Fear of the 'Madden Curse'

I've always been the first to admit that I've never paid much attention to "Madden" or any other video game, but I've been surprised at how passionate many of you are about NOT wanting Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers or Minnesota Vikings tailback Adrian Peterson to win ESPN.com's bracket-style competition for the cover of "Madden 12." Both players have advanced to the second round of the event.

"The Curse" is in your head.

Nevertheless, wrote @TeeJayV via Twitter, "Just no reason to chance it. Keep @AaronRodgers12 off of it!"

Rodgers, for his part, tweeted last week that it is "hard not to want" the Madden cover.

I suppose this will become a bigger issue for us if Rodgers and/or Peterson advance to the finals next month. But courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information, via NFC South colleague Pat Yasinskas, here are the basics of the so-called "Madden Curse."

  • Madden 11: Drew Brees: Threw for 4,620 yards but also set a career high with 22 interceptions. Started 16 games despite persistent reports of a knee injury.

  • Madden 10: Troy Polamalu/Larry Fitzgerald: Polamalu only played five games because of knee injuries, Steelers missed playoffs; Fitzgerald wasn’t affected much (97 receptions, 1,092 yards, 13 TDs, Pro Bowl).

  • Madden 9: Brett Favre: Feuded with Packers, traded to Jets, horrible down the stretch (lost 4 of last 5).

  • Madden 8: Vince Young: Missed 1 game with quad injury; led Titans to first playoff appearance in four years.

  • Madden 7: Shaun Alexander: Fractured foot, missed six games; fewer yards and TDs in '06 AND '07 than in '04 OR '05.

  • Madden 6: Donovan McNabb: Sports hernia in first game, missed seven games; feuded with Terrell Owens all year; had been to five straight Pro Bowls, hasn't been since.

  • Madden 5: Ray Lewis: Broke wrist, missed one game; first season without interception; missed 10 games next year with thigh injury.

  • Madden 4: Michael Vick: Fractured fibula one day after video game was released, missed 11 games; Pro Bowl next 2 seasons; obvious issues since then.

  • Madden 3: Marshall Faulk: Ankle injury, missed two games, never rushed for 1,000 yards.

  • Madden 2: Daunte Culpepper: 4-7 record before season-ending knee injury.

  • Madden 2001: Eddie George: Career season, but fumbled in playoffs as top-seeded Titans lost first game to Ravens.

  • Madden 2000: Barry Sanders: Retired one week before training camp.