Peyton Hillis wins Madden 12 cover vote

Witness! Cleveland has a new -- and most unlikely -- sports icon in Peyton Hillis, who has been voted to the cover of Madden 12. Hillis, the could-be star running back for the Browns, trounced Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick in the final round of EA Sports' five-week, bracket-style cover competition. Hosted in collaboration with ESPN, the vote-driven promotion featured a player representative from 31 one of the NFL's 32 teams and ... the Seahawks fans (who were eliminated in the first round).

Hillis' inspiring run, no doubt propelled by the passionate (desperate?) Cleveland fans that have been aggressively campaigning across social media networks, included defeating Green Bay Packers QB and Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers, the bracket's #1 overall seed. "I didn't think I had a shot," said the humble Hillis during ESPN's "SportsNation" show this afternoon, during which the winner was announced.

Both Hillis and Vick were present on set for segments of the hour-long episode, doing their best to remain composed and engaged in the topics presented by hosts Michelle Beadle and Colin Cowherd, while a countdown timer ticked away. With the lights dimmed, Cowherd excitedly announced that "almost 13 million people voted" before he declared Hillis as the winner. The beefy back was then awkwardly goaded on by the two hosts, and even Vick, to flex his "guns" as the show cut out for the next program.

[Note: Not official cover art.]

This article was originally published on Joystiq.