ESPN.com users have spoken and the face of Madden NFL 12 will be Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis.
Hillis was announced Wednesday as the winner of the fan vote, under way since March 21, on ESPN2’s “SportsNation.” In all, 13 million votes were cast during the process.
The 10th-seeded Hillis overwhelmingly defeated Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, seeded third, garnering 66 percent of the vote in the final of the 32-player bracket and will be on the cover of this year’s version of the popular NFL video game franchise. This is the first year that fans were allowed to vote for the game’s cover.
After he was named the winner, Hillis said he was "excited" and that he didn't think he had a shot against Vick who he has "always looked up to."
Hillis acknowledged the support he has received from Browns fans and said: "I just want to tell them thanks and I'’m going to play my best for them."
Vick said he was happy for Hillis and was proud of how far he made it in the voting.
"My fans, they stuck in there," Vick said. "I made it this far and that’s a plus for me."
Hillis upset higher seeds throughout the vote. Hillis beat Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice (No. 7 seed), Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (No. 2), Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles (No. 6) and No. 1 seeded Green Bay Packers quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers to get to the finals.
Hillis was buoyed by an online campaign that included front-page treatment on the Browns’ website, as well as ongoing Twitter and Facebook campaigns by the team.