I did a quick analysis of the history and validity of the Madden Curse on my blog at bossausdrafts.wordpress.com
The History of the Madden Curse
Historically, players that have been graced on the cover of Madden have had less-than-stellar following years. We will begin with Madden 2002.
Madden 2002- Daunte Culpepper
Season after appearance: After making the playoffs the year before, the Vikings dropped to 5-11, and Culpepper threw 23 picks.
Madden 2003- Marshall Faulk
Season after appearance: Rushed for less than 1,000 yards after having over 2,000 total yards the year before.
Madden 2004- Michael Vick
Season after appearance: Broke his leg and missed 11 games.
Madden 2005- Ray Lewis
Season after appearance: Still had a good year statistically, but the next two seasons he had his season end short with injury.
Madden 2006- Donovan McNabb
Season after appearance: Tore his ACL.
Madden 2007- Shaun Alexander
Season after appearance: Suffered an injury to his foot and missed 6 games.
Madden 2008- Vince Young
Season after appearance: Injured early, and was replaced as a starter by Kerry Collins.
Madden 2009- Brett Favre
Season after appearance: Signed with the Jets and blew their chance at a playoff spot late in the season. Also sent pictures of his “member” to Jenn Sterger.
Madden 2010- Larry Fitzgerald and Troy Polamalu
Season after appearance: Larry Fitz did just fine, putting together a Pro Bowl season, but Polamalu was riddled with injuries and missed several games.
Madden 2011- Drew Brees
Season after appearance: The Saints made the playoffs, but lost to the 7-9 Seahawks in the first round of the playoffs. Brees also threw for 23 interceptions.
Madden 2012- Peyton Hillis
Season after appearance: Hillis never played incredibly well this season when he had seen the field, and he has also missed over two thirds of the season with an injury and a contract dispute.
Overall, the theory of the curse holds up. While some of the players didn’t go on to have season ending injuries, or terrible seasons, they played significantly worse than the season before.