ByRob Harris, writer at
Sometimes I play video games.
Rob Harris

For the past 20 years a sinister curse has been thought to be the cause behind NFL athletes' perhaps-not-so-coincidental misfortunes. Worryingly, the the curse now appears to have transcended the sport of American Football, landing MMA superstar Ronda Rousey in the hospital after receiving a brutal beating from Holly Holm.

This mysterious force of video game voodoo is called the EA Madden cover curse and follows one simple rule: Once a player appears on the box of that year's game, you can pretty much count on them getting severely injured, or woefully underperforming during the following season.

Peyton Hillis' fate was sealed in 2012.
Peyton Hillis' fate was sealed in 2012.

It might be hard to believe, but the numbers don't lie. The 10 Madden cover stars between 1999 and 2009 accumulated a total of 39 Pro Bowl appearances before receiving the fateful honor of a cover shot. After becoming Madden's annual mascot, the total number of Pro Bowl appearances from those same players dropped to just 4.

Last week, EA -- perhaps deciding that the queen of MMA had dominated the octagon for far too long -- sealed Ronda Rousey's fate by announcing her as the cover star for their upcoming game UFC 2. Less than three days later, Rousey was sprawled in her own blood, knocked unconscious by a vicious head kick at UFC 193.

The curse strikes again, adding the former Bantamweight champion to the long list of victims that includes Marshall Faulk, Daunte Culpepper, Michael Vick, Ray Lewis and Vince Young. I wonder who will be next?


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