The Madden Curse is something no New England Patriots fan wants to hear right now. Since 1999, players have been on the cover of the game. The Madden Curse is the belief that players put on the Madden NFL football video game always get hurt or end up having horrible seasons. With Patriots quarterback Tom Brady recently named Madden 18’s cover player, will the curse continue? Brady doesn’t think so. Here are five times the curse proved to be true.
The Madden Curse: 5 Times the Curse Proved to be True
5) Madden 1999: Garrison Hearst
Madden 1999 was the first year players graced the cover of John Madden’s NFL video game. Garrison Hearst, a running back on the San Francisco 49ers, was given the honor to be the first athlete on the cover. In the 1998 season, his rookie year, Hearst set franchise records for yards in a season. He was projected to be the next great running back in the league. In the season following the announcement of Hearst being on the cover of Madden NFL, he carried his team to the second round of the playoffs, where the Madden curse struck and he suffered horrendous ankle injury. The surgery to fix his broken ankle result in the death of a bone in the ankle region, causing him to miss the next two seasons completely. He was never the same.
4) Madden 2003: Marshall Faulk
In the 2002 season, Marshall Faulk was one of the best running backs in the league. Playing for the St. Louis Rams, he carried them to a Super Bowl win in 2000, and had a huge amount of rushing and receiving yards in his short lived career. After the announcement that he would be on the cover of Madden, the Madden curse struck, and he never again ran for more than 1,000 yards. His stats continued to decline each season. In 2006, he suffered a knee injury, which ended his career at the age of 32.
3) Madden 2007: Shaun Alexander
Shaun Alexander, running back on the Seattle Seahawks, is another prime example of the Madden curse. In 2005, he became the first running back in NFL history to record 15 touchdowns in five consecutive seasons. He was also named the leagues MVP, and took Seattle to the Super Bowl (where they lost). In 2006, following the announcement that he would grace the cover of Madden, the curse struck again. In week three, he suffered a broken foot. During the 2007 season, he suffered a fractured wrist, and sprained ankle and knee. These injuries led to the Seahawks cutting the running back in 2007.
2) Madden 2012: Peyton Hillis
Peyton Hillis, a name forgotten by most, was a running back for the Cleveland Browns. In the 2010 season, Hillis came of the bench, and ran for an outstanding 1,177 rushing yards and 477 receiving yards. After the seasons conclusion, top talent scouts considered him to be an elite back. Comparisons to Marshall Faulk in his prime were made. Following the announcement that he would be on the cover of Madden, Hillis became injury prone. Strep throat and a lingering hamstring injury caused him to only play 10 games that season, running for only 587 yards. The Browns decided not to re-sign him following his weak year, and he never ran over 300 yards in a season again.
1) Madden 2017: Rob Gronkowski
Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski, super star tight end for the New England Patriots, took the league by storm. He was the league’s most dominant and productive tight end. In the 2015-2016 season, he scored ten touchdowns for New England, with 1,018 total yards. Voters selected Gronk to his fourth Pro-Bowl. Following the announcement of the new Madden cover, he missed the first few games due to a hamstring injury. In his first few games back, he only played for a few plays, as the Patriots did not want to risk re-injury.
In week 11, he was on the wrong end of a brutal hit. Gronk suffered a pulmonary contusion. He came back from the injury after two weeks, where he received a season-ending back injury. The Patriots will watched him closely next season. Will he be able to bounce back from the Madden curse? Only time will tell.
FOXBORO, MA – SEPTEMBER 10: Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots celebrates his third touchdown of the game with Julian Edelman #11 against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium on September 10, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)