Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis pulled off a surprisingly dominant victory over Michael Vick to earn the right to appear on the cover of Madden '12 when it is released in August. EA Sports turned this into a fan vote that featured a player from each of the 32 teams in an NCAA tournament-style bracket to determine the cover athlete. Hillis was given a ten seed but somehow blew through the competition, capping the tournament with a 65.6%-34.4% beatdown of Vick.
Hillis had little trouble in the first round, defeating seventh seeded Ravens running back Ray Rice 62-38. He followed that up with his closest victory, a 51-49 victory over two seed Matt Ryan. The quarterfinals featured a battle of young running backs and Hillis easily defeated Jamaal Charles, Kansas City's sixth seeded running back. In arguably the biggest upset prior to the finals, Hillis then dominated Aaron Rodgers 61-39 to advance to the title game. I have a feeling Green Bay fans were stuffing the ballot box to prevent the Madden curse from hitting their franchise QB. The finals featured a battle against Eagles QB and three seed Michael Vick. Hillis won with relative ease as it is possible the animal lovers were a big factor.
The Bay Area had two representatives in the form of 16-seed Darren McFadden and 7-seed Patrick Willis. While Run McFadden took a beating in the polls at the hands of Phillip Rivers, Willis managed to reach the quarterfinals. He defeated the Seahawks 12th man 54-46, and followed that up with a 60-40 beatdown of Hines Ward. Unfortunately, he ran out of gas as Vick steamrolled Willis 61-39 in the quarterfinals.