The NFL season is upon us once more! And you know what that means: no more wasting your Sundays spending time bonding with your family or trying to better yourself. Why do that when you can watch millionaires throw a ball to each other? Well, in honor of the wonderful sport that only dominates headlines 11 months out of the year, let’s take a look at a football phenomenon you may not be aware of: the infamous Madden Curse.
Now you may be asking me, “What is the Madden Curse and why are you such a well-spoken and handsome writer?” Well, thank you for the flattery, and the Madden curse is a fascinating real-life theory connected to the classic Madden NFL video game series. Each year, the series chooses an athlete from around the league to appear on the game’s cover. It just so happens that, like some kind of cursed Egyptian amulet, this often leads to a bleak future for anyone who lends their likeness to the game.
You see, ever since Garrison Hearst graced the cover of Madden 1999, the series’ cover stars have been plagued with horrifying injuries, jail time, and throwing shoulder pads into stands. Which, unfortunately, you can’t do in the games. On the cover this year is Tom Brady, the Super Bowl-winning quarterback who spends his time off the field with his supermodel wife in his mansion in between modeling gigs. Which, unfortunately, you can’t do in the games.
One of the more recent instances of the Madden curse is Peyton Hillis, a running back for the Cleveland Browns who went from gracing the cover of Madden 2012 to getting caught in a vortex to a different dimension, never to be seen again. Which is another way of saying he continued playing for the Cleveland Browns.
And last year was no exception, with Patriots superstar and guy that looks like he could do an hour-long kegstand Rob Gronkowski suffering multiple injuries throughout the 2016 season, even forcing him to miss the Super Bowl. But, without even having to put on a jersey, he still won a championship, got paid a ton of money, and rode around in a party bus. And to think all I did after the Super Bowl was nurse an upset stomach.
But why does the Madden curse exist? Some say it’s simply due to the law of averages, as after a good season where you make the cover of Madden, you’ll likely be unable to repeat the same success the next year. Others would say it’s simply a coincidence, as players such as Calvin Johnson have had successful seasons after appearing on the cover. Or there’s the simplest explanation: it’s a real curse that won’t be solved until John Madden throws his cursed copy of Joe Montana Football for the Sega Genesis into a volcano. Let’s go with that.
Featured image: Capture from Madden 18 Teaser.