For the last month, SportsNation has been conducting a bracket style poll in partnership with EA Sports to determine the cover star for Madden 2012. The Madden cover may be one of the biggest deals in sports video games due to the prestige of the honor... and the curse that goes along with it. Each team was given a player as a representative (except the Seahawks who were given The 12th Man, ha!) and players advanced by winning each individual matchup. Now, the competition is down to the final two - Michael Vick and Peyton Hillis. I'm not making this up. I know you're looking for some real analysis of how this matchup breaks down, so before we make fun of the whole thing, here's what ESPN's gaming blog has to say...
"... thanks to an online campaign by the Cleveland Browns and a city looking for a spark of positivity in an era that's been defined by the words: "I'm taking my talents to South Beach," Peyton Hillis is not only in the finals, he has a real shot at winning the ultimate prize in the world of video games -- posing for the "Madden NFL 12" cover.
... Could we see animal rights groups gather online to provide the anti-Vick vote, swinging the election towards Hillis? Could happen, as the combination of Cleveland fans and anti-Vick voters could put Hillis over the top in this one, giving fans one of the most shocking cover athletes in EA Sports history."
Or, it could just be a majority of people wanting to have fun at the expense of the legitimacy of this process. How many people are voting Vick for the ironic humor in seeing Michael Vick, say it with me, Michael Vick, as the face of the NFL once again. Or wanting to just vote against PETA. On the other side, you have the laughability of seeing the NFL's 11th leading rusher on the Madden cover. But, hey, I hear he has a great online campaign. Thanks to the good people of EA for not just plastering Aaron Rodgers on the cover and giving us some entertainment during the lockout. What I want to know though, is how to market this matchup for the primetime theater it should be. Here's some ideas...
NFL's Leading Fumbler vs NFL's Leader In Jailtime Served
Wait, How Did Tebow Get In This Bracket?
Dawg Pound Seeks Revenge Against Vick (that one and many others like it write themselves)
At Least He's Better Than Danny Woodhead vs At Least He's Not O.J.