The Madden Curse: Where Gaming, Football, and Superstition Collide

Gaming fans sample EA Sports Madden NFL 13 game on the second day of the E3 video game extravaganza in Los Angeles on June 6, 2012. Source: (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/GettyImages)

Named for legendary sports broadcaster, John Madden, EA Sports’ Madden NFL football video game is among the most popular sports-based video game franchises in history because of the realistic graphics, voice commentary, and players’ stats that have been built into the game. Beginning in 1998, EA Sports started selecting one of the NFL’s best players to appear on the cover of that season’s version of Madden NFL. At first, this was viewed as a complimentary honor, much like appearing on a Wheaties box. But in the twenty years since, only a few players that appeared on the cover of Madden NFL were able to finish the season. Many believe the Madden Curse, as it became known, is responsible for season-ending injuries and bad luck for the players selected for the cover so they go to great lengths to avoid falling victim to it. Here is a look at the Madden Curse.