Peyton Hillis and Cleveland Browns fans everywhere celebrated as he was named the cover boy for Madden 12. However, those cheers have quickly turned to tears, anger and frustration as Hillis has failed to live up to expectations.
Last season, he finished with 1,177 rushing yards and 13 total touchdowns. He was supposed to be the new face of the Browns’ franchise. He was a quiet hard worker who represented the city and people well. This year, he has just 211 rushing yards and two touchdowns in four games and has been anything but quiet.
Legend has it that the Madden Curse is thought to affect a player’s health and on-field performance, but this year is different. Not only has Hillis not been healthy and underperformed, it seems like the public, media and the Fantasy Football world have all turned against him.
In Week 3, Hillis stirred up controversy by sitting out of the game against the Miami Dolphins with a strep throat. It was rumored that he was upset with his contract, so he was instructed by his agent to sit out. This was a popular topic on sports talk shows and social media sites. Only Hillis knows the answer to if he was really ill or sending a message about his contract.
In Week 6, Hillis only ran the ball six times before leaving the game with 11:48 left in the second quarter. It was revealed that Hillis strained his hamstring on his second run of the game and sat on the sidelines for most of the game.
On Halloween night, Hillis was scheduled to show up for a kids Halloween charity event to pass out candy and sign autographs. The name of this event was promoted as “Halloween with Hillis” and proceeds were to go to the Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland. Peyton was a no-show and blamed his absence on miscommunication, which angered former Browns center LeCharles Bentley who organized the function.
After missing the previous two games, Hillis and the Browns were looking forward to his return against the Houston Texans Sunday, but another setback occurred. Hillis aggravated his hamstring in Friday’s practice which will force him to sit out a few more weeks. He clearly isn’t getting any breaks this season.
2011 has been a disaster for Hillis and his situation just seems to snowball, going from bad to worse each week. Every game that he misses or performs poorly in, speculation arises among the fans and media. They question if his heart is in the game and wonder if he is committed to the team. Their speculation is warranted because he was so dominant last year in an offense so similar to last season from a roster standpoint. In fact, Cleveland’s offense should be more talented with the addition of rookie receiver Greg Little and Colt McCoy having a full season under his belt. Apparently their presence is not enough to keep defenders off Hillis, as it appears that he has regressed this season.
Unless Hillis puts up video game-like numbers over the second half of the season, the headline on his 2011 season will read, “The Madden Curse Strikes Again”. As if his illness, hamstring injury and poor performance weren’t enough, Hillis appears to have lost a majority of his supporters. Browns fans, his Fantasy owners, sports writers, football analysts and even children are now upset with him in some way.
Perhaps it’s time that future Madden cover candidates think long and hard about the curse before signing on with EA Sports.
From time to time we like to recognize our hard working interns by letting them shine in the field they aspire to work in. The article above was contributed by Travis Chan who is doing some fine work for us here at RotoExperts. Congratulations Travis, keep up the great work.
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