which makes us think we are doomed to wander our days hitting red lights. So, the continuation of this post is to focus on the "green lights" of the Madden covers.
1998 Garrison Hearst: 1570 yards rushing and 7 touchdowns from which he averaged 5.1 yards per carry.
Reason for the curse, broke his ankle in the playoffs and surgery complications. If you believe in this as a curse I don't know what to say. All three of our running backs were injured last season and none of them were even close to gracing the Madden cover. Best and Leshoure's injuries could result in greater consequences than Hearst's injury. Hearst came back winning the comeback player of the year award not once but twice.
2000 Dorsey Levens
Guy came off a 1034 yard season with a 3.7 yard per carry average and made the cover and we are calling this a curse? Granted in 1997 he ran for 1435 yards but that was on a Super Bowl contending Packer's team which won it all the year before with Dorsey have little impact.
2001 Eddie George
Green light by counter positive. Up until the 2001 season Eddie George was averaging below 4.0 yards per carry. This was due to the absurd amount of work he was doing which could have foresought his down year. Want to see the numbers? Okay here you go. In 1996-335 carries, 1997-357 carries, 1998-348 carries, 1999-320 carries, 2000-403 carries, and in 2001 he carried the ball 315 times.
2002 Daunte Culpepper
Give a quarterback Randy Moss and Chris Carter...and then taketh away...
2003 Marshall Faulk
Marshall played in 14 games each of the previous 2 seasons before he was on the Madden cover. So it was nothing new if he didn't make it the full 16. In the 2002-03 season he only played in 10 games but still averaged 4.5 yards per carry and totaled 953 yards rushing.
2004 Michael Vick
Are we really going to blame his actions on a game cover? If we did, everything turned out for the better.
2005 Ray Lewis
Lewis totaled 147 tackles and made the pro-bowl. His curse was not getting an interception for the first time in his career? Oh, but he got injured the next year and only played six games. Look at Culpepper's stats the next 4 years after he appeared on Madden versus the next 4 years that Lewis played after appearing on the cover. This method is the only fair way to see if there is a curse. Not by picking and choosing bad spots in a career.
2006 Donovan McNabb
Yep, McNabb my favorite player growing up got injured during his Madden season and only played in 9 games during the 2005-06 campaign. I doubt that the Eagles train wreck of a season was caused purely because of McNabb's injury. Looking back, I'm sure the Owens-Westbrook-Reid had something to do with it also.
Eagles 2004-2005 injury list
Last time I checked none of these players were on the Madden cover.
2007 Shaun Alexander
People always mess this one up. The Madden stats are based off the previous year. So Madden 2007 is based largely off the the 2006-2007 campaign and likewise the 2008 Madden cover is the 2007-2008 season. I digress, Alexander ran for 896 yards in the 2006-2007 season and made the cover. So unless the Madden Gods met with Dr. Brown and ate some crumpets I don't see how anyone could say the Madden cover knew in advance that Alexander was going to appear on the 07' cover so they punished him a year early.
2008 Vince Young
see Michael Vick* also see that they are on the same team, also see that McNabb is on this list...also notice how they all can't stay healthy...also etc etc.
2009 Brett Favre
Your argument is invalid.
Polamalu never stays healthy. His style is reckless and flat out insane, which is why he is the best safety in the game. (Notice how I made that rhyme?) The previous 3 seasons before his cover debut, Troy missed a total of 8 games. This is how Madden cursers view it to make their argument. What you'd miss though is that Troy always was fighting off an injury bug during those seasons.
Fitzgerald is the player I wanted to end on as he plays the same position and is of similar character. In 2009, Fitzgerald set a personal best 13 touchdowns to go along with 97 receptions and 1092 yards receiving. Larry led the league in touchdown receptions that year but of course everyone will focus on his yardage production which through a receiver's career will oscillate dramatically season to season.
The Madden curse isn't a curse. As they say relation does not mean causation. Just because appearing on a cover of some game doesn't make you injury prone or your team suck. Instead look at the type of players that have appeared on the cover: running backs, quarterbacks, safeties all positions of high risk and since they are all stars high usage. According to NFLplayers.com 64% of all players suffer an injury throughout the season. I'd imagine running backs are somewhere in the high 80s. Other "curses" can be blamed on a complete lack of maturity, directly (Young, Vick), or indirectly (Owens). If CJ has a down year who cares, we can jack his stats up in Madden, this is a guy who deserves it as do all Lion's fans.