Finally the city of Cleveland has something to boast about. The Browns breakout running back, Peyton Hillis, beat Michael Vick to reign victorious and take the honor of being Madden’s 2012 cover athlete. Hillis, a brute at 6’1 240lbs, knocked out 3 quarterbacks and 2 running backs in the Madden competition before taking his crown.
The Madden competition started the third week of March. In round one, Peyton Hillis beat Ray Rice 62% to 38%. A sweet victory for Browns fans, and a momentum gainer for Hillis. Next contender was Matt Ryan, QB of the Atlanta Falcons. Ryan was Hillis’s toughest competitor, but Hillis squeaked past Ryan with 2 points, 51% to 49%. Third round contender Jamaal Charles, KC Chiefs running back, didn’t even faze Peyton Hillis. Hillis cruised past Charles with a 20 point victory 60%-40%. Next round, the Semi-Finals, is where Hillis really made a name for himself. Up against Aaron Rodgers, the stud Quarterback from Green Bay, most fans thought Hillis had a good run and it was time to retire. Surprisingly, Hills smoked Rodgers 61% to 39%. Then came the final round. Then came Michael Vick.
I don’t know if people just don’t like Michael Vick, or if Browns fans everywhere came together and rallied to a common cause. The 25 year old former Arkansas running back absolutely dominated Vick by 66 points. Watching on ESPN.com, Peyton looked stunned, but not surprised. With his country accent, he humbly accepted the honor and shook hands with his contender. Michael Vick embraced Hillis and congratulated him. Vick played it off well, but you could see he was disappointed. (Probably because Vick just realized he is forfeiting a fat endorsement bonus by not being selected to Madden’s cover)
So, now comes the question of the Madden curse. The last 10 Madden winners all suffered season ending injuries or they underperformed. Last season Hillis ran for 1177 yards, had 11 touchdowns, caught 67 passes, and averaged 4.8 yards/carry. Will his performance be affected? As a Cleveland Browns fan, I certainly hope not.