I know what you’re thinking, Peyton Hillis for President, or at least, Peyton Hillis for Madden Cover Athlete. I’m here to tell you: Choke your motor Browns Fan.
Believe me, I’m with you. I’d love for Hillis to adorn the cover of the much loved video game title, but am I willing to watch the team—or his career—go in the tank? No, I’m not willing to do that. If Hillis loses the Madden 2012 Tournament for cover athlete, I’m not going to be upset, but elated.
Our inability to promote him to tournament champion does not say that we are lazy voters or apathetic—it says we have gotten wise and are willing to let this one slip away.
Here me out: 12 of the last 12 (two athletes in 2010) cover athletes went on to get either injured or collapsed.
What I am saying is that the team needs Hillis to be competitive this coming season. Peyton is a huge part of our offense statistically, but he also gives the team a “punch you in the mouth and then tear your face off” identity.
We all want the Browns to win, but this is a loss we should happily accept. Be careful what you wish/vote for.
Poster boy from the 2010 Super Bowl, Brees started the year off slow and had everyone thinking, “Super Bowl Hangover.” While there was no tiger, Mike Tyson or random baby, the season had a rather unmemorable ending as the Saints lost to the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks in the opening round of the playoffs.
2010—Troy Polamalu/Larry Fitzgerald
Polamalu, the glue that held Pittsburgh’s defense together, injured his knee in the season opener against Tennessee and only saw action in a handful of games that season. The Steelers went 9-7 and missed the playoffs one season removed from a Super Bowl conquest.
Fitzgerald went on to put up his usually gaudy stats; however, he hurt his knee in the playoffs and missed the seasons Pro Bowl game.
What I believe was to be a conspiracy by EA Sports to break the curse, they awarded a then retired Brett Favre its cover. As the story goes, Favre came back to football as a New York Jet, much to the chagrin of EA curse-breaker (name not confirmed) hopefuls.
The season started off strong as the Jets raced to an 8-3 record, but injuries took over as Brett tore his bicep and New York limped to a 9-7 record missing the postseason.
This season, VY missed one game due to injury and led the team to the playoffs behind a rushing attack that featured LenDale White and Chris Johnson. Problems were only just beginning for Young, though.
The following season he was injured in a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars to open the season and lost his starting job to veteran Kerry Collins. Collins marched the team to a 13-3 record but wound up losing to the Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs. Since then, Vince Young’s life and career has been roller-coaster.
After being named the NFL’s MVP following the previous season, Alexander sustained a crucial foot injury which led to the downfall of his career. He did run for 896 yards, however, averaged only 3.6 yards a touch. Two years later, Alexander was out of football after nine seasons.
A sports hernia and torn ACL highlighted McNabb’s cover season. Since 2005, Donovan had played all 16 games only once. While his stats wouldn’t lead one to assume his career had turned embattled—it has.
He was constantly the topic of discussion for trades when it came to talking Eagles football—especially after the drafting of Kevin Kolb and signing of Michael Vick. McNabb was formally ousted last offseason and struggled mightily under Mike Shanahan in D.C.
Lewis, who had other issues prior to his Madden Campaign in the 2004-05 season, saw his year end prematurely after injuring his wrist in Week 15. Lewis finished the year with one sack, zero interceptions and one forced fumble.
The following season was much worse as he tore his hamstring in the sixth game of the year against the Cleveland Browns.
Where to start. In 2003, Vick broke his leg while being horse-collar tackled in a preseason game and didn't play until week 13. Madden, however, cannot be blamed for his poor decision-making because he missed two full seasons after being locked up at Fort Leavenworth for operating a dog-fighting ring.
Listen to these numbers—1,054, 1,319, 1,381, 1,359 and 1,382. Faulk's rushing stats from 1997-2001. He was even as dangerous a receiver (471, 908, 1,048, 830, 765) in that same time period.
Then, Madden 2003 hit the shelves and so did Faulk's career. He never again rushed for over 1,000 yards nor did he receive for more than 540. A shell of his former self, Faulk retired in 2005 after a series of knee surgeries.
In 2001, Daunte Culpepper absolutely stunk!
After making a deep playoff run the year before, sights were set high for his Minnesota Vikings team. To not help the cause, Culpepper threw 14 touchdowns versus 13 INT's while also losing seven fumbles.
While being criticized his entire career for having small hands, Daunte developed chronic turnover issues that plagued his career. Thankfully, for Vikes fans, they only had to endure 11 games of Culpepper because a knee injury cut his season short.
This first player to ever grace the Madden Cover (previously the cover was always John Madden looking at you as if he'd just eaten six Tur-Duc-Ens at a Brett Favre rally)—the mother of all Madden Curses.
George rushed for 1,509 yards that season, but his meager average of 3.7 a carrier meant a heavy workload. Be it a lack of focus caused by a violent 16 game season, Eddie failed to pull in a pass in a playoff game against the Ravens. The result was an interception returned for a touchdown, swinging the momentum and victory in Baltimore's favor as they defeated George's Titans 24-10.
In the following season, Eddie George averaged a pedestrian three yards a carry and retired after the 2004 season.