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Peyton Hillis Believes In Madden Curse; A Brief History Of Those Affected

As a firm believer of the Madden Curse and all of its evils, the desire to say "I told you so!" is strong. But really, it's just a lot easier to feel bad for Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis, who had 1,177 yards in 2010. After being named the Madden NFL 12 cover athlete though, Hillis has had a whole slew of problems. There were issues with his contract, in which many accused him of faking injuries, general ineffectiveness on the field (including reduced carries) and of course, actual injuries.

Hillis has consistently said he doesn't believe in the curse, but he spoke to the media on Thursday and finally admitted that he's stopped being a skeptic and he does, in fact, believe in the curse. "No doubt about it," he said, according to Cleveland.com - "Thing's haven't worked to my favor this year. There's a few things that happened that made me believe in curses. Ain't no doubt about it."

Make the jump for a brief history of the curse.

2000: Barry Sanders announced his retirement, via fax, a week before training camp.

2001: Eddie George fumbled in the playoffs, leading to a Titans loss, and never had more than 3.3 yards per carry for the remainder of his career.

2002: Daunte Culpepper was on the cover and struggled mightily, eventually needing to get knee surgery after the Vikings had a 4-7 record.

2003: Marshall Faulk never rushed for 1,000 yards again after appearing on the Madden cover, and eventually sustained knee injuries that forced his retirement.

2004: Michael Vick appeared on the cover, then broke his fibula in a preseason game just a day after Madden was released. He missed 11 games that season, and of course - the dog fighting happened.

2005: Ray Lewis may have had his worst season to date, playing poorly in pass coverage, not registering an interception, and eventually missed action with a wrist injury.

2006: Donovan McNabb suffered a couple injuries, and would go on to miss seven games on the season. He failed to make the Pro Bowl, for the first time in five years, and hasn't been back there since. That was also one season in which Terrell Owens couldn't stop ... being Terrell Owens

2007: Shaun Alexander had a foot injury after named the MVP, and he missed six games. Then he essentially disappeared from NFL relevance in every way.

2008: Vince Young boasted about the Curse not affecting him (this is coming after tons of fans pleaded with LaDainian Tomlinson to not accept the offer), then suffered long-term injuries and has never recovered, being kicked off the team and relegated to a backup role, following many mental issues and potential suicide attempts.

2009: Brett Favre had his whole retirement saga and then played very poorly for the Jets after being traded, especially down the stretch.

2010: Troy Polamalu and Larry Fitzgerald graced the cover on the 2010 iteration of the game, and the theory is now that the curse only affects one player. Fitzgerald had a fine season, but Polamalu, one of the very best players in the league, only played five games due to knee injuries and the Steelers missed the playoffs just a year removed from winning the Super Bowl.

2011: Drew Brees had a strong season on his own, but the Saints didn't look like the killers they were before, and they lost to the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks in the first round of the playoffs.

For more on the Cleveland Browns, go to Dawgs by Nature. You can also head over to SB Nation's main NFL hub at SBNation.com/NFL.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.