It’s a prestigious honor for any professional football player to be chosen to grace the cover of the EA Sports top selling sports game, Madden. Last year, Drew Brees graced the cover, this year, that honor belonged to the most unlikely of players, Peyton Hillis.
If you don’t know who Peyton Hillis, shame on you and you’re probably getting taken to the woodshed in your fantasy league…Don’t worry, you’re not alone on both fronts. For those who do know Peyton Hillis they know him as the giant-of-a-man running back that tore up the NFL last season.
The story of Peyton Hillis is a great one, it’s a story of superstar that couldn’t be held down. Hillis suffered an injury to his hamstring in 2008, his rookie season, but still lead the Broncos in rushing with 343 yards and 5 touchdowns in his limited time. The following season saw Hillis buried on the bench under Josh McDaniels leadership. Finally, in 2010 Hillis would get his opportunity playing with the Cleveland Browns and his star shined as bright as ever.
The 2011 season Hillis had was one big highlight reel of his power and dominance. The way he ran over people made you want to hide the women and children. He ran for 144 yards against the Ravens defence and Hillis set career marks in both rushing and all-purpose yards against the New England Patriots in Week 9, finishing the game with 184 rushing yards and 220 yards of total offense. He would later be named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for Week 9 becoming the first Cleveland Browns running back to win that honor since Eric Metcalf in 1992.
The accolades kept coming, In week 12, Hillis joined Marshall Faulk as the only players to have achieved more than 130 yards rushing, 3 rushing touchdowns, and 60 yards receiving in a single game.
Hillis joined exclusive company as the first white running back since Craig James to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season.
The fans voted Hillis to grace the cover of Madden 12 over Michael Vick. Both would have been deserving of the award. Surely Vick doesn’t mind, he’s already been subject to the Madden Curse, but Hillis was certainly a worthy choice.