Peyton Hillis poses for the Madden Cover photo shoot.
Most are aware of the Madden curse and the effects it potentially has on its cover boys every year.
Hillis and the Browns have struggled their way to 3-3 so far this season, and it doesn't seem this team will be making a push for the playoffs. The ground game is ranked 29th in the NFL, averaging just over 90 yards a game, and has two games against both the Baltimore and Pittsburgh defenses remaining on their schedule.
Last season, the fourth-year running back rushed for over 1,100 yards and found the end zone 11 times en route to getting enough fan support to get voted onto the cover of Madden 12. This season, Hillis has only managed to rush for 211 yards in four games and helped the Browns to three losses in his four appearances. His numbers are much less than what the fans in Cleveland expected their star to put up.
Usually, the Madden Curse is known for having their cover boys fall to more serious injuries: Daunte Culpepper’s knee in 2002, Michael Vick’s right fibula in 2004 and Shaun Alexander’s foot in 2007. These events occurred after these player’s faces graced the cover of Madden and knocked them out of multiple games at a time
The combination of small injuries and stalled trade talks with Hillis and the Browns have succeeded in doing what many defenses struggled doing last year: slowing the 6'2", 250-pound running back. With Hillis missing in the backfield, opposing defenses have an easier job of stopping quarterback Colt McCoy's aerial assault.
Now that the trade deadline has come and gone, Hillis will have to overcome his hamstring injury and get himself and the Browns’ ground game back on track in order to regain his title as one of the most brutal rushers in the game and get his team back over .500. Whether or not Hillis can succeed in doing so, NFL and Cleveland fans can feel safe in tallying him as the latest victim of the Madden curse.