Every player to be on the cover since then has had a season ending injury and/or a losing streak. Examples:
Madden 2001 cover: Eddie George, Titans RB
Before cover: The Titans reached the Super Bowl the prior season and George had gone to three consecutive Pro Bowls.
After cover: George made the Pro Bowl in 2000, but averaged 3.2 yards per carry in 2001 and 2002 and the Titans haven't been back to the Super Bowl.
Madden 2002 cover: Daunte Culpepper, Vikings QB
Before cover: Culpepper threw 33 TD passes and led team to the NFC championship game.
After cover: Culpepper missed five games in 2001 with a knee injury, threw a league-high 23 interceptions in 2002; the Vikings have gone 11-21 since 2000.
Madden 2003 cover: Marshall Faulk, Rams RB
Before cover: Faulk had become the first player in NFL history to gain 2,000 yards from scrimmage in four consecutive seasons; the Rams had been to three straight postseasons.
After cover: Plagued by an ankle injury, Faulk started a career-low 10 games as the Rams missed the playoffs.
Madden 2004 cover: Michael Vick, Falcons QB
Before cover: He was on a roll coming into the year, having set four NFL records in the 2002 season and established a reputation as one of the games' most electrifying players.
After cover: Early in the 2003 pre-season, Vick broke his leg in the first quarter of a game against the Baltimore Ravens. He was out for the first 11 games of the season.
50-60% of NFL players will be injured somewhere along the line during the season. You can't tell me that just because they were on the cover of some game, that's why they're injured. The injures of the cover players have ranged from different injuries for different lengths. You can't tell me that that's from being on the cover of the game when 50-60% of NFL players will be injured somewhere along the lines of the season. Now say if all the players got hurt from the same injury, and/or the same length. Then you could probably make a case. But this "curse" is way to general when 50-60% of NFL players will get injured somewhere along the line. And when the cover players injuries are all different injuries, at different times and such. Plus it's football. In football, you hit people...hard, and run aggressively without finesse sometimes that can led to a dangerous slip and fall. There's no "curse", the curse doesn't exsist.
But Eddie George was never effected by the "curse". Eddie was on the Madden 2001 cover. That follows the 2000 season. In the 2000 season Eddie George ran for a career high of 1500+ yards. What's his curse? Nothing, exactly.
Culpepper had what you would call a sophomore slump, then improved and is one of the best QB's around. So he got inured. Hot damn! It happens all the time in football.
Marshall Faulk got injured and continues to get injured... and older. He's lasted pretty long for a running back who runs like he does. He takes a lot of punishment for his running style. For his age at the time, all he need was one injured to take him out. That's what happen. It wasn't the curse, he got OLD.
Vick? Broken leg. What about Chad Pennington? He went down the same DAY Vick went down and people forget that. He's been affected worse than Vick as it is a reoccuring injury. The "curse" helped the Falcons by giving them a high draft pick and they snagged DeAngelo Hall, a very promising corner. Then they returned to the playoffs.
Ray Lewis? He broke his wrist and his team fell off the playoff race. How about the curse was the Steelers going 15-1, Pats going 14-2... and the AFC being a VERY strong conference. The Ravens also had legal trouble and Ogden was hurt. It wasn't a curse. The curse does not exsist. The Ravens wouldnt've made it to the playoffs if Lewis was healthy all season anyway. They improved a lot over the off season and I expect them to win the division and make the playoffs.