Madden has found its cover athlete, and he doesn’t play for a historically great team, has played for very few seasons, and isn’t even a household name. He is the one and only Peyton Hillis. Not popping off the page, exactly, is it? It isn’t the eye-catching finale the corporate suits at EA were hoping for, but now it is the reality they must face as a consequence for their decision: having the audacity to trust the internet.
Beginning last month in the haze of March Madness, EA Sports in association with ESPN’s Sportsnation program brought the decision of the next cover athlete to fans in the form of an enormous 32-man bracket. Every team received equal representation via one of their more viable stars. Hillis, the Cleveland Browns athlete selected, was little more than an afterthought, earning a low seed in the tournament and instantly being pit against names much larger than his own. Though Cleveland is well known for its die-hard fans, expectations for their selected representative couldn’t have possibly seen an outcome any further than the first few rounds.
After a month of deliberation, the finals for the tournament were upon us. Michael Vick, newly redeemed superstar now more renowned for organized dog fighting than participating on the gridiron, was to be the final opponent of Hillis. Either way EA looked, the prestige of the cover art was in jeopardy. Putting Hillis on would be like putting Bill Gates on a Wheaties box, but allowing Vick back onto the cover after his discretions would be the equivalent of putting O.J. Simpson on the same revered Wheaties brand box.
Just moments ago, with the lights dimmed and a reasonable subset of America watching, Peyton Hillis had his moment in the sun, as did many others. With the presumed help of the internet’s most dedicated trolls, a virtual unknown was allowed to grace the sacred cover of Madden itself. Trolls, may your thirst for disarray never die. Only with your spirited commitment could we officially alter a gaming juggernaut’s status to, “we mad.”
Image Courtesy of:Sportsnation
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