You can consider the following football players a combination of the Right Said Fred, Vanilla Ice, and/or the Sir Mix-a-Lot of the NFL: the greatest one-hit wonders the league has ever seen. They flashed enormous potential for one season, and then never came anywhere close to that afterwards.
As a bonus, after the one-hit wonder section, we’ve included a list of notable NFL players who were late bloomers. Players who started slow, but finished fast. Spoiler alert, most are Hall of Famers or future Hall of Famers.
Without further delay, here’s our list of the most memorable one-year “flashes in the pan” in NFL history:
When Peyton Hillis arrived in Cleveland prior to the 2010 season, after playing two seasons at fullback for the Denver Broncos, he found himself buried deep on the depth chart behind a hodgepodge of running backs the Browns had collected on their roster. But after a string of injuries to the guys ahead of him, Hills got to start early in the season, and finished the year with 1,177 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns (tied for 6th in the NFL).
But Hills then fell victim to the “Madden Curse,” after he was featured on the cover of the 2012 edition of the popular video game, amidst a string of injuries and squabbles over his contract in 2011. He left Cleveland after the 2011 season, and by the end of the 2014 season, he was out of football.