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Patrick Mahomes and the Madden Curse: You’re not really buying that, are you?

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Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes appears on the cover of the “Madden NFL 20" video game.
(Electronic Arts Inc.)

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes injured his knee Thursday night. The Madden Curse strikes again?

Sure, you could say that.

Or you could say that football is a violent sport and the odds are pretty good that any given player will get hurt at some point during the course of a season.

You all are undoubtedly familiar with the so-called curse linked to the “Madden NFL” video games — a player appears on the cover and then encounters some sort of bad luck during the ensuing season.

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Most of the time it involves the player being sidelined for a significant period of time because of injuries (like Michael Vick in 2005 and Rob Gronkowski in 2016) or experiencing a significant drop in productivity (like Vince Young in 2008 and Adrian Peterson in 2013).

Of course, some players have graced the Madden cover and proceeded to have their standard excellent seasons, particularly in recent years (Richard Sherman in 2014, Odell Beckham Jr. in 2015, Tom Brady in 2017 and Antonio Brown in 2018).

But then Thursday night happened. Mahomes, whose league MVP performance last season landed him on the cover of “Madden NFL 20,” injured his right knee during a pileup near the goal line during the second quarter of the Chiefs’ 30-6 win over the Denver Broncos.

Kansas City Chiefs v Denver Broncos
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is escorted off the field after sustaining a knee injury during the first half against the Broncos.
(Matthew Stockman / Getty Images)

The injury was pretty gruesome. Medical personnel appeared to pop Mahomes’ kneecap back in place before helping him off the field. He didn’t return to the game.

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The Associated Press reported Friday that Mahomes had no significant damage to any ligaments and is expected to miss four to six weeks.

Naturally, the Madden Curse was on a lot of people’s minds after Mahomes’ injury.

But Mahomes isn’t close to being the only star player to suffer a significant injury this (or any) season. Just looking at starting quarterbacks alone, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger, New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees, Jacksonville Jaguars’ Nick Foles, Chicago Bears’ Mitchell Trubisky and Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton have all been sidelined due to injury. Also, the New York Jets’ Sam Darnold missed three games while recovering from mononucleosis.

And others — like the New York Giants’ Eli Manning, Tennessee Titans’ Marcus Mariota and Miami Dolphins’ Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen — have been benched because of performance-related issues. Out of all those down-on-their-luck quarterbacks, only one has appeared on the “Madden NFL” cover, and that was Brees way back in 2010.

While he did have a career-high 22 passes intercepted that season, Brees also threw for 4,620 yards and 33 touchdowns, made the Pro Bowl and led the Saints to an 11-5 record. Also, he started all 16 games that year and hadn’t missed more than one game in a season since then until now. Pretty sure the thumb injury he suffered during a Week 2 loss to the Rams has nothing to do with his appearance on a video game box nine years ago.

So it seems pretty safe to say that Mahomes isn’t cursed by Madden ... but maybe he’s jinxed by Sports Illustrated. After all, he did appear on the magazine’s cover not so long ago.


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