I’ve been suspecting this for a while, and now I think there is enough evidence to back up my theory: crypto is the new Madden curse. It’s the Cryto Curse. BitCurse, if you will. It’s undeniable now.
For those of you who grew up with TikTok and at the dawn of Mike White‘s Hall of Fame career, you may not know what the Madden Curse even is. Back in my day, there was a video game series under the moniker of a Frank Caliendo impersonator named John Madden that perfectly simulated the NFL from the comfort of your mom’s basement. It was really accurate, like you could play as Michael Vick in Madden ’04 and just run around until you won, just like the real Michael Vick for that one season!
But ever since the game series decided to put real players on the cover (starting in 1999), there was a curse: every player featured on the cover suffered either a big injury or had a terrible season. The first player featured was Garrison Hearst who suffered a broken ankle in the playoffs that year, which led to complications (where a foot bone literally DIED), and was gone for a couple seasons.
Since then, the Madden Curse has befallen nearly all of the featured players, even to Madden ’21 which had Lamar Jackson who had to run and poop in the middle of an important game against the Browns. My god, what more evidence do you need?
But now, cryptocurrency is the new curse. Not just because it took my bank account from thousands to dozens, but also because every player in the NFL who has mentioned or shilled crypto has had a tragedy soon after. Let’s examine the evidence.
Let’s start with one of the latest victims of the curse, holistic vaxxer Aaron “inoculated” Rodgers. Just after cosplaying as a murderer for Halloween, Rodgers announced he would be taking a portion of his salary in Bitcoin. Not only that, he would be giving away a million dollars in Bitcoin to people who gave clout to CashApp, the preferred banking app for drug dealers.
Almost immediately after, Rodgers was stricken with Covid-19 and would sit out the highly anticipated State Farm Bowl against Patrick Mahomes. Not only is his lung capacity in danger, but so is his credibility as he’s basically been caught lying about his vaccination status using Jeopardy-level word trickery. Was it his ego that was his downfall? Or was it the blockchain?
Probably his hippy girlfriend, actually. But also crypto.
In 2020, Russell Okung made headlines for being the first NFL player to be paid in Bitcoin soon after joining the Carolina Panthers. At the time, it definitely raised some eyebrows and the nerds of crypto finally tuned into a sportsball game and learned to pronounce “Okung” so they can gloat about how mainstream our fake money was going. Since that deal, Bitcoin has skyrocketed in value, making Okung the highest paid O-lineman in history. Probably. I’m not going to look that up.
Unfortunately Okung fell victim to the Crypto Curse hard. He only had seven starts in 2020 due to injury and is still a free agent halfway through the 2021 season. Getting paid in crypto ain’t shit if you ain’t getting paid. My advice is to buck the curse and convert all crypto into Loonies so you can play for the CFL.
Okung was the first to be paid in Bitcoin, but Sean Culkin did one better: he was the first NFL player to convert his entire salary into Bitcoin. That’s right, a guy who thought he could take Travis Kelce‘s job on the Chiefs decided to risk generational wealth on money that only exists in a computer chip — unlike my solid money that exists in my trusted bank’s computer chip. Wells Fargo would never do anything bad to me, right? Right?
Crypto Curse, bitch! Culkin signed a future contract in February, in April he made the Bitcoin announcement, and in May he was released. Welcome to free agency, you and your crypto portfolio can sit down right here next to me on the bus. Actually, Kelce sort of blows right now so you might want to keep working out. You never know when the Chiefs will decide they want to actually start winning games.
Gronk see Tom, Gronk do Tom. When Tom Brady (more on him in a moment) went hard into crypto, so did Gronk because when your boss tells you to run a route, you run that route. In September, Gronk announced he would be working with cryto brokerage Voyager Digital to shill — I mean promote — cryto investments to the masses. I would actually love Gronk to become a foremost expert in the digital blockchain future of the internet, because he continues to defy all of my expectations for a guy who should have back a back-ectomy at this point of his career.
But then the inevitable happened: Crypto Curse. Week 3 Gronk got injured and it was bad. Like broken ribs and punctured lung bad. He tried to come back last game and left due to back spasms. Sure we sort of all expected it due to his injury history, but he had a strong 2020 season and looked great in the first couple games this year. Plus, we know he’s snorting the TB12 method behind the scenes, but any pliability went out the Windows (does crypto run on Windows?) when he decided to test his fate by throwing his brand into the devilish crypto waters.
Gronk, stick to trying to scam your way into veterans-only auto insurance. Stolen Valor doesn’t have any curse associated with it as far as I know.
Tom Brady has shilled everything from Subway sandwiches to Ariana Grande’s song “7 Rings.” But when he decided to heavily, heavily shill cryptocurrency in all his social media and in loads of primetime commercials during NFL games, I knew that the sheer amount of The Motherfucking Crypto Curse would boom down on his perfectly quaffed hair. This would be the most epic moment of the Crypto Curse, taking down the greatest of all time who tempted the greatest new curse of all time. What would it be? Triple ACL tear? Getting roundhouse face-kicked by Belichick? Drew Brees unretiring??
Answer: he lost a game to the Saints during one of his best statistical seasons. Boom!
…look give the Crypto Curse a second. Time itself can’t take Brady down, so give it a minute ok?
We’re all used to the same old commercials during the only thing we watch on live TV anymore: NFL games (and maybe game 6 of the World Series). Budweiser, GEICO, All State, and ridiculously amazing tempered glass mats so your rolly chairs don’t scuff up your precious garbage-lined floor.
But this year, it’s been crypto commercials everywhere. The NFL, even though they say teams can’t sell sponsorships to crypto firms, is talking out of both sides of its ass by shilling crypto anyway. They’re even officially getting into NFTs, announcing a partnership with Dapper Labs to create collectable GIFs that will all one day be completely destroyed by a solar flare. But until then, give us your money and we’ll give you… an 8-bit sprite of Russell Wilson‘s grossly bent finger? I don’t know, NFTs are weird man. I think I need to finally have children so they can explain it to me.
So it’s no wonder the NFL is having a shitty season from a PR stand point. The Crypto Curse is wreaking havoc on the league, because what else could it be? (certainly not bad management, right?) Dealing with the Delta variant of Covid is already a headache, but then you got the Jon Gruden situation. Which in itself is just a sliver of the controversy waiting to come out of the WFT emails investigation. You got Deshaun Watson sitting out due to awful allegations. You got Urban Meyer getting lap dances. Stars like Derrick Henry and Jameis Winston and Robert Tonyan are out for the season. And now the Aaron Rodgers fiasco on the same day of the Henry Ruggs tragedy.
It’s like a Madden game put the entire NFL on the cover. But it’s worse now. It’s the Crypto Curse. Undeniable evidence that embracing made-up internet money has led directly to the downfall of America’s greatest sport: Fantasy Football. Because Derrick Henry was my entire team this season.
[[Editor’s note: the author of this piece owns and trades Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies all the time and he won’t shut up about it.]]