Longtime Madden NFL fans are well-aware of what is known as the Madden Cover Curse, and it appears to have struck again: current Madden NFL 20 cover athlete Patrick Mahomes just went down with a gruesome-looking knee injury. During last night's 30-6 win over the Broncos, Mahomes suffered a patella dislocation, with trainers having to pop his knee back into place on the field before helping him off of it. An MRI performed today will help determine if he tore any ligaments in his knee, which would greatly extend his time on the sidelines.
For Electronic Arts, that's just the latest in a string of Madden NFL cover athletes who fans believe were cursed by being put on the cover of the game. To be fair, it isn't a superstition that goes without precedent: the early Madden NFL cover athletes were plagued by injuries, under-performances, and even one player who decided to retire out-of-the-blue during his cover year. After a few years of Madden NFL cover athletes having horrible seasons while they graced the covers of the annual title, fans started to pay attention to the Madden curse - and with good reason.
While recent years have proven some exceptions to the curse 2019's selection of Antonio Brown was an absolute low for Madden NFL: having been accused of heinous crimes, he found himself released from one team and dropped by the next. Brown is currently a free agent, and he wouldn't be the first cover athlete to find himself out of the NFL entirely a year or so after appearing as a cover athlete - albeit for horrible off-the-field issues instead of under-performing.
Prior to the curse's biggest return to form in 2019, however, things had been looking up: 2018 saw Tom Brady grace the cover, and while he and the Patriots may have lost out to the Eagles in the Super Bowl that year, he still had a good season overall. Similarly, previous cover athletes from recent years like Odell Beckham Jr. and Richard Sherman have had decent seasons, too. A few years ago, the general consensus was that the curse was lifting, but those optimisms may be a little quieter after the 2019 and 2020.
Of course, it isn't clear how long current cover athlete Patrick Mahomes will be sidelined for. If he hasn't torn any ligaments in his knee, his recovery time may not ultimately be too long. If he did tear a ligament in his knee, however, he could be out for quite some time, and the 24-year-old star athlete would be a big miss for the Kansas City Chiefs. With the Madden Curse apparently striking again, one has to wonder if the superstition will ever lead to an athlete eventually turning down an invitation to star on the Madden NFL cover.