The writing is on the wall Patriot fans. Tom Brady will eventually suffer a decline in his play. No it may not come this year, or next year, or even the year after, but in the near future there will be a decline. It could be a startling drop to irrelevance or a slow and steady decline that will give the Patriots the ability to eke every last drop of great play Belichick and company can get. With that in mind the next challenge has been handed down to Brady, one that has doomed many players in the past: ‘The Madden Curse.’
Now that Brady has been given the privilege of being selected as the face of this year’s Madden game, he and many Patriot haters are hoping that the curse strikes again. After all Brady is the face of the Patriots reign this century. That reign has resulted in all Bills, Jets, and Dolphins fans to concede the division before the season even starts.
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There is one problem with the theory of the ‘Madden Curse’ though. It simply isn’t true anymore. Consider this; of the last seven players that have been on the cover only one has missed any real time due to injury, and another has endured a poor season. The one injury was Rob Gronkowski; Brady’s favorite target that graced the cover last season. However, Gronkowski had been dealing with injury problems in previous years due to concussion, knee, back and arm injuries.
The other player that endured the poor season was former Browns’ running back Peyton Hillis. Hillis landed on the cover after a tremendous season that gave him his first 1,000 yard season (1,177 rushing yards to be exact). While the next year he rushed for just 587, and suffered from some injuries. However, it is hard to blame his season on the curse when that was his only season anywhere near 1,000 yards. In fact, Hillis had just 1,655 rush yards in his other six seasons combined. Hard to say the “Madden Curse” robbed a guy that never really had the talent to rob.
Furthermore, five of the last seven players all had very productive seasons. The following players were, in order, on the cover of Madden since 2010; Drew Brees, Peyton Hillis (2011), Calvin Johnson (2012), Adrian Peterson (2013), Richard Sherman (2014), Odell Beckham Jr. (2015), Rob Gronkowski (2016). Going through each individual season Brees passed for 4,620 yards and 33 touchdowns, Calvin Johnson set a receiving yard record with 1,964 yards to go with 122 catches, Peterson ran for 1,266 yards and 10 touchdowns, Sherman played every game had eight passes defensed and four interceptions, and Beckham Jr. had 96 catches for 1,450 yards in just his third season. None of those stats speak to a ‘curse’and to suggest otherwise means someone isn’t paying attention.
This ‘curse’ is just another thing that non-Patriots’ fans hope will slow down Brady and the Patriots. Most likely, it will be just another piece of motivation for Brady to add to the already monumental amount he has to keep his inner-fire burning. Just don’t be surprised when Brady passes for 50 touchdowns and leads the Patriots to another 13+ win season, and if they don’t, just remember it won’t be from some crusty, old hoax.