The Philadelphia Eagles are one of the most successful losing franchises of all time. They won back to back championships in 1948 and 1949 when there were only 10 teams in the entire NFL. The last won in 1960 when there were 13 teams in the NFL. In the Super Bowl era, they are 0-2 in the final game of the season. Why bring all of this up? Because Peyton Hillis beat out Mike Vick for the cover of Madden 2012.
Not only did Hillis win, it was practically a landslide victory. Hillis garnered 66% of the vote which is one of the biggest landslide victories since Ronald Reagan was picking out furniture for the Whitehouse.
Hillis had a breakout season in 2010. He rushed for 1177 yards, with a 4.4 yards per carry average, totaling 13 touchdowns. Hillis is a tough runner who had an entertaining highlight reel, but it isn’t anything out of the ordinary for a power back like Marion Barber or Rashard Mendenhall. Jerome Bettis has a more entertaining highlight reel, though his career spanned a much longer period of time.
The question has to be raised. Is Hillis worthy of gracing the cover of Madden? Is this a concerted effort by the fans of the Cleveland Browns to finally win at something… anything! Is this Hillis being a modern day great white hope (in regards to running backs)? Or is this the residue of EA Sports fanegeling the final vote tally because they have reservations about placing a convicted felon and dog fighter on the cover of one of their most popular titles. This is the same organization that put a yellow flag on the cover of Tiger Woods 2012 shortly after Woods’ fall from grace.
I doubt there is a racial component to EA’s involvement, but it wouldn’t surprise me if a company did not want to stamp someone still controversial on the cover of their game. PricewaterhouseCoopers is directly involved in tallying the votes for the Oscars to give the presumption of legitimacy. I’d like to see if EA has the same level of presumed legitimacy.