With Cleveland Browns power running back Peyton Hillis as the cover athlete of Madden 12, this football video game published by Electronic Arts is scheduled to be released August 30th despite the work stoppage of the NFL. Although it is some three months away, it may bring some football fans some entertainment in the meantime. Admittedly, this has been a lackluster although somewhat entertaining video game for some time now, but without competition from other video games (like the NFL 2K series) and the exodus of the development team, it might be about time for this series to either hit rock bottom or evolve into something more original. I know what I say goes against the grain of many Madden fans out there.
Cleveland Browns Peyton Hillis won as the cover athlete of Madden 12 in a national poll over the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. Peyton Hillis had a breakout season in 2010 after leaving the Denver Broncos. During the regular season, he had 1,177 rushing yards (ranked 11th overall in the league), 4.4 yards per rush (ranked 18th overall in the league) and 11 touchdowns (tied for 6th overall in the league). As a receiver, he also had 477 yards, 7.8 yards per reception and 2 touchdowns to his name. Hillis additionally set a some records in the NFL and for the Cleveland Browns organization. He won the AFC Offensive Player of the Week in week 12 against the New England Patriots with 163 rushing yards, a stellar 6.3 yards per rush, and 2 rushing touchdowns, and he was the first Browns running back since Eric Metcalf in 1992. In week 12 against the Carolina Panthers, he as well as Marshall Faulk as the only players to have 130 yards rushing, 3 touchdowns and 60 yards receiving in a single game. He accomplished all this despite the nagging injuries he had from week 5 against the Atlanta Falcons and later on in the season. He also had to deal with the turmoil of the former head coach Eric Mangini and the trials and tribulations of the Browns young quarterback Colt McCoy.
The Madden Curse afflicts running backs and quarterbacks most harshly, and despite pushing through his injuries from the previous season, Cleveland Browns prized running back Peyton Hillis may not be one to overcome it. In 2001, Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George did make it to the playoffs, but he and his team ultimately lost. With it, his statistics plummeted as he never averaged above 3.3 yards per carry for the rest of his career. In 2003, Marshall Faulk was the cover athlete, and his running back statistics plummeted as he had to contend with knee injuries during from the 2002-2003 season. This powerful St. Louis Rams running back lost his head of steam as he never registered another 1,000 yard season afterward. With Peyton Hillis joining Marshall Faulk’s company statistically in the 2010 regular season, the Madden Curse may lead him to the same fate. Most recently, in 2007, Seattle Seahawks Shaun Alexander, coming off as the previous season’s MVP Player, sustained a foot injury, and like the other running backs that fell before him, his statistics plummeted the following seasons.
This Madden Curse has not been kind to running backs in the past. With the lockout still in effect, Cleveland Browns Peyton Hillis would be best to wish it that way, or otherwise, he may sustain a career-afflicting injury despite his durability and the NFL fans.