It's difficult to say the curse started with Eddie George. The season he graced the Madden cover, the former Heisman Trophy winner set career marks with 1,509 rushing yards and 14 rushing touchdowns. He was an iron man throughout his career, starting 128 consecutive games, second only to Walter Payton (Sweetness racked up 170 consecutive starts) among running backs.
Maybe it was the weight of the cover, or maybe it was the 403 carries he endured that 2000 season, but George's productivity began to wane in later seasons. He dropped to 3.3 yards per carry and lost a step in the process. Never again did he break a run of more than 40 yards, and he managed only 13 more carries of 20 yards or greater between 2000 and his retirement in 2005. But by the end of his cover season, the sky was the limit for George. People didn't get suspicious until