January 21, 2013

Has The Madden Curse Been Lifted?

Among dedicated sports gamers, there is a legend that has been passed down for generations. It is a tale that tells of a curse that has crippled many men. But, this year, it seems that one player has resisted the binding spell.

The National Football League’s season will be drawing to a close in a few weeks with the NFC and AFC championship games yesterday and the Super Bowl coming up February 3rd. But during the off-season, there’s one savior to keep football fans from going into withdrawal: The Madden NFL series. Electronic Arts’ Madden games are the only official NFL games still being made ever since the NFL signed an exclusive contract with EA Sports in 2004. These games are loved and adored by fans of the series, but there is always a dark cloud looming over those who grace the cover of the games.

I’m talking about the Madden Curse. Ever since the early 2000’s, the Madden series has featured players who played outstanding seasons on the cover of the box. While this is considered a great honor, it comes at a great cost. Starting with Barry Sanders in 2000, every player featured on a Madden cover since then has either been injured or suffered a significant loss in productivity the next season. Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals is the only one to escape this fate. But, he shared Madden 10’s cover with the Steelers’ Troy Polamalu, who only played 5 games that season with a knee injury. This strange superstition has been given the name ‘the Madden Curse’ by fans of the series.

Now, it seems that the mascot for Madden ’13 has resisted the Madden Curse. Calvin ‘Megatron’ Johnson, receiver for the Detroit Lions, walked out of the 2012-2013 season in good shape. In fact, Johnson made a mockery of the curse by playing the best season of his career. He recorded an all-time receiving record of 1,964 yards, beating Jerry Rice’s previous NFL record of 1,848 yards. He also became the second player in NFL history to record 700 yards in one month, the first being Charley Hennigan of the Houston Oilers in 1961, over 50 years ago. Megatron definitely wasn’t hindered by the curse, but was it truly broken?

Despite all of these successes Johnson has had this season, there are some who could still argue he didn’t break the curse. The whole season he has been suffering from knee and ankle injuries, but has been able to play with them. Now, he’s missing the Pro Bowl game next Sunday because of these injuries, and will be replaced by Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Vincent Jackson. There is a chance he may be going into off-season surgery.

To recap, Calvin Johnson gets put on the accursed cover of Madden ’13. He goes into the 2012-13 season and breaks an all-time record for receiving yards, but was still injured the whole time. Some people argue that his success despite his injury even further broke the curse, while others believe his injury meant that the curse is still alive. What do you think? Did he break the curse? Or just get lucky enough not to be severely affected? Leave a comment, tell me what you think!

Image Credit: s_bukley /

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