It is believed that once a player agrees to be the cover athlete of the new Madden game each season, they have cursed their career. More often than not, cover athlete’s careers take a turn for the worst. I will be going through some of the worst cases of the madden curse since the franchise was released in 1999.
Madden 04 Michael Vick
The flashy dual-threat quarterback burst onto the scene for the Falcons in 2001. His quickness and playmaking abilities made him the perfect candidate for the 2004 Madden Cover athlete. Soon after the curse struck, Vick broke his fibula and missed 11 games the next season. Then in 2007, Vick was suspended and arrested for placing the family dogs into rings to fight trained pitbulls. After serving time in prison, Vick made a comeback with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009 but never performed at the level he did with the Falcons.
Madden 12 Peyton Hillis
There were little to no expectations for the fullback out of Arkansas. He was chosen with the 20th pick in the seventh round by the Denver Broncos. He came out of nowhere for the Browns in the 2010 NFL season, racking up 1177 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. In the following year, the curse struck. Hillis recorded half as many rushing yards and three touchdowns. After an unproductive year with the chiefs in 2012, he had one more stint with the Giants but was cut after only playing 16 games in two years at only 27 years old.
Madden 17 Rob Gronkowski
The season following his appearance as the Madden Cover Athlete Gronkowski was plagued with injuries. He suffered a pulmonary contusion and missed the remainder of the season. The once superstar Tight End has since retired and is out of football just three years later.
Madden 19 Antonio Brown
During the 2018 season, Antonio Brown was still the best wide receiver in football. There was only one problem: he was having some issues with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger who Brown believed wasn’t targeting him enough and not throwing to him on purpose. This resulted in a trade request and Brown was sent off to the raiders this offseason. Prior to the start of the 2017 NFL season, the NFL banned a series of helmets in an effort to make the game safer due to the high risk of concussions and head to head hits. Brown did not agree with the decision due to his helmet he’d worn for years being banned and refused to cooperate with the league standards. Brown skipped most of training camp until the league allowed for him to wear his old helmet for the rest of this season. Just when things may have been cooling down Brown was suspended and fined over 215,000 dollars for detrimental to the team. Brown was then released and shortly after picked up by the New England Patriots for 1 year 9 15 million dollars. Just 3 weeks later, Brown was accused of three incidences of sexual assault against a woman he attened college with who worked as his trainer. He was cut by the Patriots and is now out of the NFL, recently enrolling in Central Michigan University.