The 'Madden' Curse: Fact or Fiction?

Coming off a banner year in 2000 in which he threw for 33 TDs and 3,937 yards, Daunte Culpepper looked like he had booked a one-way ticket to Canton. He had already guided the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game, and the Culpepper-to-Moss connection was the most feared in football. Landing on the cover of "Madden 2002" was just the first of what looked like many honors to come.

But then in 2001, something happened: Culpepper struggled. In the first game of the season against Carolina, he was picked off three times. The Vikings started out 1-3. Once an offensive force, Culpepper was suddenly making bad decisions and throwing poor passes. Then in Week 12 at Pittsburgh, Culpepper sustained a knee injury and missed the rest of the season. Although Culpepper would go on to record one of the finest seasons ever at the quarterback position in 2004, the rest of his career has been mired in injury and inconsistency. Whispers of a Madden curse surfaced in 2001, which also happened to be Eddie George's worst season as a pro with only 939 rushing yards and five scores.

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