Home Sports Christian McCaffrey calls Madden curse ‘myth’ after being named cover athlete: ‘Whatever happens, happens’

Christian McCaffrey calls Madden curse ‘myth’ after being named cover athlete: ‘Whatever happens, happens’

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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 11: Christian McCaffrey #23 of the San Francisco 49ers watches during warmups prior to Super Bowl LVIII against the Kansas City Chiefs at Allegiant Stadium on February 11, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ryan Kang/Getty Images)

Christian McCaffrey was named the cover athlete for “Madden NFL 25” on Tuesday and he didn’t wait long to push his luck.

Talking with NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the San Francisco 49ers running back was asked if he was worried at all about the legendary “Madden Curse” when he accepted the offer to become a cover athlete. He didn’t seem very worried:

“No, I’m not at all superstitious about it. He was so excited, man. This was a great honor. When I first got the call, I was shocked. It’s something I never thought would happen to me. I never thought someone would call me and tell me I’m on the cover of Madden.

“So when I got the call, I wasn’t thinking about any curse words, I was just excited. I think that’s kind of a myth and whatever happens, happens. I’m excited to be on the cover.”

Given McCaffrey’s injury history, those are bold words.

McCaffrey ranks as the NFL’s top running back this offseason after leading the league in rushing with a career-high 1,459 rushing yards, plus 564 receiving yards and a career-high 21 total touchdowns in 2023. It has proven to fit perfectly. for the Niners, who took him to Super Bowl LVIII last season.

However, McCaffrey has struggled to stay healthy in the past, playing just 10 total games for the Carolina Panthers between 2020 and 2021. Could appearing on the cover of Madden lead to more problems?

Let’s take a closer look at how it worked for its predecessors.

Christian McCaffrey is not afraid of any curse. (Photo by Ryan Kang/Getty Images)

It’s undeniable that the history of “Madden NFL” has seen some of its cover athletes suffer years or worse in the following year.

There are certainly some examples that stand out, like Michael Vick (2003) breaking his fibula and Peyton Hillis (2012) battling strep throat and hamstring issues for a team that let him walk at the end of the year. But as you’ll see, the last 10 post-Madden seasons have had their ups and downs, so here’s a closer look.

To scale, we’ll use a five-point system named after Hillis, for whom the Cleveland Browns and assorted trolls pushed an online vote against a post-scandal Vick (probably much to the relief of Madden’s editor).

  • “Madden NFL 24”, Josh Allen: Had a relatively bad year with a career high in interceptions, the Bills won the division but lost to the Chiefs in the divisional round. 3/5 hills.

  • “Madden NFL 23”, John Madden: N/A

  • “Madden NFL 22”, Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes: Brady was slightly less productive in his final season at age 45, while Mahomes had another Pro Bowl year, upset the Bills in the “13 Seconds” game and lost to the Bengals in the AFC championship. 2/5 hills.

  • “Madden NFL 21”, Lamar Jackson: He played well, although not as well as his previous year as MVP. The Ravens got off to a slow start and dealt with a team-wide COVID-19 outbreak, but managed to clinch a wild card berth, where they got revenge on the Titans but were blown out by the Bills. 2/5 hills

  • “Madden NFL 20”, Patrick Mahomes:Won the Super Bowl. 0/5 hills.

  • “Madden NFL 19”, Antonio Brown: Had a decent year by his standards until he got into a fight with Ben Roethlisberger, was benched for missing practice in Week 17, and demanded a trade, the start of one of the strangest periods of time we’ve ever seen. of a player. 5/5 hills.

  • “Madden NFL 18”, Tom Brady: Won his third MVP award, led the NFL in passing, and reached the Super Bowl, where the Patriots lost to the Eagles via the “Philadelphia special.” 1/5 hills.

  • “Madden NFL 17”, Rob Gronkowski: He was ruled out for the season with a herniated disc in Week 12, and did not play a single down in the Patriots’ run to the Super Bowl. 4/5 Hillises, 5/5 if you don’t care about rings.

  • “Madden NFL 16”, Odell Beckham Jr.: Posted the most productive season of his career, with career-highs in receiving yards and touchdowns, although he was also suspended one game for safety violations while the Giants were 6-10. 1/5 hills.

  • “Madden NFL 15”, Richard Sherman: Earned his third consecutive first-team All-Pro honor and helped lead the Seahawks to the Super Bowl, where they lost to the Patriots in the Malcolm Butler game. You may remember that his shocked reaction went viral. 2/5 hills.

So it’s been kind of a mix. You could argue that most of the athletes on the last 10 Madden covers have suffered down years, but that’s also the nature of football. Players get injured and perform poorly, and their struggles are amplified by both Madden coverage and the expectations created by the type of seasons that lead to Madden coverage.

The thing about a lot of those seasons, even the bad ones, is that quite a few players would kill just to be able to call a season like Allen’s 2023, with 4,306 passing yards and an 11-6 record, a bad year. Everything is comparative, with very high standards, and in the end, it is very easy to call any season that does not end in a Super Bowl a failure.

So the curse will live on, unless there is an incredible run of success, fully ingrained in American sports and video game culture.

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