We should all know what the Madden Curse is, but if you’ve been living under a rock or have some other nonsensical excuse for not knowing, I’d be happy to give you a quick rundown.
“Madden” of course refers to NFL Hall of Famer John Madden and is a video game franchise that started in the 90s. EA Sports created the game, which has turned into a community, and has been putting star football players on the cover — a feature of the game’s marketing that has fans praying their favorite athletes don’t get chosen. Why? Because players who get picked to grace the cover of Madden often end up seriously injured. You can read about it here.
So when Tom Brady of my beloved New England Patriots was chosen to be on the cover of Madden 18 I wasn’t worried at all. I fully believe in the TB12 diet and Brady is a god-damn superhero. 2008 already happened I just didn’t see a stupid curse being able to affect Brady and his godliness. I asked around and talked to fellow Pats fan and they were just as confident as I was. There was just no way Brady was going to let anything happen to himself, accidents happen, but Brady is the anti-curse. Plus, curses aren’t actually a football issue — they’re a baseball one. My confidence was at its peak when Brady said this.
“The Madden NFL 18 cover is a great honor for me. Especially since I have been playing the game since growing up next to EA headquarters in the Bay Area. I’m not one to believe in curses, so I’m ready to take the challenge head on like always! It doesn’t stand a chance!!!”
To take it one step further, Brady made a series of videos mocking the curse.
There you have it, folks! Tom Brady grew up right next to the origin of the curse. He doesn’t believe in curses and if one were to exist, Brady is ready for the challenge. When I read about Tom Brady giving something zero chance of succeeding I write that something off like it never existed. So fuck the Madden Curse, it definitely doesn’t exist! Or so I thought.
It was announced in May that Brady would be on the cover. That was just 5 months ago. It turns out, a lot can happen in 5 months. The spring turned into summer which faded into fall. The leaves on the trees have begun to change and so has the Madden Curse. Typically the curse only sets its sights on the player on the cover, but you can’t fight a God head-on. Especially one that is “ready for the challenge.” That meant the curse would have to find a way to get to Brady through unconventional methods. By affecting not only Tom but other Boston athletes. The curse waged a war on Boston sports because the curse doesn’t like to be challenged.
We didn’t know it then, but the curse took its time going through the Red Sox lineup. We’re talking foul balls to the face, spikes to the leg and major knee issues and that was just Dustin Pedroia’s injuries. Hanley Ramirez and Eduardo Rodriguez both have had offseason surgeries. David Price, the Sox $217M pitcher, missed half the season. Drew Pomeranz even had a close encounter with the curse when he tweaked his knee on a slippery pitchers mound, but inexplicably, the curse spared him further trouble and he didn’t miss any time.
That doesn’t mean the curse was lenient to everyone, not even players who started the season on other squads. When Boston acquired Eduardo Nunez at the end of July, he immediately became a catalyst for them. With his hard-nosed baseball philosophy and clutch hitting, he became a fan favorite rather quickly, but the Madden Curse was coming for him. Nunez eventually messed up his knee and was never fully ready to make a comeback to the field, despite several attempts. His season officially ended in his first at-bat of the playoffs when he couldn’t even run to first base. Whether you want to blame the Sox medical staff or not, an unusual amount of injuries to key players like Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Xander Bogaerts all occurred this season.
The Red Sox weren’t the only team to face tough injury news. On August 25th, Brady’s own New England Patriots lost maybe the second most important part of their offense in Julian Edelman. Edelman is widely considered to be Brady’s best friend on the team, his most reliable receiver and one of the most clutch players in the league. SO OF COURSE, THE MADDEN CURSE WAS GOING TO GET JULES. But damn, why!? Because the Madden Curse does not like to be challenged. Edelman tore his ACL in the third preseason game against Detroit and is out for the year.
That’s when I started to realize that maybe this curse nonsense isn’t nonsense at all. I mean, Gronk was on the cover of Madden 17 and he missed the last several months of their Superbowl run last year. I’ve been playing Madden since 2000 and have been a sports fan forever, I was beginning to feel a little uneasy. When Brady was added to the injury report with a hurt non-throwing shoulder I was pissed that the curse had infiltrated his body. However, I eventually overcame that feeling and convinced myself that, if nothing serious happens to Brady, then I’ll continue to be a non-believer in the Madden Curse.
Remembering that the Bruins season started just a month after the Patriots season started, I paid ultra-close attention to preseason hockey. Preseason hockey has a way of completely fucking things up for your team — injuries tend to pile up, but I tried to remain optimistic. The Bruins nearly escaped the preseason without any injuries but this souped-up, revitalized Madden Curse reared it’s ugly head once again. Patrice Bergeron, the B’s best player, missed the first 5 games of the season with a lower-body injury sustained in the last preseason game. Top free agent signing of 2016, David Backes, was added to the injury report just two days later and missed the first 5 games, as well. Forward Noel Acciari, an up-and-coming talent, broke his finger in the first regular season game, on October 5th, and is out 4-6 weeks. Just 10 days after that, center Ryan Spooner suffered a right groin adductor tear and he’ll be out at least 4-6 weeks, though that timeline may be a little too optimistic.
That’s a lot for a team to overcome but it didn’t stop there. Goaltender Tuukka Rask was concussed by rookie Anders Bjork during practice and is now in NHL’s concussion protocol. That’s a huge loss for the Bruins, but things were on the up-and-up because Bergeron and Backes returned to the lineup on October 19th. Bergeron had 4 points and gave a big middle finger to the Madden Curse, which in turn, gave the middle finger right back to the Bruins. Center David Krejci and defenseman Adam McQuaid were both injured in that same game.
Krejci isn’t expected to miss any significant time but Adam McQuaid has been diagnosed with a broken right fibula and will undergo surgery on October 23. He is expected to miss at least 8 weeks. Just 6 games into the season and the Bruins have been faced with a ton of long-term injuries, the exact kind the Madden Curse specializes in.
Did you think the Celtics were safe? If you’ve been paying any attention to the sports world, I don’t have to tell you what’s coming next. The C’s had one of the best offseasons in franchise history. GM Danny Ainge drafted a promising rookie in Jayson Tatum and landed all-star Kyrie Irving in a trade with Cleveland. Boston was able to sign free agent Gordon Hayward and create a very formidable roster. I was as excited for basketball season to start as I’ve ever been and I couldn’t wait for opening night. So many hopes were had for Boston this year and a ton of them came crashing down just minutes into the new season when Hayward landed awkwardly and broke his leg and ankle. It was one of the more gruesome injuries you’ll ever see. After the initial shock wore off I couldn’t help think of the Madden Curse. Could this really have happened? Brady is so untouchable that it had to take out players from every Boston team? I don’t want to believe it, but I definitely can’t explain it.
The worst part of about this is, aside from the Sox, these teams a still in the early stages of their seasons. The injuries can, and probably will continue to pile up. It could be because Brady broke a mirror or walked under a ladder. It could be a coincidence — injuries are an enormous part of sports. Personally, I don’t believe in coincidences, its rule 39. Regardless of what you believe, you can’t deny that Boston sports teams have been ravaged by injuries since Brady agreed to be on the cover of Madden 18.
So going forward I’d like to ask the athletes, and future athletes, of Boston to deny any opportunities to be on the cover of Madden. Save yourself and your teammates. Take it easy on us fans, we’ll vote endlessly to get you on the covers of video games, but will, hypocritically, give you so much hell if you sustain an injury. If you just say NO, then everybody is a winner.