Despite the protests of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, admitted dogfighter Michael Vick is one round of voting away from the cover of Madden NFL 12.
The Philadelphia Eagles quarterback will battle Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis for the honor of appearing on the cover of the league’s only licensed football game. Hillis plays for the unheralded Browns so Vick is not only in the finals but could be considered the favorite.
Hillis has received strong support from his hometown faithful. The effort supporting Hillis even has a Facebook page with more than 4,000 supporters. One of the reasons they’re rallying is that Hillis would be the first Cleveland Brown ever featured on the cover. Hillis soundly defeated Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, a no. 1 seed in the voting, which is set up using a March Madness-style tournament bracket.
This year’s Madden is poised to have its fair share of challenges. If Vick wins, the PETA boycott and resulting negative publicity is ready and waiting. The NFL lockout is threatening the 2011 season. Also, two key staff members from EA Tiburon have departed the company.
You can vote your choice for cover athlete at the Sports Nation site. The final round of cover voting ends April 27, with the winner being revealed live on ESPN 2′s Sports Nation.