Originally posted on This Given Sunday  |  Last updated 11/6/11

When I was a child, I heard stories about Bigfoot, Dracula and aliens, and other myths and curses. It's hard to be scared by a scary story, though, when you know it isn't real. However, there is one curse in life that is VERY REAL: the Madden Curse.

There is simply no escaping the Madden curse. As you'll see in the list below, every player to have graced its cover has been struck down in one form or another. EA Sports tried to objective this year and held a vote to see which player would make the cover of Madden. The people voted and, in a surprise, Hillis’s monster breakout season earned him the cover honors this year. But with those honors came the Curse.

Some chose to ignore this and said the Madden curse is fake and naively drafted him in their fantasy football leagues. Those nonbelievers look pretty silly now.

Before I fill you in on how the Madden curse has hit Hillis hard and in the hammy, I’ll educate those of you who aren’t aware of the Madden curse and what it’s all about.

2001: Eddie George – From that point forward he never gained more then 3.3 yards per carry for the rest of his career.

2002: Daunte Culpepper – Threw 23 interceptions and led his team to a 5-11 record.

2003: Marshall Faulk – Never rushed for over 1000 yards from that point forward and suffered injuries that plagued him for the rest of his career. The Rams drafted Steven Jackson to replace him in 2004.

2004: Michael Vick - Broke his fibula in a preseason game as his team went on to a 5-11 record. Indicted of federal crimes three years later.

2005: Ray Lewis – First season without an interception and suffered recurring injuries that nly allowed him to play 6 games.

2006: Donavan McNabb – Went only 5-5 as a starter and then tore his ACL. Backup QB Jeff Garcia led the Eagles to a 5-1 finish and the NFC East crown. It was the beginning of the end for McNabb in Philly.

2007: Shaun Alexander – Missed 6 games and broke a streak of 5 seasons with double-digit touchdowns.

2008: Vince Young – Missed several games with a knee injury.

2009: Brett Farve – Threw a league-leading 22 interceptions.

2010: Larry Fitzgerald & Troy Polamalu – Fitzgerald's quarterback abruptly retired and Polamalu missed 4.5 games.

2011: Drew Brees – Threw 22 interceptions.

2012: Peyton Hillis

When Hillis was picked to be on the cover he was excited, but unlike those of us who know the curse's wrath, he probably didn’t realize what was coming ahead.

So far 2011 has been no walk in the park for Hillis. He is averaging only 3.5 yards per carry, and has a mere two touchdowns scored in four games. Recently he re-aggravated a hamstring injury which is supposed to cost him 2 games after already missing one earlier in the season.

Hillis has also had issues with his image as there was a report that Hillis missed the game vs the Dolphins because his agent told him to because he is in a contract year. This led to rumblings that Hillis was soft and that he should have played the game. His character took another hit as he apparently missed a charity appearance for what most considered a pretty weak excuse.

Hillis is in a contract year which has caused distractions to the Browns, who have reportedly now said they are willing to let him walk at seasons end. Not exactly the follow-up year Hillis wanted.

Forget about vampires, werewolves and zombies, it would appear the Madden curse is very much alive!

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