“Madden” curse strikes again?

September 26, 2006

It looks like the infamous “Madden curse” has claimed another victim. Seattle Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander broke his foot in Sunday’s game against the New York Giants and will be warming the benches for at least two weeks.

Alexander, last season’s NFL MVP and cover athlete for “Madden NFL 07″, joins a growing list of players who have been injured or had a dismal season after having their likeness on the cover of the best-selling football game from Electronic Arts Inc.

Athletes poo-poo the curse, which some say has taken over where the so-called “Sports Illustrated jinx” left off.

Here’s a quote from Alexander, which was attributed to an August story in USA Today: “The way I look at it, if I was going to get hurt this year, being on the cover had nothing to do with it,” he said. “So if I was going to be hurt, I’d rather be on the cover than not on it.”

Here’s a list of prior “cursed” ”Madden” cover players, from an August 27 report in the Los Angeles Times:

2001: Eddie George of the Tennessee Titans, which went to the  Super Bowl the previous season but lost, bobbled a pass in a playoff game against Baltimore. The pass was intercepted by a Baltimore defender and returned for a touchdown. The Titans lost.
 
2002: Quarterback Daunte Culpepper sat out five games because of injury, and his Minnesota Vikings finished 5-11. 
 
2003: Running back Marshall Faulk suffered an ankle injury and failed to rush for 1,000 yards, and his St. Louis Rams finished 7-9, after having gone to the Super Bowl the previous season. 
 
2004: Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick broke his leg the day after the video game hit stores and ended up playing only five games.
 
2005: Linebacker Ray Lewis sat out a game because of injury, ended his season without a single interception, and his Baltimore Ravens failed to make the playoffs. 
 
2006: Donovan McNabb, quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, sat out the last seven games due to injury. The Eagles lost five of them and failed to make the playoffs.

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