Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Madden Curse

Vince Young has the honor (horror?) of gracing the cover of Madden 08. A look at past coverboys, and how the dreaded Madden curse has affected them:

  • Barry Saunders/Dorsey Levens, Madden 2000: When original co-cover boy (with John Madden himself) Barry Sanders abruptly retired just before training camp in 1999, he was replaced by fellow star NFC Central running back Levens, in subsequent releases of the game. Levens' once-stellar career with the Green Bay Packers coincidentally started to go downhill in 1999.

  • Eddie George, Madden 2001: In a 2000-01 playoff game, George failed to catch a pass that was then intercepted and returned for a touchdown by the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens' Ray Lewis. His performance and durability also began to decline.

  • Daunte Culpepper, Madden 2002: Culpepper's 2001 season was cut short by a knee injury and his team, the Minnesota Vikings, suffered a losing season one year after making it to the NFC Championship Game.

  • Marshall Faulk, Madden 2003: Faulk injured his ankle during the 2002 season, and, after five consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons heading into the cover year, never again had one.

  • Michael Vick, Madden 2004: One day after the game released, Vick broke his right fibula during a 2003 preseason game, appearing in only the final five regular-season games, as the Atlanta Falcons, a 2002 playoff team with Vick starting at quarterback, went 5-11 in 2003.

  • Ray Lewis, Madden 2005: Limited with a wrist injury, Lewis finished the 2004 season without an interception as the Ravens failed to make the playoffs. (In 2003 the Ravens won the AFC North division and Lewis had six interceptions.)

  • Donovan McNabb, Madden 06: McNabb sustained a sports hernia and a groin injury during the 2005 season, ultimately electing to cut that season short by having surgery for the hernia - all the while engaged in a running feud with troublesome teammate Terrell Owens. All of these factors contributed to a disappointing season for the Philadelphia Eagles as they finished last in their divsion after a Super Bowl appearance the previous year.

  • Shaun Alexander, Madden 07: Coming off an MVP and Super Bowl trip, Alexander suffered a hairline fracture in his left foot forcing him to miss six games and fall short of a 1,000 yard rushing season.

  • Vince Young, Madden 08: No one will be surprised if a sophomore slump follows Young's impressive 8-3 record as a rookie starter. Throw in the fact that he is a scrambling quarterback, and an injury is sadly likely...