It should’ve been a big misnomer for the Detroit Lions NFL Betting odds to win the Super Bowl when Calvin Johnson graced the cover of Madden 13. Despite putting up an amazing amount of catches this season, Johnson has only scored one touchdown…and it was thrown to him by Shaun Hill. Still, Johnson isn’t the worst victim of this long standing tradition. Below are the actual Top-10 casualties of the Madden Curse.
(Note: The Madden years are off for whatever reason, meaning that Madden 13 is actually a reflection of the 2012 season. It’s been like that forever. I don’t know why. It just is. So keep that in mind when trying to get historical perspective on this.)
Before you get started, here are a couple names of guys that didn’t make the top-10 for various reasons. Obviously the biggest reason is so I don’t get chewed apart in the comments section for omitting them. I too have feelings.
Ray Lewis (Madden NFL 2005)
Lewis hurt himself in 2005, but was on the cover during the 2004 season so it doesn’t really count. For me, it’s not like “Oh this guy sucked three years later LOL”. Something awful had to happen to them the year they were on the cover.
Marshall Faulk (Madden NFL 2003)
By the time Faulk was on the cover of Madden, he had already had a brilliant career for seven seasons. With a Super Bowl, MVP and three NFL Offensive Player of the Year trophies in hand, it’s hard to say that 2004 was the downfall of his immense career…even though it was.
On to the actual top-10 casualties of the Madden Curse!
10. Drew Brees (Madden NFL 11)
Brees’ Super Bowl follow-up was a fine season where he once again posted 4,000+ yards for the fifth year in a row and had 33 touchdowns. Despite defending their title in the playoffs, the Saints always had mid-level odds to win the Super Bowl in 2010. As a wild card team in the playoffs, the Madden Curse reared its ugly head in the form of the even uglier Marshawn Lynch who turned in to Beast Mode to cause the biggest upset of the year on a glorious touchdown run where he mauled the entire defense. Oh, and then Bounty Gate ravaged the Saints two years later, and was based on evidence found during their playoff run in 2010.
9. Daunte Culpepper (Madden NFL 2002)
The former Viking gets a slight reprieve from the Madden Curse because it took longer to kick in. His 2001 season was the first glimpse of error, when he suffered a horrifying knee injury in Week 12 and missed the rest of the season. Culpepper is still responsible for the third best performance by any quarterback ever, when he threw for 4,717 yards and 39 touchdowns in 2004. Afterwards he totaled 5,555 passing yards over the next 5 seasons never reclaiming his form and also became known as Captain Madam of the S.S. Sex Cruise.
8. Shaun Alexander (Madden NFL 07)
Alexander was a monster for five straight seasons, scoring an average of 17.4 touchdowns a year, which included a 27 touchdowns in 2005. Then he got the cover of Madden and injuries plagued him as much as the loss of all-world left tackle Steve Hutchinson, who ended up playing for Minnesota. Alexander never crested 1,000 yards again after being on the cover of Madden, never scored more than 7 touchdowns in a season and never played in a full year ever again.
7. Donovan McNabb (Madden NFL 06)
As if running the worst two-minute drill in Super Bowl history the year before wasn’t bad enough, McNabb’s 2005 campaign was cut short when he threw a pick against the Cowboys and was blocked during the return. He injured his groin on the play and was put on injured reserve, and word started to leak out that McNabb was a bit of a dickhead. We never really saw the full extent of it until he started doing radio interviews as he canvassed for a job in the 2012 offseason.
6. Garrison Hearst (Madden NFL 99)
Hearst was never the greatest back in the league, but he was the first player ever to have the cover of Madden all to himself. His 1998 campaign was his best ever, where he ran for 1,570 yards and 7 touchdowns. The San Francisco 49ers had the best odds to win the Super Bowl that year, and Hearst was a big part of their plans. In the Niners’ first playoff game he rushed for another 128 yards as San Fran toppled the Packers. In the next game, however, Hearst broke his ankle and went on to miss two seasons thanks to complications in the post-surgery. Hearst never regained his Pro-Bowl form.
5. Vince Young (Madden NFL ‘08)
In his first two years, Young was electric throwing for 4,745 yards and 21 touchdowns though he also tossed 30 picks. His star was never brighter than before the 2007 season, where he became the Madden poster boy. In 2008, Vince threw for 219 yards and a touchdown before injury ended his season just three games in. He never fully regained his starting spot and is now bankrupt with zero NFL contract to show for all his hard work at just 29 years old.
4. Barry Sanders (Madden NFL 2000)
Sanders shocked the world when he retired from professional football prior to the 1999 season while acknowledging that a history of losing in Detroit had affected his ability to be happy. While he did walk away with his health, he also had to fork over nearly $7 million when the Lions sued him since he hadn’t lived up to his end of the contract. To that end, it probably would’ve been more fitting if the Madden NFL 2000 cover had a Detroit Lions fan with a paper bag over his head.
3. Peyton Hillis (2012)
Hillis arrived in Cleveland in 2010 and ran for 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns and eventually became the choice to grace the cover of Madden. He beat guys like Aaron Rodgers and Ray Rice in a fan vote, and was the only reason that the Browns had any remotely respectful odds to win the Super Bowl that season. Hillis proceeded to gain 587 yards and 3 scores in an injury plagued 2011 campaign. He was let go by Cleveland and picked up off the scrap heap by Kansas City, where he was quickly injured in the third game of this season.
2. Brett Favre (Madden NFL 09)
Everything went from awesome to annoying in 2008 when Brett Favre un-retired to become a New York Jet. He tore his bicep that year, crippling the Jets’ decent odds of winning the Super Bowl. Oh, and he texted pictures of his 40-year old penis to a young lady and those ended up all over the internet that year too. The nickname “Gunslinger” took on a whole new – and far more disgusting – meaning.
1. Michael Vick (Madden NFL 2004)
He blew up the league for two years before 2003, where he hit the cover of Madden, and then broke his leg in the preseason. Then he came back, became a tour-de-force once more and had his life completely derailed by a dog fighting scandal. Now he plays for the Eagles, who began with favorable odds to win the Super Bowl but have since crestfallen in to the gutter on the heels of four straight losses. Does it get any worse? Not really, aside from the fact that most of his problems being his own damn fault.