Superstition and sports have gone hand in hand for years with fans. Some fans always wear the same hat, some wear their socks inside out, but there is nothing more infamous in football fan legend than the “Madden Curse.”
The curse is based off the famous and extremely successful EA Sports John Madden NFL football videogame franchise. Since the PlayStation 2 era starting in 2001, every athlete to appear on the cover has been plagued with bad luck after.
Each year crazed NFL fans line up in front of Best Buy and Gamestop stores around the country at midnight to wait for the debut of the new Madden game. This year, the new “Madden NFL 13” has Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson on the cover and has many Lions fans secretly worried.
The curse first started with Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George. After being in the Super Bowl in 2000, George never returned to it after being on the cover of Madden NFL 2001 and he never averaged more than 3.4 yards a season.
Since then, every athlete to be on the cover faced either injuries or bad luck. A few of these athletes are Dante Culpepper, Michael Vick, Shaun Alexander and most recently Drew Brees, who was on the cover in 2011.
The season that Brees was on the cover, the Saints lost to the 7-9 Seahawks in the first round just a year after winning the Super Bowl.
Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis was on the cover of the 2012 version; he had only 587 yards that season, less than half from his previous season with 1,177 yards.
Eastern Michigan University’s Student Center, which has a wide gamer community locate in the E-zone, has many people thinking that Johnson will not be affected by the curse.
“I have been playing Madden for a good seven years of my life,” Ben Small said. “I have believed in the Curse before, like in 2003 with Marshall Faulk, but I think Calvin’s nickname fits him well. He is Megatron.”
Johnson earned his nickname from his giant frame of 6 feet 5 inches and amazing leaping ability. He had an All-Pro season last year with 16 touchdowns and 1,681 receiving yards. So far into this 2012 season, Johnson is first in receiving yardage with 369 yards, but only 1 touchdown on the year.
Another E-zone attendant who has been playing Madden for ten years, Jason Williams, has fond memories of the game.
“I remember playing 2005 with Ray Lewis on the cover and first using the hit stick and quarter back vision. I think Calvin is just too much of a physical freak, he is an incredible athlete and I don’t believe in curses,” Williams said.
Though the history of the Madden cover athletes has been scary, if anyone is able to pull through, it is Calvin Johnson.