In an article by Jodie Valde of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Browns RB Peyton Hillis accepts the Madden Curse:
"No doubt about it," Hillis finally admitted Thursday. "Things haven't worked to my favor this year. There's a few things that happened that made me believe in curses. Ain't no doubt about it."
And with Hillis now giving credit to the so-called curse, here are the Top 5 Madden Curses since it began in 1999.
Last season Peyton Hillis became the talk of the town in pro football.
His biceps had a mind of their own and the feet decided to leap over oncoming defenders as opposed to running them over. The 2010 NFL season was the exception for Cleveland's new Brahma Bull.
The man finished with over 1,600 total yards, 13 TDs and averaged 6.1 yards every time he caught or ran with the rock.
Then the 2011 NFL season happened and Hillis is on a downward spiral.
Playing in just nine games through 16 weeks, Hillis has accounted for just 690 total yards and three TDs.
Thanks to sickness, injuries and contract disputes, Peyton Hillis has sunk fast and the NFL lockout didn't help either. A team with a new head coach trying to implement a complex system—the invariable odds could not be more against Hillis having success.
Now, this is not to say that he can't bounce back in 2012 as players have before. But with the current talent level, coaching staff and lack of confidence, don't be surprised if 2010 remains as his best season.
With Rams RB Marshall Faulk, the Madden Curse took time to really settle in.
It was more like a gradual decline with no chance of improvement.
In the 2001 NFL season, Faulk had accumulated 2,147 total yards and accounted for 21 TDs. The following season, Faulk rushed for under 1,000 yards for the first time since 1996 and scored just eight rush TDs.
As for receiving, he gained just 537 yards and scored two TDs. With most other NFL RBs these numbers would be acceptable, but this is Marshall Faulk and he's held to a much higher standard.
Each year kept getting worse.
In 2003 he rushed for 818 yards then for only 774 in 2004. Both years combined he had scored just 13 TDs on the ground. Now, obviously his aging didn't help either since RBs take such a beating in pro football.
However, Marshall could have went out with much more productive numbers, but the so-called curse got the best of his knees.
The 2004 NFL season was the best of Donovan McNabb's career.
31 TDs to just eight picks, a 64.0 completion percentage, almost 3,900 passing yards, a rating of 104.7 and a trip to the Super Bowl.
Then 2005 happened and he threw just 34 TDs over the next two years combined. Playing in only nine games in 2005, the Philadelphia Eagles missed the playoffs for the first time since 1999.
Donovan would get back to the NFC title game in 2008, but that would be his last year playing a full season. No other season would come close to that of 2004 as that was the only time he hit over 30 TD passes.
Playing in just 10 games in 2006, it would resemble a time of things to come. Age appears to have caught up with him; McNabb has just played in 19 games over the past two seasons.
Although injuries are never fortunate, better that he was younger when injured as he could recover faster. The real unfortunate part was that McNabb has really lost his ability to scramble.
After the 2000 NFL season, Daunte Culpepper experienced a year where the Minnesota Vikings came within one game of the Super Bowl.
They lost the NFC title game to the New York Giants. However, Culpepper had thrown for almost 4,000 yards and had 33 TDs to just 16 picks, as well as a 62.7 completion percentage.
The next two seasons would be dismal.
His 2002 and 2003 seasons combined for 32 TDs, 36 picks and 23 fumbles. Culpepper did bounce back though and had an excellent 2004 season in throwing for 39 TDs to just 11 picks and over 4,700 yards. Perhaps (if you believe in curses) that year was the curse giving him one more good and final send off.
Because since 2005, Culpepper has never seen time in more than eight games in a season. Injuries started to pile up with age and before we knew it, Culpepper was out of pro football.
Although Michael Vick, as we have seen, would bounce back from the Madden Curse and his off the field issues, one could argue that the karma downfall began in 2003.
Vick's 2002 season was spectacular.
He threw for almost 3,000 yards, ran for another 777 and accounted for 24 total TDs. That same year, Atlanta came within two games of the Super Bowl.
The following preseason, Vick got injured and ended up missing 11 games.
The Falcons lost 11 games that year and were 3-2 when Vick played. 2004 wasn't much better for stats either as Vick threw 13 picks and fumbled 13 times. Another postseason loss to Philly kept them from the Super Bowl.
A few years later the dog-fighting scandal happened and Michael Vick was an Atlanta Falcon no more.
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