Patrick Willis is one of four players still in the running to land on the cover of Madden NFL 13, an "honor" apparently tantamount to walking under a ladder, breaking a mirror, spilling salt and having a black cat cross your path - a dozen times - all in the same day. Land on the Madden cover? You might as well inherit a monkey's paw.
Just ask Peyton Hillis. After being on top of the world in 2010, the Browns running back graced the Madden cover and then fell off the map in 2011. After rushing for 1,177 yards in 2010, oft-injured Hillis had only 587 yards post cover. Garrison Hearst, Barry Sanders, Eddie George -- the list goes on and on -- are others who have been affected. As ESPN's Adam Schefter noted, the 2011 curse was so powerful it affected two other Peytons - Manning and Saints coach Sean Payton.
Willis salsa-danced past Giants wideout Victor Cruz in the last round of fan voting. He'll face Carolina quarterback Cam Newton in this round. In the other bracket, it's Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers vs. Detroit wideout Calvin Johnson.
-- Matt Barrows