Peyton Hillis Riding White Running Back Mystique to Madden Cover Vote Semis

Unlike past years when the cover of the popular John Madden football video game was selected by EA Sports, this year they chose to have the cover determined by a vote. Sports Nation has hosted a 32-player March Madness-style tournament (one athlete per team) to determine who will end up on the cover of the game. They’re down to the semifinals and the four remaining players are Aaron Rodgers, Michael Vick, Adrian Peterson, and Peyton Hillis. Ask yourself one question: which athlete does not belong?

In that group, we have a Super Bowl MVP, the MVP runner up, a four-time Pro Bowler, and a guy who has 1,574 career yards and 17 touchdowns. The guy with the fewest accolades out of that group is by far Peyton Hillis.

Don’t get me wrong, Peyton Hillis was pretty outstanding last year until getting hurt, but he really doesn’t belong with those three just yet. Those other three guys are stars in the game while Hillis has had one good year. And his one good year wasn’t even as good as say, Arian Foster’s one good year. So how did he end up in the semifinals of this tournament?

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Peyton Hillis Says Broncos Discriminated Against Him, Wouldn’t Let Him Run the Ball

One of the surprise stories of 2010 in the NFL was Browns running back Peyton Hillis. Since the Broncos traded him to Cleveland for Brady Quinn last offseason, Hillis has run with a purpose.  Despite carrying the ball only 17 times through the first two games of 2010, Hillis finished the year with 1177 rushing yards, nearly 500 yards receiving, and 13 total touchdowns.  Why is it that Denver traded such a beast?

Back in December, rumors were swirling that Mark Schlereth told 104.3 The Fan that the Broncos unloaded the running back because he hit on Josh McDaniels’ wife, but there was soon plenty of reason to doubt those claims.  Hillis gave the Dan Patrick Show a much different reason on Wednesday — discrimination.

In Denver, they just wanted me to play strictly fullback, nothing else. I wasn’t too happy about the situation, but I was trying to be a team player. I just wanted to be on the field. It ended up I didn’t play anything at all.”

“Every team did it,” Hillis said. “They’ll say, ‘You white boy, you ain’t gonna run on us today. This is ridiculous. Why are you giving offensive linemen the ball?’

It’s no secret that white running backs are rare in the NFL.  There are a number of theories as to why — none of which are even worth getting into on this platform.  Whatever the case, the Broncos look awfully silly for dumping Hillis and even sillier for giving up a draft pick for Laurence Maroney, a.k.a. Pippy Long Stocking.