Wednesday, 24th July 2019

The Madden Curse

Posted on 02. Feb, 2011 by FSM Staff in Highlight, NFL

The Madden Curse

As NFL fans from around the globe patiently wait for the Super Bowl this month, they are killing time by talking trash and debating football pop-culture. With Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints taking an early flight out of the Playoffs this season, discussion of the “Madden Curse” has sparked up between amigos yet again.

For those readers out there who know not of the curse or its wicked ways, all will be revealed if you keep reading (and click some Google ads while you’re at it). John Madden is a legendary personality in the history of the NFL as a coach and broadcaster. He is also filthy stinkin’ rich thanks to the tremendously successful video game franchise “Madden”. For the last ten years or so, there has been a different NFL superstar on the cover of the latest edition of the game. And for the last ten years or so, that superstar usually has some bad luck with injuries and life in general after he has made the cover. Some say coincidence while others claim that higher powers are at play. Whatever the reason, most fans believe that the “curse” is on a player’s mind when he agrees to be on the Madden cover.

Much like the Swiss, FreeSportsMag does not have an official stance on the Madden Curse. While we do not formally recognize its existence, we acknowledge that something doesn’t smell quite right about the situation. Here is a list of NFL players that made the Madden cover in the last decade and a brief summary of life for them after the big photo shoot. You can decide for yourself if you believe in this curse…

2001 Eddie George – After appearing on the game cover, George and the Tennessee Titans crapped out of the 2001 NFL playoffs which doesn’t seem too bad. George also never averaged more than 3.3 yards per carry for the remainder of his career which is bad however.

2002 Daunte Culpepper – Making the cover in 2002, Culpepper led the Minnesota Vikings to a 5-11 season record. And as a special “curse” bonus, Culpepper set an NFL record for fumbles in a season. In 2005 and 2006 Culpepper suffered serious knee issues and he has never been the same since.

2003 Marshall Faulk – The season Faulk appeared on the Madden cover was the beginning of the end for him and the Super Bowl caliber St. Louis Rams. Faulk’s yards per carry declined for the next three seasons until he retired due to knee problems.

2004 Michael Vick – Vick barely made it to the 2004 season. He broke his leg during a meaningless pre-season game which caused him to miss the first 12 meaningful games of the real season for the Atlanta Falcons. Vick would later get in trouble with the law and go to prison for his role in illegal dog fighting. But more recently, Vick resurrected himself with the Philadelphia Eagles making the Pro Bowl this season. Is this evidence the curse can be lifted?

2005 Ray Lewis – Ray Lewis survived the curse for the first 14 games of the 2005 NFL season but his streak ended with a week 15 wrist injury. Lewis also finished the season without an interception for the first time in his career. All other cover models considered, Lewis got off relatively easy. He is still an all-pro middle linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens and shows no signs of slowing down. Some would even argue that he is getting away with murder. We just think the curse is scared of him.

2006 Donovan McNabb – McNabb suffered a season ending ACL injury to his right knee after he made the cover for the 2006 season. The Philadelphia Eagles ultimately unloaded McNabb by trading him to the Washington Redskins which has been a wasteland of fading stars in the past few years.

2007 Shaun Alexander – After being named MVP the previous season, Alexander fought a foot injury causing him to miss six starts during the 2007 campaign. Alexander would never regain his MVP form and eventually found his way on to the Redskins much like his 2006 predecessor.

2008 Vince Young – Young did not have any severe injuries or bad luck after appearing on the Madden cover. He had a
decent season and it was not until more recently that injuries and personality differences with his head coach have caused his future with the Tennessee Titans to be in jeopardy.

2009 Brett Favre – A retired Favre made the 2009 cover in a Green Bay Packer uniform. Shortly after the game was released, Favre unretired and joined the New York Jets forcing EA sports to release an updated Madden cover online. The Jets started the season 8-3 but ended 9-7 and missed the playoffs. Favre led the NFL in interceptions that season with 22 while playing with a torn bicep for the final five games.

2010 Larry Fitzgerald / Troy Polamalu – Polamalu and Fitz were both featured on the 2010 edition of Madden thanks to the popularity of the Steelers/Cardinals Super Bowl game the previous season. It was the first time in the game’s history that two players were pictured on the same cover. Polamalu sprained his MCL during the first regular season game of the 2010 season and missed the next four games. He also missed games later in the season with a different ligament injury and the Steelers ended the 2010 campaign in a manner not befitting of champions. Larry Fitzgerald on the other hand was able to start all 16 regular season games and was voted in to the 2010 Pro Bowl.

2011 Drew Brees – After shocking the world by defeating the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl the prior year, Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints shocked the world again last month by losing in the first round of the playoffs to the undeserving 7-9 Seattle Seahawks. Many experts are calling it one of the biggest upsets in NFL playoff history.

Lights Out for Shawne Merriman

Posted on 15. Oct, 2010 by FSM Staff in General Sports, NFL

Lights Out for Shawne Merriman

Add Shawne Merriman to the list of superstars discarded by the San Diego Chargers. The announcement was made earlier this week that the Chargers have placed Merriman on the injured reserved list with a “minor injury” designation. NFL regulations require that players with this designation be released upon returning to full health.

The Chargers will have an opportunity to resign Shawne Merriman after his release though this scenario is highly unlikely. If management wanted to keep him in San Diego they would have never placed him on the IR to begin with. And even if the Chargers made the effort, would Merriman give them the time of day? Fans who are familiar with Merriman’s strong personality would tell you hell no.

This article is by no means written to defend Shawne Merriman. His multitude of injuries aside, Merriman has been plagued by issues off the field including problems with the law and steroid use. Not too many would argue that keeping him is more trouble than he is worth. This article is simply an observation that NFL teams these days are more willing to part with big name stars for very little or nothing in return.

Is it arrogance on the part of the Chargers that is the driving force behind the dissociation with talented players like LaDainian Tomlinson, Vincent Jackson, and Shawne Merriman? This perceived disloyalty definitely cannot be good for the business of attracting quality players down the road. No one wants to play for an organization with an itchy trigger finger.

For the present time, Merriman is taking everything in stride. In a statement released through his publicist, Merriman quite uncharacteristically let the football world know the following:

“I have been blessed to call San Diego my home for the past six years. I can’t say enough about my teammates, the coaching staff and of course the fans who have made my career with the Chargers such an amazing experience. I am approaching this situation as an opportunity to grow as a player and to bring my leadership and talents to a new organization. I am ready for the next chapter in my career and I am excited about the opportunity to continue my journey with a new team.”


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