As some of you may know, this year EA let the fans decide who would grace the covers of Madden NFL 12. On March 21, 2011, EA posted a bracket style 32-player tournament for fans to vote and decide who would appear on the cover for the 2012 edition of Madden. The winner was announced yesterday on ESPN’s SportsNation. As the title says, Peyton Hillis, the white (gasp!) running back for the dismal Cleveland Browns beat out new-poster-boy-for-redemption-stories Michael Vick, the quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. Now some people including IGN, made a fuss over the final two players. Hillis, who burst onto the national scene last year for being a 1000 yard white running back, has in three years, compiled 1,574 rushing yards and 17 TD’s. He has had one good year (last year). So this is somewhat a valid complaint.
Vick’s “problem” on the other hand is of course his dog fighting past which landed him in a federal prison for 18 months before he made a miraculous comeback last season after warming the bench a year earlier. If he was picked, it would a supposed “PR nightmare.” A convicted felon on the cover of Madden! Oh no! Please people. I am tired of people riding Vick. He has paid his debt to society. It’s time to move on. Hey don’t get me wrong, I don’t condone what he did, and I love dogs as well (I have two). But no matter what, a dog’s life is not equal to that of a human’s. He didn’t murder anybody. And I’m going to say it one more time for emphasis. He paid his debt to society.
Now let’s get back to Hillis. The major complaint is that his statistics weren’t elite, which is normally “required” of a Madden cover athlete. However, the fans voted, and they chose Hillis. End of story. It is possible that part of the reason he won was due to the fact that he is white. I do think him being white definitely excited some people because let’s be honest, how often do you see a white running back succeed? I can even see some people saying, “A white running back on the cover of Madden? Hell yeah!” Personally, I don’t care if Hillis is white. Some people always try to make things like this into a race issue (the white guy beat out the black guy). For the record, I voted for Vick.
Now let’s try to be logical and find some other reasons for Hillis winning. Perhaps Cleveland fans came out in mass to support their man. Cleveland sports might suck but they have some of the most loyal fans. Or perhaps people like rooting for the underdog (this is very true of American sports fans). But in reality, what does any of this matter? Who cares if Hillis won? Who cares if Vick had won? Patrick Hruby, a frequent contributor to ESPN.com, wrote an article that sums up my feelings about this “issue”: it’s a video game people, chill. I highly suggest you read it; there are some great points and links to other articles. In the grand scheme of things, the cover athlete of Madden 12 doesn’t affect my life or yours. And by this time next year, people will be clamoring for Madden 13. Until next time people…