Eddie George – Madden NFL 2001
When EA Sports launched Madden 2001 alongside the PlayStation 2, it was a grand showcase that demonstrated exactly why gamers should upgrade from their PS1’s. To help punctuate that point, they selected one of the hottest players in the league to be on the cover of that year’s edition.
As it turns out, though, he was never that great to begin with. His greatest asset was being ridiculously durable, and his 128 consecutive starts was second only to the legendary Walter Payton’s 170. He managed to rush for over 10,000 yards for his career, something even the late, great Earl Campbell didn’t do. However, he had almost 700 more touches than Campbell and only managed to edge him by 1,030 yards; if Campbell played as much as George, he’d have blown past him easily. To top things off, George only scored over 10 touchdowns in a season twice in his career, and only once before he was given a Madden cover.
Of course, it only got worse after he was selected for the game. His rushing average fell dramatically the next season, from 3.7 yards per carry to a paltry 3.0, and wouldn’t rush for more than 3.4 the rest of his career.
Garrison Hearst – Madden NFL 99
Many people are under the impression that Eddie George was the first player to grace the cover of a Madden game, and if they live in the US they’d be right. However, EA Sports opted to put Garrison Hearst of the San Francisco 49ers on the cover of Madden 99 in PAL regions, officially making it the most interesting thing about Garrison Hearst.
OK, maybe that’s not entirely true. After all, he was the first player to earn the Comeback Player of the Year award twice in his career. The first time was after floundering a couple of years out of the gate with the Cardinals before finally rushing for 1,000 yards in a season, though he was released anyway. He then had a few good years with the 49ers, rushing for a career-high 1,570 yards in 1998.
Then to kick off the Madden curse, he went and gruesomely broke his ankle in a playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons, putting his career in serious jeopardy. After some painful surgery and recovery, he managed to come back in 2001 and rush for 1,200 yards and earn himself a second Comeback award. However, with one essentially-dead ankle, it was only a short matter of time before he became ineffective.
My point is simple: this is the longest anyone’s talked about Garrison Hearst in years, and I’m probably the first person to Google his name this decade. And those are my accomplishments, not Hearst’s.
Christ, this is depressing.
John Madden – John Madden Football
Jesus! Take it! Just take all of it!