Top 10 NFL Players Who Got the Worst Out of the Madden Cover Curse

The Top Ten
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... 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.

The Contenders
11 Antonio Brown Antonio Brown is a former 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... read more

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 Patrick Lavon Mahomes II (born September 17, 1995) is an American football player who is currently a quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League.

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... read more
25 Lamar Jackson
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