History of the Madden Curse
John Madden appeared on the cover of his popular NFL video game for a decade before unleashing a curse amongst the players that replaced him.
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Hearst appeared on the PAL (Phase Alternating Line) version of the game (sold mostly outside of North America) and had the displeasure of starting this curse out with a broken ankle in the 1999 NFC Championship game against the Falcons on their dreaded Georgia Dome AstroTurf. He missed the next two seasons trying to recover from the injury.
After Barry Sanders abruptly retired from football, EA Sports was forced to settle for Dorsey Levens on the PAL version of the Madden 2000 cover. If you look closely, you can see a blurred image of Barry Sanders in the background of the John Madden version.
Dorsey Levens went on to be released in 2001 after injuries ended his season.