August 11, 2008 - As the twentieth anniversary of Madden is almost ready to hit store shelves, many old school gamers tend to reflect on the series' past. The franchise began back in the Genesis days, providing players with their first realistic and fun football simulation. Many players were taken aback by just how closely Madden captured the NFL's on-field action and quickly became lifelong fans. As the series continued to advance in both gameplay and graphics, Madden has become so vital to the industry that its release date has become the calendar mark that ushers in the slew of excellent games that get released every fall/winter.
Besides its obvious appeal as a realistic football simulation, Madden has also become widely known for something far more sinister. The Madden curse has become a highly publicized and talked about issue that, to steal a tagline from old Saturn advertisements, is becoming "a little too real." During the early years, Madden covers sported the likeness of the famous coach/commentator and there was nary a problem. This all changed when the series decided to start having cover athletes grace the game's boxes in Madden's stead.
Well, technically it began with Madden 2000, when they tried to have Barry Sanders as their cover athlete. Barry quickly retired and never played another professional game of football.
I'll quickly recap the rest of the Madden curse's trail of woe: