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The Madden Curse
ON THE TRAIL OF THE MADDEN CURSE Truth, Lies, and Superstition
There is no urban legend in the world of modern video games as well-documented as the so-called “Madden Curse.”The curse revolves around the highly sought-after cover spot of the popular NFL video game “Madden NFL,” formerly known as “John Madden Football.”While the games date back to 1988, the curse is said to originate with the 1999 version. Garrison Hearst, a popular running back at the time, broke his ankle shortly after being featured on the cover of the 1999 edition. This was the first in a long line of injuries and personal issues that resulted in the rumor gaining traction. Soon, the idea
as coincidence. Despite the ambivalence of many players, there does seem to be a correlation between the cover and player issues. Of the 22 players who have been featured on the cover, 16 of them have suffered from significant issues in the season that followed. While the causes varied, with severe injuries, contract disputes, and personal issues all afflicting different players, something about the spotlight appears to have disturbed the powers that be. In fact, sometimes these issues occur shortly after the game is released in stores.
that the game’s seemingly innocent cover could have devastating effects on a player’s career was widespread. Once a substantial honor in the world of football, the Madden cover spot has become one of the sport’s most feared superstitions for fans.
Whatever the true cause, the curse seems to have taken a dip in recent years. Only one of the last five players has been affected, a stat that bodes well for this year’s star: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The real answer probably lies somewhere between fact and fiction. The increased pressure of national attention is bound to make players tense up every once in a while, and in a game as physical as football, any distraction can end in disaster.
The players, however, seem to find the correlation more amusing than scary. Most of the athletes in contention for the spot still consider it to be a great honor, choosing to brush off the rumors
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