(April 14, 2011) --- The Green Bay Packers are in panic mode. And so are some of their fans.
After three rounds of voting and the elimination of 28 players so far, Aaron Rodgers is one of four NFL athletes still alive in the "Madden NFL 12" tournament to determine who will grace the cover of the next edition of the popular video game.
The History of the 'Madden Curse'
Although it was at first intended to be an honor, appearing on Madden’s video game box-art has turned into more of a horror. Much like the Sports Illustrated cover jinx, players who appear on Madden NFL have eerily experienced a decline in performance, injuries or just plain bad luck. Here’s a look at the athletes who have appeared on the boxes and what happened to them since getting whammied by John.
Madden NFL 2003
Running back Marshall Faulk suffered a big financial set-back after his Madden debut when his agent accidentally omitted the word “million” when writing up his contract for the St. Louis Rams which resulted in Faulk earning a total of only $43.95 over seven-years.
Madden NFL 2004
Of all the athletes to appear on Madden’s cover, no one’s career went to the dogs quicker than Michael Vick, and he's still suffering from the curse today. Aside from keeping him on a very short leash, it turns out the Atlanta Falcons have been paying their quarterback in kibble.
Madden NFL 2005
It took just months after appearing on the video game cover for Ray Lewis’s life to go from bad to worse. Still today, every time an NFL game goes into “sudden death,” law enforcement authorities immediately consider the Baltimore linebacker as their prime suspect.
Madden NFL 2006
Ever since his appearance on Madden, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb has been in intense daily therapy battling depression. He’s still trying to get over the fact that he was once replaced in a regular season game by A.J. Feeley.
Madden NFL 2007
The morning after his face appeared on the cover of the NFL video game, Seattle Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander’s eyes bugged-out, his tongue began wagging uncontrollably while his head started spinning like a top. He may have been suffering the effects of the “Madden Curse” but it did help him get the leading role in the new film “Exorcist IV: The NF Hell.”
Madden NFL 2008
After a stellar 2007 season, Tennessee QB Vince Young’s career seemed to disappear... literally. In September of 2008, just before taking a snap during the 3rd quarter of a game against the Jaguars, there was a giant puff of smoke as Young spontaneously combusted, vanishing into thin air. All that was left behind was a mysterious powder blue-colored globule on the football. Incidentally, the Titans other hex was successfully removed last January when the team finally expelled Randy Moss.
Madden NFL 2009
Brett Favre appeared on the Madden cover under the impression he was retiring from football, but then decided to unretired into the New York Jets line-up and Jenn Sterger’s cell-phone. Although he immediately went on to lead the league in throwing interceptions, the bigger shame came when football fans got a look at his other shortcomings.
Madden NFL 2010
The season after Troy Polamalu and his giant head-of-hair graced the Madden cover, the Pittsburgh Steelers safety suffered a major set-back in his personal life when he was diagnosed with a wicked case of split-ends.
Madden NFL 2011
In the months since Drew Brees landed on front of Madden’s video game box last year, the cute little mole he’s always had on the right side of his cheek has become a bit more prominent since the curse took effect. In fact, it’s growing so fast now that the New Orleans Saints equipment manager expects to fit the mole with its own helmet by the start of the 2011 NFL season.