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Peyton Hillis stares down the Madden curse

EA Sports Madden NFL 12 Photo Shoot Getty Images

Browns running back Peyton Hillis will be on the cover of the new Madden game.  But Hillis doesn’t believe that the honor amounts to a curse.

I don’t believe in curses,” Hillis told Joe Brescia of the New York Times.  “I could get hurt next year, but I don’t believe it has anything to do with the curse.  I’m a Christian man and I don’t believe anything could be put in front of me that God can’t take away.  I would love to prove everyone wrong and have an exceptional year and not get hurt.”

But that’s precisely how a curse can become something tangible.  This year, Hillis will be thinking about “prov[ing] everyone wrong,” by not getting hurt.  And plenty of guys get hurt when they specifically are trying not to get hurt.

So even though there’s no such thing as a Madden curse, Hillis’ desire to prove that there is no Madden curse could, in a roundabout way, become a Madden curse.

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58 Responses to “Peyton Hillis stares down the Madden curse”
  1. 52sackmachine says: May 7, 2011 11:55 PM

    Every player at some point on the cover, got hurt. Maybe not enough to knock them out for the season. It’s all part of the game. I agree with Hillis , and also don’t buy into believing in curses, especially the Madden Curse.

  2. bender4700 says: May 7, 2011 11:57 PM

    The Curse has faded. Brees finished the season as the starter, they ended the year in the playoffs.

    Fitz had a pretty normal year the year before didn’t he? Troy did have issues but wasn’t that bad.

    Favre did finish the year being eliminated from playoff contention in week 17. That’s a pretty good year. He had injuries, but when doesn’t he?

  3. nyjalleffingday says: May 8, 2011 12:02 AM

    Far as i’m concerned, a curse and a god have about the same degree of believability.

  4. RussianBreadMaker says: May 8, 2011 12:04 AM

    Who is this guy?

  5. redmosquito16 says: May 8, 2011 12:10 AM

    “I’m a Christian man…”

    Should’ve just said “I’m an ignorant dolt who believes in imaginary, unproven nonsense”.

  6. cornellsteelers says: May 8, 2011 12:15 AM

    His fate is sealed.

  7. gdeli says: May 8, 2011 12:16 AM

    this is so stupid! football is a violent game. i would be surprised if he could go thru the entire season NOT getting injured.

  8. yahmule says: May 8, 2011 12:22 AM

    Mike getting all psychoanalytical with it.

    Peyton will crush the curse just as he crushed Josh McDaniels’ credibility.

  9. freedomispopular says: May 8, 2011 12:26 AM

    Perhaps this year’s Madden curse will be manifested in the lack of a season.

  10. lumas101 says: May 8, 2011 12:38 AM

    He’ll have plenty of time to not believe in the Madden Curse while he’s on I-R after he gets hit by the Madden Curse.

  11. pioliforprez says: May 8, 2011 12:51 AM

    are we sure that peyton hillis and tim tebow aren’t the same person??

  12. stairwayto7 says: May 8, 2011 1:04 AM

    So the Browns miss playoffs again so does that make the Madden curse continue??

  13. eja642 says: May 8, 2011 1:21 AM

    How does someone believe in God, but discount curses completely?

  14. 4d9erdynasty5 says: May 8, 2011 1:53 AM

    And why is this guy on the cover of madden. I thought only superstars get on the cover. I know he ran people over last year, but come on!

  15. oldbrowndawg says: May 8, 2011 2:01 AM

    Cleveland has already had its share of curses, the most notable of which was the pathetic megalomaniac Art Modell. Enough of this nonsense! Peyton Hillis is a tough young running back and GM Tom Heckert has promised to get him help in the backfield this year so he doesn’t wear down. That, and not some silly “curse” crap, will help him avoid injury. Geez, don’t y’all have anthing REAL to write about?

  16. scytherius says: May 8, 2011 2:26 AM

    HE is on the cover???? Wow. THAT makes no sense.

  17. edgerinn says: May 8, 2011 2:46 AM

    Hillis had one season that was promising more than elite. If he drops off significantly from that he may have trouble even starting.

    On the bright side maybe we can stop hearing about “the curse” if he breaks out. Usually the guys on the Madden cover have nowhere to go but down.

  18. king3319 says: May 8, 2011 3:14 AM

    I’m a Raider fan…but the idiot coach who was in Denver was such an idiot letting this talented man go!!! I just wish Al would have snatched him up he would’ve looked great o the cover of Madden in silver n black!!!

  19. androk23 says: May 8, 2011 4:22 AM

    The past couple Madden cover players havent gotten hurt, so….

  20. samyooehl says: May 8, 2011 5:15 AM

    This article would have worked better simply as an angry photo of Peyton.

  21. doggz109 says: May 8, 2011 5:56 AM

    Hillis is too much of a badass for the curse.

  22. adsbad28 says: May 8, 2011 6:25 AM

    screw the so called madden curse

  23. adsbad28 says: May 8, 2011 6:27 AM

    madden curse is for losers like Erin Rodgers spelled like the BITCH that he is..

  24. bubbabart says: May 8, 2011 8:20 AM

    adsbad28…is that Steeler sour grapes I’m detecting??

  25. prmpft says: May 8, 2011 8:33 AM

    FFB NOTE: drop Hillis – pick up Hardesty…

  26. philwauke says: May 8, 2011 8:51 AM

    He lives in Cleveland! Isn’t that curse enough?

  27. j0esixpack says: May 8, 2011 8:57 AM

    There is no Madden Curse. That’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard.

    When Hillis goes down with injury it will be the Cleveland Browns curse only.

  28. dryheaveone says: May 8, 2011 9:02 AM

    jeeze, yet another Bible Thumper…….watch out Hillis, if you aren’t a good boy the, “man upstairs” is gonna GETCHA’…..(not to mention, Santa Claus won’t give you any presents this year)

  29. nukaten says: May 8, 2011 9:12 AM

    Whatchu talkin bout Hillis?

    the kid is right though, you either believe in God, or you believe in nonsense curses. you are either with him or against him

  30. jcusa514 says: May 8, 2011 9:16 AM

    as soon as i saw his quote about god, i knew there would be comments ripping hillis about it. i’m not a religious person, but i find it hypocritical when people insult another man for being religious. these same people probably go out and preach diversity and tolerance too.

  31. MichaelEdits says: May 8, 2011 9:35 AM

    A year without the NFL could be a Madden curse

  32. king3319 says: May 8, 2011 9:35 AM

    Adabad… You mean Aaron? C’mon man if your gonna slam the dude at least get his name right

  33. goawayeverybody says: May 8, 2011 9:44 AM

    Is it the player who is cursed or the team of which he is a part? Last season, Drew Brees didn’t seem particularly cursed and he played extremely well in the playoff loss. But his team certainly was cursed with injuries and missed field goals at crucial times.

    What I’m getting at is this: should I still draft Peyton Hillis for my fantasy team or is he individually cursed?

  34. DarthHoodie says: May 8, 2011 9:53 AM

    I agree Peyton H’s season was more promising than elite. The Browns need multiple threats on offense and that is why Hillis burned down towards the end last year. The West Coast offense is supposed to set up the run through passing. We will if that is the case. I think the Browns are still dangerously thin at running back.

  35. dawgpoundking says: May 8, 2011 9:59 AM

    Madden Curxe + Cleveland Curse = Playoffs

  36. turbodog1027 says: May 8, 2011 9:59 AM

    There was no supposed “madden curse” last year. Brees had a great year as usual. Only weak people believe in such nonsense.

  37. ernestbynershands says: May 8, 2011 10:07 AM

    Hollis should worry less about the Madden curse and worry more about the Cleveland curse.
    A porous O line, no other offensive weapons, and alot of touches will injure a back more certainly than the Madden curse.
    Hills is THE choice for the cover. Is there another player who is more of a Madden type of player?

  38. steelertom says: May 8, 2011 10:20 AM

    Wait. What?!!!

  39. ernestbynershands says: May 8, 2011 10:20 AM

    To all Non-Cleveland fans:
    Peyton Hillis is on the cover because fans could vote for the cover star. No other fan base can approach the Browns in terms of supporting their team and players like this. Raiders fans aren’t smart enough to type or can’t get Internet in prison.
    As a NE Ohio native I can tell you there is not much else to there on weekends. Saturday watch the Buckeyes, Sunday watch Browns. Most other cities, people go to the beach, the mountains, etc on the weekend. The Browns are basically the option there. That’s how he won the cover.

  40. mrfrostyj says: May 8, 2011 10:30 AM

    I love how people like to talk about how Hillis has had one good season. How unwatchable were Broncos games that people completely forgot his rookie season?

    The only “Curse” coming from Madden is the fact that people will sit and wait for a guy to get hurt and then blame it on being on the cover of Madden. A good majority of NFL players get hurt because it’s FULL CONTACT FOOTBALL. Hillis got hurt last year so can we blame that on the Madden Curse?

  41. dench81 says: May 8, 2011 10:34 AM

    2000 on the cover is Barry Sanders. Sanders retires and never plays in 2000.

    2001, Eddie George. Bobbles a pass in the playoffs that gets returned for a touchdown. Career went downhill from there. Career low in yards per carry.

    2002, Daunte Culpepper. Tore out his knee. Career basically over.

    2003, Marshall Faulk. Hobbled through this year with a bad ankle. Killing everyone who took him #1 in their fantasy team. Was below 1,000 yards rushing for first time in 4 years. Rams missed playoffs.

    2004, Michael Vick. Shatters fibula one day after game hits stores.

    2005, Ray Lewis. Suffers hamstring injury that forces him to miss games. Some injury occurs to his wrist. First year with no ints. And the Ravens don’t make the playoffs.

    2006, Donovan McNabb. McNabb gets a sports hernia injury in the first game. But he plays on, only to be reinjured against the Cowboys and forced to miss the rest of the season. Eagles miss playoffs.

    2007, Shaun Alexander. Breaks foot three weeks into the season. Never really heard from again.

    2008, Vince Young. Hurt his quad. Missed first game…EVER. We see what happened to his career.

    2009, Brett Favre. Retired, unretired. Had to change his jersey. Led league in interceptions, Hurt his arms and the Jets failed to make the playoffs.

    2010, Larry Fitzgerald and Troy Polamalu. Larry does great, no worries. Troy hurts his MCL in the first half of the first game. Then misses games. Comes back and hurts PCL. Misses even more games. Troy only plays in 5 games that year.

    2011, Drew Brees. Plays with fracture and torn meniscus in his knee. Hits highs in interceptions, doubling his total from the prior year. Saints fail to beat the lowly Seahawks in their playoff meeting.

  42. sharkcatcher says: May 8, 2011 10:42 AM

    Remind me again how many championships the Cleveland Browns have again? ( From a Raider fan- choke on that that)

  43. fbman says: May 8, 2011 10:43 AM

    If you think he’s gonna play to not get hurt than you haven’t watched him play before.

  44. scytherius says: May 8, 2011 11:09 AM

    @redmosquito16

    Well said! He doesn’t believe in curses but he believes in a magic man in the sky? Idiot.

    @ernestbynershands

    Ah. Thanks. I was wondering.

  45. dave1961 says: May 8, 2011 11:31 AM

    Peyton Hillis is Cleveland’s beast and everybody else’s burden. He is the American story of football right now. A hard working, god fearing athlete, benched by the Denver Broncos, and shipped via trade as an afterthought to Cleveland. Ohio to join the Browns.

    I am sure that if you ask Peyton Hillis about the Cleveland fanbase he will tell you he loves the city. Where else can you go from a seldom used fullback to the Cover of Madden in a single year? I dare say even in Cleveland, every DAWG has their Peyton Hillis.

    As far the curse of Cleveland, I will tell you the dirty little secret of how the curse thrives. It is simply a struggling city and fans falling into the grips of letting negative media define them as a people, a team and a city. ESPN’s reel of shame has been drilled into the fan’s heads and their faces rubbed the dirt of the past failures of our sport’s teams.

    Local media outlet’s see that a negative spin and the mistreatment of a fanbase can sell and deliver ratings. What other city in football would allow a past rival Denver Broncos fan rudely hanging up on Cleveland fans in their own city and use that as a source of entertainment for ratings? Cleveland fans deserve so much more for showing up 46 years without a title.

    Even our only local paper, the Cleveland Plain Dealer features a guy named Tony Grossi who has been going hard after Tom Heckert’s big trade on draft night, against fans wishes. Grossi accused Heckert of being afraid to draft in the top ten and saying he’s only comfortable drafting in the 20s. It’s a total lie because he drafted potential probowler Joe Haden at no.7 the year before, but lies sell in Cleveland. A fanbase weary of losing has given too much power to the media. ESPN, the Cleveland PD, the Grossi’s or a Denver’s lost fan, should not be in a position to define our city by mistreating the fanbase. This is what is at the core of curse, like a tornado destroying hopes and dreams in our city.

    The light at the end of the tunnel is, that inspite of these negative forces that drive away free agents and big name coaches, is that one man had the courage to say yes to Cleveland. He truly is a real football man that enjoys the real challenge of the game. The Big Show …Mike Holmgren. He immediately hired perhaps the brightest GM available to rebuild the Cleveland Browns through the draft. Though it’s the greatest challenge in the NFL, the rewards have no ceiling. Free agents that truly love football should be attracted to this challenge.

    For all the media in Cleveland that engage in going hard after a great front office, please give us a break. The game belongs to the fans. It came from our backyard and you are just caretakers. When will it be time in Cleveland that fans are treated with the respect they deserve for waiting patiently for a championship?

    It’s quite embarrassing that the biggest story of draft night happened in our backyard, between Cleveland and Atlanta, and our media totally whiffed on the draft coverage for it’s fanbase. We learned of the trade through national media because our media was too busy bashing our team and our fans. Sad, but the dirty secret of the Cleveland curse, or any curse for that matter, is negative forces having too much power.

    To all my fellow fans that love the city of Cleveland and your teams, stay away from the valley of negativity and reach for the mountain tops of victory. It’s okay to be hopeful and dream for championships. Ignore the voices of doomday sayers. You, the fans define your city, not any talk show host or ESPN analysist. Jon Gruden didn’t come to Cleveland because he didn’t have the confidence that he could get the job done.

    Cleveland’s Championship will come in the footsteps of giant men in football. The kinda stuff legend’s are build out of, like Holmgren, Heckert and players like Hillis, McCoy, Watson, Haden and Ward, Joe Thomas Eric Stenibach, and new draftees, Phil Taylor and Jabaal Sheard. Visionary picks like Marecis, Cameron and Skrines.

    So a final thanks to a man who wasn’t afraid to say yes….He’sputting his legacy on the line for Cleveland, Ohio … and I believe, together we shall overcome… “The Curse”! God Bless the greatest fanbase in the world and the great city! God bless Cleveland Ohio where fans never die and people fight for their teams.

  46. Bubby Brister says: May 8, 2011 11:45 AM

    Drew Brees may not have gotten hurt but I think losing to the worst playoff team of all time constitutes as a part of a curse.

    Seriously, though, usually the person on the cover A) was a great player the year before B) went to the playoffs

    So as long as the player gets hurt, has a much less spectacular season, misses the playoffs or loses in the playoffs in a bad way, you can misconstrue it into being the curse’s fault. The only way you could end this thing is by winning the Super Bowl. It should really be called the Lofty Expectations curse.

    And let me tell you right now, nobody should be shocked when a fullback from Cleveland, who only played the easiest position to succeed at in the game out of necessity, doesn’t live up to lofty expectations next year.

  47. dave1961 says: May 8, 2011 11:46 AM

    As you can tell I’m quite the homer. I just have one simple dream in life, that before I met my maker, I can witness a championship just once. It would mean everything to me and millions like me in Cleveland, Ohio….

    I will never apologize for being a Clevelander and I am proud that our city fought back and told Art Model you can’t take our history, our team or our dreams away from us and get away with it. You might be able to do that to other cities, but not in Cleveland, Ohio… you can’t steal our team outta of our backyard and think we won’t get right up in your face and take back what is ours to begin with.

    To the football players and the NFL…. I hope the fans hold you both accountable for your greedy impulses. You play game for money and you can because seals 6 unit keeps our country safe. It’s preety sad to watch the courts being used for greed when Americans are struggling to keep their homes and feed their kids… How do you sleep at night with that Jerry Jones?

  48. captainwisdom8888 says: May 8, 2011 12:34 PM

    Just go to youtube and watch the “Peyton Hillis Unstoppable” video…I am nowhere near a Browns fan but that clip made me believe I could run through a wall.

  49. nepats12 says: May 8, 2011 12:39 PM

    sharkcatcher – i think cleveland has eight championships, but i leave it to the browns’ fan to correct that. more than the raiders, surely. good try though.

  50. trickbunny says: May 8, 2011 12:47 PM

    sharkcatcher says:
    May 8, 2011 10:42 AM

    Remind me again how many championships the Cleveland Browns have again? ( From a Raider fan- choke on that that)
    ————————————————
    How many “championships” have the Browns won?

    Eight.

    (From a Browns fan- suck on that.)

  51. mrfrostyj says: May 8, 2011 12:54 PM

    Technically Nepats12 the Browns have 4 NFL titles which is still more than the Raiders but all together the Browns 8 Titles (counting the 4 before joining the NFL) does trump the Raiders 4 (which includes 1 AFL title).

    Either way its an arguement of two teams that haven’t seen a playoff in almost a decade.

  52. chargersfan4life says: May 8, 2011 12:56 PM

    I, love that Hillis stands up for what he believes in few people do that.

  53. welzy says: May 8, 2011 1:23 PM

    Is there a way to count how many Packer fans voted for Hillis when he was up against Rodgers?

  54. kilo0986 says: May 8, 2011 1:37 PM

    Polamalu missed 11 games after being on the cover of madden… how is that “not bad”?

  55. audient says: May 8, 2011 1:55 PM

    How many players get hurt every year that were NOT on the cover of Madden?

    Injuries are part of the game, part of many (if not most) careers of pro football players.

    And to confirm: Browns have 8 pro football titles: 4 with the NFL, 4 with the AAFC. The Browns were founded in 1946 and then won the AAFC title in ’46, ’47, ’48 and ’49. The AAFC then folded and the Browns (together with the 49ers and the Colts (different franchise by the same name) joined the NFL. And in 1950, the Browns won the NFL championship in their very first year in the NFL. The Browns won it again in ’54, ’55 and ’64.

  56. prmpft says: May 8, 2011 2:33 PM

    dryheaveone –
    you’re gonna regret that one day – just sayin’…

  57. ArtModellsPimp says: May 8, 2011 3:05 PM

    @dave1961…

    Great post, dude.

    Cleveland Browns fans are the most villified, but loyal fans in the country. Yes, even more loyal that the Steelers’ fans. After all, it’s very easy to jump on and off the bandwagon of successful programs…and I take nothing away from the Steelers, in that regard.

    Being a Browns fan is not for wimps, that’s for certain.

    And you’re right about Grossi, too. He’s a bad joke, and not worth reading.

  58. granadafan says: May 9, 2011 5:10 PM

    Now he’s done. It’s one thing to ignore The Curse, but to openly mock and defy The Curse? Wow, Hillis has stones the size of beach balls. I look forward to wathing him this year if only the Browns were on national TV.

    PS, anyone who gets this worked up over a video game are tools. The marketing guys at EA Sports are laughing at all the free publicity you chumps are giving them.

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