Well, it happened again. Now Pittsburgh Steelers fans throughout the country have one chubby, sadistic man to thank for potentially ruining their 2009 season. How did John Madden destroy a defense that no running back could get the better of for almost a decade in a matter of minutes?
Last night in the NFL season opener, Troy Polamalu left the Steelers opening game after sustaining a sprained MCL against the Tennessee Titans, making him the latest victim of "The Madden Curse."
The curse, which began back when Brett Favre was still a respected member of society and before Matt Millen spent every Monday morning cleaning garbage off the side of his house, has injured, threatened, and terrorized nearly every player that has appeared on the Madden cover.
Not sure just how much carnage the Madden curse has left in its wake? Take a look at all of John's victims over the years:
2000 - Barry Sanders is elected to be on the cover of Madden 2000. Days later he retires, sending the Detroit Lions into a decade-long losing spiral of Joey Harrington proportions.
2002 - Daunte Culpepper graces the cover of Madden before suffering a severe leg injury that had him miss five games and ultimately landed him in Detroit to serve as a 22-year-olds' back-up. Plus he seems to have developed some mild acne breakouts.
2003 - Marshall Faulk was plagued with ankle problems the year he was featured on the Madden cover, leading to the Rams missing the playoffs after two Super Bowl appearances. Conversely, Kurt Warner (who has never appeared on the cover) is still playing football at 81 years of age and coming off a stellar Super Bowl performance that Faulk had to watch from home.
2004 - John Madden didn't even wait for the regular season to strike, as coverboy Michael Vick broke his leg in the pre-season, ultimately missing 11 games. Plus several years later somebody stole his roll in the cafeteria line at his federal prison.
2005 - Ray Lewis (the only alleged murderer to be featured on the cover of Madden) went the entire season without sustaining an injury. Obviously this displeased Madden, so the following year Lewis tore his hamstring and missed 10 games.
2006 - Donovan McNabb suffered from severe back injuries and missed the second half of the eagles season. Plus he had to deal with Terrell Owens.
2007 - Shaun Alexander broke his foot early in the season and then spent the remainder of his career battling poor rushing performances and adult onset diabetes.
2008 - Always the crafty curser, Madden decided to stray from physical torture and inflict emotional disability in 2008 when Vince Young had a complete mental collapse just days into the season.
2009 - In yet another odd twist, Madden used a combination of mental instability and a second half performance meltdown on 2009 cover boy Brett Favre (Though reports claim Madden still kept up his Single White Female obsession with the current Viking). The Wrangler-wearing gunslinger ended up leaving New York, unretiring about seven or eight times, and taking the Jets from 8-3 to a non-playoff team all within the same calendar year.
2010 - Troy Polamalu suffers a week one sprained MCL. Not his most creative work, but rather effective. Well done, John.
Here's some food for thought:
Now that Polamalu has suffered the Madden curse, what must be going through Larry Fitzgerald's head (who shares the cover with the injured Steelers linebacker this year) ?
A) I guess one of us had to get injured, so I'm glad it was Troy.
B) Everyone on the cover gets injured. Why the hell did I agree to this?
C) F*** John Madden