The Blog Squad

Friday, April 25, 2008

Curses, Foiled Again

This should be interesting. Electronic Arts officially announced today that retired Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre will grace the front of Madden NFL 09.

Peter Moore, EA Sports president, discussed the move on his blog and the popular game's Facebook page reveals the new cover. Madden is scheduled to be released Aug. 12.

I’m in disbelief.

Why would Favre do this to himself?

For a man who has experienced a few tragedies in his life, he should know better than to bring such a thing into his home. I’m sure most people remember when his father died. Or when his wife battled cancer. Or when he admitted that he had an addiction to prescription pills. Oh, yeah, let’s not forget about Hurricane Katrina destroying his home.

And now this?

Why, Brett?

I thought you were going into retirement quietly. I thought you were going to ride an ATV around your property, find a perfect spot to lay back and watch the sky move.

This is a thrill you can do without.

Could it be you don’t believe?


Everyone believes in the Madden Curse.

Maybe you should talk with Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders about it. He was the first victim. Sanders was the 2000 cover boy. He was young, healthy and at the peak of his career. He was also one year away from breaking Walter Payton’s all-time career rushing record. Then he randomly retired. Nobody knows why. It’s even rumored that Sanders doesn’t really know the reason.

I do.

The Madden Curse.

Tennessee running back Eddie George was next. He had just completed a great year, rushing for 1,509 yards and 14 TDs. The cover year produced a drop of nearly 600 rushing yards, even though he played all 16 games. George was never the same and retired three years later at age 31.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Dante Culpepper’s year was 2002. He had thrown 33 TDs and rushed for 7 more the season before. His cover year produced a season-ending knee injury after 11 games.

St. Louis Rams running back Marshall Faulk put up some eye-popping stats. He was named to the 2003 cover after rushing for more than 1,000 yards in seven of eight seasons. He also had four consecutive years of 80-plus catches. His cover year produced nagging injuries and poor performances. He never reached the 1,000-yard rushing plateau again in his final four seasons and retired at age 32.

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick is perhaps the greatest player in Madden history. He donned the cover in 2004. Then he broke his fibula in the preseason and started just four games. The curse continued to bite Vick as he is now in prison serving time for dogfighting.

Baltimore Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis is considered one of the most dominant defensive forces to ever play. He had 121 tackles and six interceptions as the leader of a great defensive unit. He was rewarded the next season with the cover of Madden. He made 20 fewer tackles and didn’t record an interception. His team also missed the playoffs. Oh, yeah, Lewis was injured and was forced to sit out a game.

The cover boy for 2006 was Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb. The year before, he passed for 31 TDs, led his team to a 13-3 regular season record and a berth in the Super Bowl. What happened after the Madden Curse got him? He suffered a sports hernia after the first game. McNabb tried to play through it, but was eventually shut down after nine games. The Eagles fell to 6-10 and the following season, McNabb tore his ACL in the 10th game.

Seattle Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander was coming off an MVP season when he was put on the 2007 Madden cover. He then broke a bone in his foot and was limited to 10 games. Alexander was recently cut.

Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young thought he survived the curse. Not so fast. An injury forced him to miss his first game ever — high school, college and professional career. Experts have said Young also regressed in his play, throwing for 3 fewer TDs and 4 more INTs.

That brings us to the present. Maybe Brett thinks he’ll be immune to the Madden Curse since he’s not playing anymore. All I have to say is: Brett, stay off ladders.

OUT AT HOME: Does mocking the first round of the upcoming NFL draft make me a geek? My wife (proudly?) thinks so.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK: This is an interesting concept. It makes sports writers accountable.


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