What Is the Madden Curse? Patrick Mahomes Breaks Video Game Spell with Super Bowl LIV Triumph

Since he entered the NFL less than three years ago, Patrick Mahomes has made a habit of breaking records.

On Sunday, as he led the Kansas City Chiefs to their first Super Bowl in 50 years he not only rewrote the annals, he also broke the infamous "Madden curse."

With the Chiefs trailing by 20-10 to the San Francisco 49ers and just over eight minutes left in the game, Mahomes engineered three consecutive scoring drives, as Kansas City scored 21 consecutive points to win a first Lombardi Trophy since 1970.

Mahomes became the youngest player in NFL history to win both the MVP and the Super Bowl and consigned the Madden curse to history for good.

Since the turn of the century, EA Sports has placed NFL stars on the cover of the annual instalment of its Madden NFL franchise—the eponymous John Madden appeared by himself from the inaugural title in 1988 until 1999.

Initially regarded as a huge honor, featuring on the cover has since developed into a curse not dissimilar to the Sports Illustrated cover jinx.

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates after defeating the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 in Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium on February 2 in Miami, Florida. Andy Lyons/Getty

Mahomes, who featured on the cover of last year's Madden NFL 20, is only the second of 22 players to have featured on the cover of Madden NFL to win the Super Bowl in the season of his cover appearance.

Rob Gronkowski starred on the cover of Madden NFL 17 and while the New England Patriots won Super Bowl LI, the tight end was a spectator as an injury in Week 11 had curtailed his season.

Therefore, Mahomes is technically the first player to appear on the cover of Madden NFL, play in the Super Bowl and win the Lombardi Trophy in the same season.

Not even Tom Brady achieved the feat, as he appeared on the cover the season following the Patriots' triumph in Super Bowl LI, which ended with a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII.

Still, the six-time Super Bowl champion at least reached the NFL championship game on the same season he featured on the cover of Madden, only the third player along with Richard Sherman and Mahomes to do so.

In the first decade of the 2000s, only five players featuring on the cover of Madden reached the playoffs, never mind the Super Bowl. Eddie George, Shaun Alexander and Larry Fitzgerald went as far as the divisional round in 2001, 2007 and 2010, while Vince Young and Drew Brees lost in the wild card round.

For five consecutive seasons between 2002 and 2006, players who featured on the cover—Daunte Culpepper, Marshall Faulk, Michael Vick, Ray Lewis and Donovan McNabb—didn't even reach the postseason, a fate shared by Peyton Hillis and Calvin Johnson in 2012 and 2013, Odell Beckham Jr. in 2016 and Antonio Brown last year.

For some, like Culpepper and Hillis, the appearance on the cover was closely followed by serious injuries and a swift decline, while Brown's career nosedived amid a host of personal troubles and serious legal issues.

Following Mahomes exploits in Miami, the Madden curse looks to have been well and truly banished but Chiefs fans may want to wrap their quarterback up in cotton wool during the offseason just to be sure.