Yes, it was a video game that felled the football star. Again.

"Things didn't work in my favor this year," said Cleveland running back Peyton Hillis, who ran for 1,177 yards last season and has just 557 this season.

He knows what went wrong. It wasn't the contract tiff with Browns management, or the medical advice from his agent that had him sit out a game, or the actual hamstring injury that caused him to miss five more games.

It was the Madden Curse.

Winning a nationwide fan vote to be on the cover of Madden NFL 12 was the worse thing that could have happened, Hillis said.

"There's a few things that happened this year that made me believe in curses," he said. "Ain't no doubt about it."

T.O in demand

Former Eagle receiver Terrell Owens may have been ignored by NFL teams this season after coming off knee surgery (and failing that personality transplant), but those that play the pinball indoor version of the game are pounding at his door. In October, the Arena League's Chicago Rush said they made Owens an offer. On Friday, he was reportedly offered a deal by the Allen Wranglers of the the Indoor Football League.

Yeah, we never heard of it, either.

But the Wranglers GM is former Cowboy Drew Pearson, and he says Owens is leaning toward taking the compensation package worth up to $500,000 plus part ownership of the suburban Dallas team.

Since most IFL players earn $225 per game (plus a bonus for winning), T.O. may want to tread lightly when going through the middle.

Hold that pigskin

Here's one clue to the success of the 12-3 San Francisco 49ers: They haven't committed a turnover in their last four games and lead the league in fewest giveaways with 10. If the Niners don't commit a turnover in the season finale at St. Louis on New Year's Day, they will tie the NFL record for fewest turnovers in a season set last year by New England.