Updated on : November 24, 2022
One of the best NFL odds betting tips of all-time was to never wager on a player that appeared on the cover of Madden. Yes, the Madden Curse, much like the Sports Illustrated cover jinx, seemed to be a real thing for many years with cover athletes often getting injured or having poor performances in the years shortly after being the face of the popular video game.
There was one player who looked above all of this witchcraft, proving he was not only the G.O.A.T of quarterbacking but also of breaking curses and that’s Thomas Edward Patrick Brady, Jr. The 7X Super Bowl Champion, 5X Super Bowl MVP, and 3X NFL MVP is also a 2X Madden cover recipient and he seems just fine – or is he?
Having poor performances a year after being on the Madden cover isn’t just something that players like Dez White use as their excuse for not being named to the front of the game, “I didn’t want to be the cover athlete anyways, it will put my career in jeopardy.”
Many big-name players have suffered basically directly after being put on the Madden cover. Madden football has been around since the early 1990s, but people really started taking note of a potential curse with Daunte Cullpepper in 2002.
Culpepper was the cover athlete for Madden 2002 (2001 season) after throwing for 3,937 yards with 33 TDs in 2000 which was meaningful in Vegas NFL odds that season. During his cover season, he had 14 TDs to 13 INTs and had his season end early with a back injury going 4-7 in 11 games after being 11-5 the year before.
In 2004 Michael Vick broke his right fibula in the preseason a mere five days after his Madden cover was released. Vick threw 38 INTs in 2004-2006 after returning from his injury and then missed two whole seasons and spent 21 months in prison for his role in a dog fighting ring.
Shaun Alexander was on the cover of Madden 2007 (2006 season) after running for 1,880 yards in 2005 with 27 TDs. Alexander had missed just one start in his previous four seasons but after being on the cover of Madden he broke his foot and never again rushed for 1,000 yards – being out of the league within three years.
Troy Polamalu made the cover in 2010 and suffered two MCL injuries and played just five games that season. Adrian Peterson made the cover in 2014 and the next season was charged with reckless or negligent injury to a child. Madden uses a development engine called Frostbite, and 2019 cover athlete Antonio Brown missed time in his first preseason with the Raiders after his feet were frostbitten in a cryotherapy machine.
It took until Madden 18 for Tom Brady to be named the cover athlete, and many thought he’d be the true test of whether the curse was real. In that 2018 season, Brady threw for 4,355 yards with 29 TDs to 11 INTs as the Patriots went on to win Super Bowl LIII against the Rams in the best post-Madden cover season in history.
Brady never won another Super Bowl with New England, but he did get one in 2020 with Tampa Bay proving that Brady’s NFL lines are really good and he is nearly invincible.
2022 has been a whole different story for Brady though. He retired and seemingly got away from the Madden curse unscathed, but decided to return and press his luck after spending just 40 days with his family.
Brady’s wife Gisele Bundchen wasn’t happy with his return to football after just a 40-day retirement, and as a result, the couple announced their impending divorce. While a divorce can be hard enough, Brady also had to endure the crash and subsequent bankruptcy of crypto exchange FTX, where the couple had reportedly invested upwards of $650 million.
Brady, along with Steph Curry, Larry David, and other celebrities are now also being sued for promoting FTX, so not only did they lose their own money but now may have to help recoup others’ losses as well.
Brady has had some success after his two Madden covers, but eventually, the curse comes for everybody.