The NFL’s reigning MVP Shaun Alexander went down with an injured foot in Week 3 of the regular season continuing a trend that many have been calling a “curse.”
For the last few years, players who have shown the ability to perform among the elite players in the league have been given the opportunity to appear on the cover of EA Sports Madden football video game, one of the more popular games around. Also, for the last few years, those players have not been able to follow up their performances. Either they have suffered major injuries or they have been unable to match their previous season performance. Alexander happened to be the one privileged enough to be on the cover of the newest version of Madden.
Alexander came into the season with a contusion in his leg. Even before the injury, Alexander was putting up dismal numbers compared to last season. So far into the 2006 season, he has 187 yards on 65 carries, giving him an average of 2.9 yards per carry with two touchdowns. He did start the season off with an injury but the match ups have been heavily favored in Seattle’s direction. Through the first three weeks, the Seahawks haven’t exactly played top defensive teams in the Detroit Lions, Arizona Cardinals and the New York Giants. Perhaps a tougher schedule was last year’s first three games against Jacksonville, Atlanta and Arizona. Atlanta had not yet suffered all of the injuries that plagued them through the entire 2005 season and the Jaguars have had a strong defense the past few seasons. As for the Cardinals’ defense, not much can be said at this point. Alexander had 64 carries for 357 yards and five touchdowns through the first three games last year.
Add another one to the list. In previous years players such as Daunte Culpepper, Marshall Faulk, Michael Vick, Ray Lewis and Donovan McNabb have fallen to the “curse.”
Last season McNabb, beside having an off-the-field feud with then teammate Terrell Owens, also missed seven games due to an injury sustained against the Dallas Cowboys in which he re-aggravated a groin injury.
Michael Vick also suffered a season-ending injury during his year on the cover. He suffered the injury in a preseason game that left him sidelined for 11 games of the regular season.
After recording nearly 1,400 yards rushing, Marshall Faulk failed to reach the 1,000 rushing yards mark after his stint on the cover. Not just for the upcoming season, Faulk has yet to reach 1,000 yards since that year and has been plagued with injuries.
Before Vick and McNabb, Culpepper was the first quarterback to fall to injury after his cover appearance. As if throwing thirteen interceptions to his fourteen touchdowns wasn’t bad enough, Culpepper was also sidelined for the last five games of the season.
Can it be a mere coincidence these players come off of their best season with high expectations for the upcoming season only to fall flat on their faces? Perhaps next season players will be weary about gracing the cover and Madden will go back to the traditional cover, Madden himself.