As Peyton Hillis was rumbling his way through the tournament-style bracket presented by ESPN's SportsNation, a friend asked me, "Are you sure you want to add the 'Madden Cover Curse' to the list of curses Cleveland currently holds?"
We know the list she was referring to all too well: Red Right 88, The Drive, The Fumble, The Shot, The Catch, The Move, The Decision and so on. All have added to the lure of the "Curse of Cleveland." But I don't think you'll find "The Cover" on there anytime soon.
A curse cannot curse a curse.
Someone call Guinness; we're about to witness the world's biggest reverse jinx.
Fearful folklore or not, becoming the Madden cover athlete has almost developed into a rite of passage, a tribute reserved only for the premiere players of the NFL. The cream of the crop—only the crop is filled with the most elite athletes in the world.
Since 1999, the cover athletes have included: Garrison Hearst, Eddie George, Daunte Culpepper, Marshall Faulk, Mike Vick, Ray Lewis, Donovan McNabb, Shaun Alexander, Vince Young, Brett Favre, Troy Polamalu, Larry Fitzgerald and Drew Brees. These are guys who owned the league before their inclusion on the cover. With most of these players, we are not just talking about Pro Bowlers; we are talking about future Hall of Famers.
But despite all their accolades, Peyton Hillis' place on the cover appears to have most significance because was determined by the fans' voice.
Boy, did the fans speak.
Hillis dominated the tournament. He trucked three of the leagues hottest quarterbacks—Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers and Mike Vick—en route to the cover. All three were considered favorites to win the whole thing. Other than his close encounter with Ryan, he won every other match up by over 60 percent, finishing it off with a trouncing of Vick, gaining two-thirds of the vote.
And it couldn't have happened to a cooler guy.
If you need any further proof of his awesomeness beyond this video, check out this exchange in the SportsNation chat on ESPN earlier today:
So. Freaking. Awesome.
I seriously cannot even wrap my head around that.
I hope the fans do not fret about the Madden Curse, but instead basque in the glory of the fact that, in a few months, a bad ass representative of the Browns will be on living room shelves of NFL fans across the country.
With the NFL draft coming up, it has been easy to emphasize on what the team is lacking and what holes need to be filled. It can get mildly depressing thinking about everything we don't have.
Today, we were reminded of what we do have.
For this, plus more, check out my blog: Ten Cent Beers.