But the glory of the cover comes with a staggering cost: with very few exceptions, every cover athlete since has succumbed to injury or put up terrible numbers in the season to follow.
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After landing the Madden cover remember, Madden jumps a year ahead in its numbering system , Culpepper missed the last five games of the season with a knee injury and the Vikings went In his cover season, Faulk missed two games to injury which wasn't uncommon for him , but his effectiveness when healthy was severely diminished. He failed to reach 1, yards rushing for the first time in five seasons and scored 10 fewer total touchdowns.
Vick didn't even make it to the regular season before the Madden curse struck. In a preseason game against the Ravens, Vick broke his fibula and missed the first 11 games of the year. Ray Lewis bucked the curse for the most part, despite putting up below-average numbers considering his standards.
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He had zero interceptions for the first time in his career, and missed one game due to a late-season wrist injury. McNabb responded by picking up a sports hernia is week one that would dog him all year, before bowing out for the season in Week 9 with a groin injury courtesy of the Dallas Cowboys.
The Eagles went on to finish the season , which in retrospect was the beginning of the end McNabb era in Philadelphia. In his cover year, Alexander broke his foot in week 3 and missed six games, and he would only play two more years in the league.
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Young missed only one game to injury, but put up nasty looking numbers all year. He finished with nine touchdowns and 17 interceptions, but this might not have been the curse's fault: Vince Young just isn't very good. The end of the decade was a bit of a rough patch for EA, as you can see. They put a "retired" Favre on the cover, only for Brett to come back star in a sit-com called "The New York Jets.
Madden 10 mixed up the cover formula, featuring two players from the Super Bowl. Okay, so it SEEMS like Drew Brees was invulnerable to the Madden curse he threw for 4, yards and 33 touchdowns , but this was the year the curse did its most dastardly work see: New Orleans Saints bounty scandal.
Peyton Hillis was the feel-good breakout star of and was voted by fans for the cover of Madden He endured a miserable cover year, gaining less than half his rushing yard total the year before, and left Cleveland for Kansas City. The good news is , Johnson's body seems to be incorruptible. He stands 6-foot-5, weighs pounds and ran a 4. He's only missed four games in five full NFL seasons.
So could be the curse be that the featured players get injured and miss a lot of games the next season? For all 16 players who have been on the cover since , I gathered the number of games they played the season before being on the cover, and the number of games they played after.source url
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You can follow along by getting the data here. Don't already have Minitab? You can get a day trial version. We see that on average, players played about 2 fewer games the season after being on the cover for Madden.
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So is the curse true? The only other players besides Vick to play in fewer than 10 games after being on the cover were Troy Polamalu 5 games in and Donovan McNabb 9 games in On the flip side, 10 of the 16 featured players played in at least 14 games the next season. And keep in mind that EA is not going to put anybody on the cover of Madden who was injured the previous season. Fifteen players played in at least 13 games the season before being on the cover, and 10 of them played all So yes, players are playing fewer games the season after being on the cover. Assessing this becomes a little tricky because the players on the cover play a variety of positions, including two defensive players.
So we need a statistic that can represent the value of players at different positions. I took each player's AV the season before they were on the cover and the season after.
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Then I did another paired t-test. There is a difference of almost 5, and this difference is statistically significant since the p-value is less than 0. In comparison, Bills receiver Steve Johnson had a 9 last year, and 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree had a This means there is a curse! Players on the cover of Madden perform worse the season after being on the cover.
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There is proof that the curse exists! Almost the exact same thing! The only season that stands out is the one directly before they were chosen to be on the cover of Madden. Now the curse makes sense. Think of a roulette wheel where half of the spaces are black, and the other half are red. This is regression to the mean. We would just expect the results to return to the average, which is 8 red and 8 black.