1 Vince Young
Vincent Paul Young, Jr. is a former American football quarterback who played in the National Football League for six seasons.
It was too soon for him to be on the cover. It's probably the definition of a sophomore slump for Madden.
2 Peyton Hillis
Peyton Derek Hillis is a former American football fullback and running back who played in the National Football League.
I remember thinking in 2012, Why? I had a feeling this guy would have bad luck.
3 Marshall Faulk
Marshall William Faulk is a former college and professional football player who was a running back in the National Football League for twelve seasons.
After being on the cover, he was not the same. His yards kept decreasing as he got hurt that year.
4 Donovan McNabb
Donovan Jamal McNabb is a former American football quarterback who played in the National Football League for thirteen seasons.
Where did he end up going? You guessed it: the Redskins. Not a good way to end your career.
5 Shaun Alexander
Shaun Edward Alexander is a former American football running back who played for the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins of the National Football League.
Shaun Alexander went from being a record-setting machine to average in one season.
In my opinion, he was the greatest Seattle RB in history, but that season he had a career-ending injury, and that sucks.
6 Troy Polamalu
Troy Aumua Polamalu is a former American football strong safety who played his entire twelve-year career for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League.
After the Super Bowl vs. the Cards, he was not the same. He kept getting injured, and that was the end for Polamalu.
7 Michael Vick
Michael Dwayne Vick (born June 26, 1980) is a former American football quarterback who played 13 seasons in the National Football League, primarily with the Atlanta Falcons and the Philadelphia Eagles. He played college football at Virginia Tech and was selected by the Falcons as the first overall pick in the 2001 NFL Draft. During his six years with the Falcons, Vick was regarded as having transformed the quarterback position with his rushing abilities and was named to three Pro Bowls. He holds the record for the most career rushing yards by a quarterback (6,109) and the most rushing yards by a quarterback in a season (1,039). ...read more.
Despite that one year with the Eagles, when he was with the Falcons he had a decent rookie season. Then the curse appeared. He got hurt, killed dogs, and somehow plays in the NFL again?
8 Adrian Peterson
Adrian Lewis Peterson is an American football running back who originally played for the Minnesota Vikings and currently plays for the Washington Redskins of the National Football League.
You're saying, What? But Barry was on the cover too. Yes, but Peterson was on the cover of the PS4/XB1 game of Madden 25, and what did he do? He abused his kid, played one game, and got suspended.
9 Dorsey Levens
Originally, Sanders was going to be on the cover, but he retired the following year. It ended up being this guy, and he blew his knees.
10 Garrison Hearst
The first victim of the Madden curse, enough said.
11 Antonio Brown
Antonio Brown is an NFL wide receiver and for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFC South Division. He was drafted in the 6th round of the 2010 draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers, and has also been on the Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots. He is a 7x pro bowler, and regarded as a skilled player.
Despite having a good season, he also was involved in a lot of drama with the Steelers in that 2018 season, which led to missing the playoffs. The following season, he was signed to both the Raiders and the Patriots, got cut twice, and only played one game with no guaranteed pay. The curse wins in this case. Good luck getting back in the league now.
12 Daunte Culpepper
Daunte Rachard Culpepper is a former American football quarterback. He last played for the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the United Football League.
The fact that a 6'4", 270 lb Pro Bowl quarterback who could pass and run, and broke Dan Marino's single-season yards record, is being compared to Teddy Bridgewater is evidence enough that Culpepper needs to be higher on this list. The curse destroyed his season and his legacy.
He was today's Bridgewater before Bridgewater ever came to Minnesota. Anyway, he had a promising start. Then he had a very disappointing season while on the cover that year.
13 Odell Beckham Jr.
Odell Beckham Jr. is a NFL wide receiver, playing for the Los Angeles Rams. He is most-known for making an incredible one-handed catch against the Dallas Cowboys. Beckham was drafted 12th overall to the New York Giants.
I know it's too soon. I just don't like the vibe I'm getting with this guy. Yes, he made that amazing catch, but if this guy gets injured, I won't say I told you so.
Update: His actions cursed him, so there you go. His action cost his team the playoffs.
14 Patrick Mahomes
Legitimately the first player ever to defeat the Madden curse.
15 Brett Favre
Brett Lorenzo Favre is a former American football quarterback who spent the majority of his career with the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League.
Kind of hard to say, but that year with the Jets, he had offseason issues.
16 Eddie George
Edward Nathan George Jr. is a former college and professional American football player who was a running back in the National Football League for nine seasons.
Injuries caught up to him. He had never had an injury before, then he was on the cover and that was it.
17 Richard Sherman
Richard Kevin Sherman is an American football cornerback for the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League.
I'll give him credit: he endured the pain. But did he help his team? Nope, he lost in the end to the Pats, therefore technically cursed.
18 Larry Fitzgerald
Larry Darnell Fitzgerald Jr. is an American football wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League.
Fitzgerald was drafted 3rd overall to the Arizona Cardinals in 2004, he is considered to be one of the best players of his position to never win a Super Bowl.
He has slowly gotten worse over the last five years. Yeah, he had a good season during his Madden run, yet ever since Warner left, he has looked like a #2 WR over there.
19 Ray Lewis
Raymond Anthony Lewis Jr. is a former American football middle linebacker who played his entire 17-year career for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League.
This one is kind of an oddball: yes, he got hurt that year, and it's questionable how he did towards the end of his career.
20 Drew Brees
Drew Christopher Brees is an American football quarterback for the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League.
He is the only player to have back to back to back 5,000 yards in three seasons straight. Brees also has the all time best completion percentage with 66.95%.
Now, I'll give him credit: he is still very consistent, reaching 5,000 yards. When it came to losing to a weak Seahawks team (at the time), that told me the curse struck again.
21 Calvin Johnson
Calvin Johnson Jr. is a retired American football wide receiver who played his entire career for the Detroit Lions of the National Football League. He is often called the nickname ''Megatron'' for his rare combination of size, speed, and leaping ability on the field.
Probably the only player to survive the curse, but not his team, unfortunately. Update: Two years later, he retired out of the league, like Barry Sanders. History repeats with the Lions.
22 Rob Gronkowski
Robert Paxton Gronkowski, nicknamed "Gronk," is an American football tight end for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League.
After retiring at the end of the 2018 NFL Season, Gronkowski came out of retirement to play with former Patriots teammate Tom Brady for the 2020 NFL season.
Our newest addition is soon to have either a down year or his team won't do so well.
23 Terrell Owens
Terrell Eldorado Owens is an American football wide receiver who played for the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, and Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League.
For the Hall of Fame edition, sure, but who's going to be the next victim is the question?
24 Tom Brady
Thomas Edward Patrick Brady, Jr., is a retired American football quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League. Brady is known for being the only quarterback in history to win 7 Super Bowls, and was often considered one of the best quarterbacks of all time. Brady was also frequently considered to be the biggest steal in NFL history as a late 6th round pick.
He had previously played for the New England Patriots from 2000 to 2019.
25 Lamar Jackson