Either there are a lot more Cleveland Browns football fans out there than one would expect, or Americans aren’t quite ready to forgive Michael Vick just yet.
ESPN announced the winner of the fan vote-off to decide who will grace the cover of the popular Madden NFL '12 video game Wednesday evening, and football fans and gamers—and we’re guessing a PETA member or two—cast their electric ballots 2-to-1 in favor of the man Vick was squaring off against in the finals, Browns running back Peyton Hillis.
Vick, who served a year and half in prison after being convicted in 2007 of running a dog-fighting operation, became a crowd favorite last season in Philadelphia, posting gaudy statistics and earning a trip to the Pro Bowl.
Hillis, meanwhile, carries a much smaller national profile. He is a solid but not necessarily spectacular player on one of the league's worst teams. He did, however, have a career-year last season and quickly found himself the beloved underdog of the ESPN-run Madden bracket.
As ESPN reports, “Hillis was buoyed by an online campaign that included front-page treatment on the Browns' website, as well as ongoing Twitter and Facebook campaigns by the team.”