The Pocket Doppler Angels group is made up of the women that contribute to PocketDoppler.com, the moniker in homage to Charlie’s Angels. Individually and combined this group is as knowledgeable about the Packers, football & sports as anyone out there. Every other week or so they’ll answer your submitted questions on the Packers, football or other topics submitted. Feel free to submit non-Packers/football questions as well. Colleen would love to talk NASCAR with you, Kelly & Anita are ready to discuss the Badgers and college football, Amanda can regale you with her MLB & baseball knowledge or Jayme will explain to you why soccer is not just a European sport. To submit your question today, click here or on Twitter, @PDAngels .

We Angels are a knowledgeable bunch about sports, especially football, all right, but there is a definite sub group of us that acknowledge, nay BELIEVE in the Madden curse. We get asked about why we believe by a variety of people on Twitter – we decided to give a comprehensive group answer. To be clear, this is representative of Colleen, Anita and Kelly’s opinions, but we would like you to vote early and often AGAINST AARON RODGERS FOR THE MADDEN COVER .

The Question: Is The Madden Curse Real?

Anita Answers : There may be perfectly logical reasons for the Madden Cover Boys’ run of bad luck each season. Opposing players step up their games when they play against them. Maybe Julius Peppers takes a harder shot , or James Harrison launches himself a little higher and faster at his head, or Gregg Williams has his face embroidered on tackling dummies. Hey, you just took out the Madden cover boy! That’s worth a few replays on ESPN, isn’t it? ( and if you’re a member of the Saints, cold hard cash )  Basically, there’s a big target on your back. Everyone is stepping up their game so that they can have a highlight reel against the best player in the league.

RUN, AARON, RUN:

1999 Garrison Hearst: Hearst was running like a man possessed. Everyone thought he was the next big name in NFL running backs. After appearing on the Madden cover in ’99, he led the San Francisco 49ers to the divisional playoff game, where he broke his ankle. This was no ordinary break, either. It was ugly. Hearst missed two full seasons and was never the same again.

2000 Barry Sanders and Dorsey Levens: Sanders was the cover boy in the original rollout of Madden 2000. He then shocked the NFL and broke the hearts of Lions fans by announcing his sudden retirement just before training camp was scheduled to begin. He subsequently dropped off the the face of the earth. Have you seen him, since? Yeah, me either. EA Sports then put Dorsey Levens on the cover to replace Sanders. Midway through the season, Levens injured his knee. The Packers missed the playoffs. Levens never started a game for the Packers again.

2001 Eddie George: Fresh off a narrow loss to the Rams in the Super Bowl, George went on a tear, having a career year and seemingly ending the Madden Curse. However, in the divisional round against the Baltimore Ravens, he bobbled an easy pass that was intercepted and returned for what would be the game winning touchdown, costing Tennessee a trip to the Super Bowl. The next season, George spent most of the year injured and would never come near his 2000 numbers again.

2002 Daunte Culpepper: That little bicycle motion he used to do with his hands after a score still pisses me off. Here was another player coming off a championship game loss the year before ( HAH! ). The Vikings were then proclaimed Super Bowl favorites the following year. Instead, they finished at 5-11 and Culpepper suffered a season ending injury. The Madden Curse began being discussed, mostly as a joke.

2003 Marshall Faulk: Two Super Bowls in three years. Faulk was on a roll when they plopped his mug on the cover of Madden ’03. He had had four straight 1300 yard seasons leading up to….the Cover. The Rams were also loaded at most positions. Another team destined to return to the Super Bowl, right? Nope. They finished 7-9 . Faulk suffered a nagging ankle injury that bothered him most of the year and didn’t break the 1000 yard mark.

2004 Michael Vick: The poster boy for The Curse. Do we even have to rehash what happened here? You know the story. He broke his leg, played only five games all year and was then arrested for dog fighting and imprisoned for two years. BOOM. The Madden Curse was no longer a joke. It was serious to those who believe.

2005 Ray Lewis: Perhaps EA Sports thought that putting a defensive player on the cover was a way to break the Curse that they won’t admit to. Ray Lewis was a beast, didn’t miss games and had even dodged a murder conviction. Rock solid choice, right? Dude had already had his bad luck streak, stared it down and made it go crying back to Mommy. Wait, not so fast. After appearing on the cover, Lewis tore his hammy and ended his season on the bench. The Ravens went 9-7 and missed the playoff for the first time in four years.

2006 Donovan McNabb: The Eagles under McNabb had made the playoffs for five straight seasons and won an NFC Championship. McNabb was the darling of the league. He was even ballsy enough to speak out and dare the Curse to come get him. “I don’t believe in curses,” he was famously quoted. Oh, Donovan. You should never tempt fate like that. In the FIRST game of the season, McNabb suffered a sports hernia. Ouch. Karma was not amused by Donovan’s bravado. It is a lingering injury, taking months to heal, sometimes requiring surgery. Donovan tried to play in five games that year. At the end of the year, he had the surgery.

Are you keeping track? The score is Curse: 9, Players: 0. EA Sports began offering generous compensation to those brave enough to risk being on their cover. Plus, the exposure was fantastic. And money….well, it talks, babe. But you know what, sometimes money isn’t worth all that, you know?

Are you listening, Twelve? And Bill Johnson?

2007 Shaun Alexander: Alexander had led the Seahawks to their best season ever and the conference championship. In week 3, he broke his foot and missed six games. He returned, but was a shadow of his former self. He is currently appearing on milk cartons as a missing running back.

2008 Vince Young: The cover for Madden ’08 was originally offered to LaDanian Tomlinson. Superstitious fans immediately flooded the internet and sports talk shows, begging the star running back not to accept. He turned it down, siting the financial package as the reason (come on now, LT) . He then went on to have a record-setting season. You see what happens when you just say no ? Vince Young was targeted in his place. After appearing on the Madden ’08 cover, Young injured his quadriceps in game five. It was the first time in Young’s career, going all the way back to middle school, that he had missed a game due to injury. Next season, Young injured his knee which put him out for most of the season. He lost his job to Kerry Collins ( Double OUCH ).

2009 Brett Favre: EA Sports must have figured that nothing could happen to a player who had just retired, right? Enter Brett Favre. Hey, I remember running out to BUY this one as soon as it came out. A cover honoring a Packer legend who had just retired? What could go wrong, right?

Right. SMH.

Enter Summer 2008. The Summer of HELL to anyone with a shred of Packer loyalty in them. He divided a team, he divided a fan base. He made a villain out of a 25 year old kid . But, the Madden Gods didn’t just screw with us. They handed Brett a shit sandwich, as well. Aside from having to live in New Jersey, he also tore a bicep and finished the season with two touchdowns and nine interceptions, costing the Jets a shot at the playoffs. Packer fans called it PAYBACK. Everyone else called it The Madden Curse.

2010 Larry Fitzgerald and Troy Polamalu: EA Sport deceided to screw up two careers at once and put both players on the Madden ’10 cover. In the season opener Polamalu sprained his MCL, missing four games. He returned for three games before tearing his PCL and sat out most of the season. Fitzgerald did have a great season, seeming to be the first man to break the jinx with over 1,000 yards receiving. He was was one of my FF receivers. SCORE. Luckily, my fantasy league didn’t go through the playoffs where rib injury forced him out of the post-season and the Pro Bowl.

2011 Drew Brees: Did Brees become the first player to break the curse? I guess that depends on who you talk to. He played in all 16 games that season, and had Pro Bowl numbers (even though debate rages whether Rodgers should have been selected before Brees AND Matt Ryan). BUT, what do you call being the defending Super Bowl champion, SB MVP and Madden cover boy and losing to a 7-9 team in the Wildcard Round ? I call Curse!

2012 Peyton Hillis : Where should we begin?

For the first time, in a new marketing strategy, the Madden cover was decided by fan vote. Peyton Hillis won the 2012 cover over Aaron Rodgers, the reigning Super Bowl MVP, mainly due to the fact that many Packer fans did not want to risk the franchise and actively voted against Rodgers (for his own good, of course ), while Browns fans, suffering through another craptastic season, power voted like crazy, figuring that it had been a long time since a team or player from Cleveland had won ANYTHING . They were hungry for a hero. Remember, these are the same fans who were still stinging from the LeBron defection. You can hardly blame them.

Hillis had gained 1,177 yards and scored 11 touchdowns on 270 carries in the 2010 season. He was supposed to be the focal point of the Browns’ offense going into 2011, but, after the debut of the Madden cover, things seemed to take a bizarre twist. First, Hillis missed a game with strep throat, a move that many questioned as contractually motivated, since it was his agent who suggested that he sit out. He then no-showed to a children’s charity event on Halloween , and when he was supposed to be rehabbing an injury, flew home to Arkansas for a shot gun wedding ( his own ), instead. In November, a group of Browns veterans sat Hillis down, intervention-style, and tried to help him regain his focus.

Hillis appeared in 10 games in 2011, compiling only 587 yards and watching his yards per carry dip from 4.4 to 3.6. He contemplated giving up football forever, and joining the CIA. He signed a one year, 3 million dollar free agent contract with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012. He calls the 2011 season, “a humbling experience.”

While Hillis was humbled, Aaron Rodgers went on to win the league MVP award. Even if you don’t believe in the Madden Curse, isn’t it possible that maybe…. just maybe…. if Aaron Rodgers had appeared on that Madden Cover, that the bounty over his head in Game One against the Saints, would have been a little larger, and that perhaps, the Saints would have worked a little harder to take him out? Hey, you just took out the Super Bowl MVP AND Madden 2012 cover boy! And knowing what we know now, it sounds like something that Gregg Williams might bring up in a pre-game speech, don’cha think?

Besides, consider that this year’s cover contest is for Madden THIRTEEN . Need I say more?

Do you believe? DO YOU?

Kelly Answers :

Not only do I believe in the curse, but I would submit to you the following contract is signed between whoever the poor sucker is who wins this contest and the folks at Madden:

PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT

This agreement {“Agreement”} establishes a partnership {“Partnership}
between the following parties:

Poor NFL Sucker {“Sucker} and International House of Madden, and is
undersigned and set forth on {Date} of {Month}, {Year}.

The undersigned parties hereby agree to the following provisions as
conditions of the Partnership:

Section I: PARTNERSHIP OUTLINE

1.1 The Sucker agrees to lend his image to the forthcoming 2013
version of the International House of Madden’s videogame Madden 12.

1.2 The Sucker agrees to be a marketing ambassador for the
International House of Madden and is encouraged to pimp out the game
on any and all social media networking sites including but not limited
to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, as MySpace for the losers
left behind ten years ago.

1.3 The International House of Madden will pay the Sucker the agreed
upon wad of cash to be (i) direct deposited into the Sucker’s
financial institution of choice in any of the United States of America
or its territories, (ii) directly deposited in a secret off-shore
account in the Caribbean (iii) issued directly to the Sucker or his
designated toady in the form of a cashier’s check, or (iii) paid in
full in a loose change, packaged up nicely in a sack with giant $ on
its side just like the Monopoly Man.

Section II: DISCLAIMERS

2.1 This disclaimer is not especially concerned with
intelligibility. In fact it is written six grade levels above most
college graduates with the express intent to confuse, beguile and
hoodwink the above signed individual about to sign his soul away. This
disclaimer makes no bones about indulging in the more obnoxious
trademarks of legalese, including the but not limited to the (i)
phrase “including but not limited to”, (ii) the use of “said” as an
adjective, (iii) re-naming conventions that have little to no basis in
vernacular English (or for that matter Germanic, Latin or Sanskrit),
(iv) redundant, tedious, and superfluous repetition of synonymous
terms, (v) ENTIRE SECTIONS OF FULLY-CAPITALIZED TEXT, PRESUMABLY
INTENDED TO SAY TO THE READER, “HEY, THIS IS IMPORTANT! YOU SHOULD
READ THIS PART AND REMEMBER IT!” AS IF NO ONE HAS EVER REALIZED THAT
ENLARGING THE TEXT ONLY MAKES THE PARAGRAPH HARDER TO READ OR THAT IT
IS RUDE FORM TO USE ALL CAPS BECAUSE THAT WOULD MAKE ONE A TOOL FOR
YELLING REALLY LOUDLY IN A CONTRACT, (vi) lowercase Roman numerals.

Section III: MORE DISCLAIMERS:

3.1 The International House of Madden does not acknowledge the
presence or absence of any curses, whammies, portents of evil or
strings of bad luck associated with said Agreement. Anyone claiming
otherwise is itching for a fight. The International House of Madden
(i) does not believe in curses, (ii) if said unfortunate events were
attributable, which they are not as the International House of Madden
has already outlined, illustrated and cross-referenced previously, the
International House of Madden is not responsible if badness were to
beset the Sucker, (iii) said unfortunate events include, but are not
limited to: ACL injury PCL injury, torn rotator cuff, comminuted
fractures of the arms, legs or head, numbness, tingling, sudden
changes in vision or hearing, an erection lasting more than four
hours, sudden loss of cabin pressure, paralysis, spontaneous
decapitation, planned decapitation, protracted cases of strep throat,
raging case of herpes, boils, hives, hives with boils, hives with
boils and piles, constipation, anxiety, panic attacks, hallucinations,
Dengue Fever, rat bite fever, small pox, chicken pox, monkey pox,
avalanches, hurricanes, sink holes, lightning strikes, random falling
objects dropping from the sky including anvils, safes or crashing jet
airplanes, alien abductions with or without anal probing,
brainwashing, Stockholm Syndrome, Chinese Restaurant Syndrome,
allergic reactions to penicillin, shellfish or Red Dye #7, toenail
fungus, leprosy, bankruptcy, bladder incontinence, loss of hair, loss
of memory, loss of appetite, loss of car keys, motor vehicle
accidents, speeding tickets, seatbelt violations, itching, vertigo,
dizziness, slurred speech, profuse sweating, profuse diarrhea, heart
palpitations, stomach cramps while swimming, oozing scabs, draining
sores, that not so fresh feeling, dirty socks, dogs and cats living
together, meteor strikes, earthquakes, the dead rising from the grave,
the Rapture and the dreaded Mayan Apocalypse.

Section IV: YET MORE DISCLAIMERS

4.1 By signing the Agreement, the Sucker releases the International
House of Madden, as well as its affiliates, subsidiaries, business
partners, toadies, underlings, and interns of any and all liability
that may be accrued by signing this agreement.

Section V: A FEW MORE DISCLAIMERS

5.1 By signing the Agreement, the International House of Madden
neither endorses nor acknowledges that the Sucker is a good NFL
player.
5.2 The Agreement is not a guarantee that the Sucker will even make
the cut by the end of any NFL sanctioned Training Camp.
5.3 The Agreement is not a guarantee that the Sucker’s team will
have a winning season.
5.4 The Sucker will be accepted “as is” and International House of
Madden acknowledges that the Sucker may not even be a well-liked or
respected NFL player (please see 2012’s sucker Peyton Hillis.) The
Sucker may be selected in a reverse popularity contest wherein a
detested player may be selected to serve as the 2013 sucker because
other players’ fans, associates, colleagues, toadies and/or stalkers
have voted against him for a multitude of reasons. The International
House of Madden acknowledges that the Sucker may be a sacrificial
lamb, but the video game will still sell better if anyone but John
Madden is featured on its cover and promotional materials. The
International House of Madden is willing to settle for whatever it
gets.

Section VI: JURISDICTION

This Agreement is subject to the laws and regulations of the state of
{State}, as well as any applicable federal laws.

We, the undersigned, agree to all the provisions listed above, and
sign this document of our own free will.

Signed:

___________________________
Partner Name

___________________________
Partner Signature

Colleen Answers :

I believe all right.

In fact, I might believe that the most effective example of the Madden curse is what happened the year Brett Favre was on it, as Anita noted. In fact, the worst thing about the curse is it impales a fanbase’s head on a sharp pole at the edge of the Tower of Madden every bit as much as it does the player in question. Henry VIII had nothing on this curse.

Look at that comprehensive list of players and teams above. For every one of those players, there’s a fanbase who had great hope for a year to come, perhaps even owned the player’s jersey, only to be disappointed (of course, in the case of the Cleveland Brown fans, the words “YET AGAIN” applies, but still). Maybe Favre tore Packer Nation apart and attempted to sacrifice Aaron Rodgers to the football gods, but he’s also the only one who disappointed two fan bases in one year, Packer fans and then the Jets fans who saw their playoff hopes lifted high only to be dashed at the hands of Madden. Of course, he deserved the Curse more than any of the other players on the list, as well. (Well, maybe Michael Vick does. But I’m a Packer fan.)

Now, the question really is – what is the origin of the curse? Why does it exist? Who has this kind of power?

Bill Johnson has identified the perpetrator of the Madden Curse. It’s not John Madden (although his smarmy nice guy attitude and love of Brett Favre could point to him really being Satan), but… the San Diego Chicken. And Dan Fouts .

And people say voodoo isn’t real.  There’s a chicken involved here, folks. And anyone who ever watched Dan Fouts play so well, without ever having won a Super Bowl, can understand the dark urges that might lurk within his heart. It might have taken years to come to fruition, but there’s some serious mojo on this one.

It might also be the reason Ken Stabler isn’t in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Mojo. Serious mojo.

That will do it for this week’s edition of Ask An Angel. If you’d like to be part of the excitement next time, go here and submit your question or ask on Twitter, @PDAngels & give the Angels a follow .

 

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