The 'Madden' Curse: Fact or Fiction?

Each year, when EA Sports unveils the cover for the latest edition of the "Madden NFL" franchise, the subject of the "Madden Curse" inevitably comes up. For some, the effects of the curse are nothing more than a series of easily explained coincidences, the expected consequences of the hard-hitting and rough nature of football. But to others, the curse is a very real and ominous threat to be feared, especially if the star player of their favorite team happens to be the latest victim ... I mean cover athlete.

With Friday's announcement that the cover of "Madden NFL 10" will feature not one, but two players from two different teams -- Larry Fitzgerald of the Cardinals and Troy Polamalu of the Steelers -- the debate over the curse will take on a whole new twist. As ESPN Video Games columnist Jon Robinson pondered, "If there are two players on the cover of 'Madden,' does that make the curse twice as strong, or does that dilute its power by half?"

So, is the Madden Curse fact or fiction? In the interest of scientific research, we take a look back at the past "victims" of the curse and lay out the evidence for you to decide for yourself. First up: "Madden 2001" cover athlete Eddie George.

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