Peyton Hillis is the cover of Madden 2012 and here’s why

I’m just going to warn you off the bat that talking sport is like talking politics or religion. There is a good chance that you will not agree with what is below. It is biased and written from a place of absolute love for Peyton Hillis. When I watched the results of the Madden 2012 cover come out I kept seeing people exclaim: “Who is Peyton Hillis?” and “Hillis doesn’t deserve to be on the cover of Madden” and some even declared “Well I won’t be buying it because Vick got screwed over”. To them I say maybe you should have paid closer attention last season.

Peyton Hillis Madden 2012 Potential Cover

"I assume Peyton Hillis' sleeves are custom made." ~ Scott - Waiting For Next Year

Some people know it, some people don’t: Peyton Hillis is a beast. Polish the Console is based in Cleveland and quite frankly I am 100% biased. I am a Browns fan and I have been since I watched my first game with my grandfather back in ’83. I have seen highs, I have seen many lows, and I have yet to see a championship. Ever. In any sport. In the 2011 preseason Cleveland got their our glimpse of what we got when we traded Brady Quinn to Denver. I can still remember the first night I saw him play in the preseason.

My wife was next to me and we were sitting 8 rows up in the Dawg Pound (The East End Zone) in a pouring rain that left nobody dry no matter how many rain coats you had on. It was the sort of game you expect to see sloppy football and no good grip could be had by hands or feet. The rain was so strong I had a difficult time keeping my eyes open through it. My wife could no longer wear her flip flops because they absolutely refused to grip her foot. Then through the driving rain we see it barreling towards us: number 40. A man who could single handedly make any offensive coordinator look like a damn genius. From that point on he earned the love of every Cleveland Browns fan in the nation. Over the course of the season we learned something that people in Denver knew all along: Peyton Hillis was an unstoppable force. This is a bit of what Denver saw from him. Not my video I do not take credit for the music:

While, yes, Peyton Hillis was not the best running back in the NFL he was certainly one of the more punishing. I could throw individual game stats and figures at you but with 16 games 270 carries 1,177 yards for an average of 4.4 yards per carry he is hands down not the number 1 running back in the league last season and far from the best player. Then again neither was the other finalist, Vick. But this year’s Madden cover wasn’t about stats or MVPs. This years Madden cover was all about the fans. You can’t deny the power of the fans. Yes some people may have feared “The Madden Curse” and picked against their own team’s player or voted against Vick on principle, apparently he has a shady past. Some people may have voted against him because they didn’t know who was, and that’s fine. Simple fact is 66% of the people voted for him in the finals.

Peyton Hillis Leaping over defender

Couldn't go around it, so we went over it!

But when we break down some of this years innovations released by EA we begin to see why Hillis is in fact a solid fit. For me the visualizations are icing on the cake. Some of these include:

  • Broadcast Redefined: Experience NFL Sundays like never before with completely overhauled presentation, including 32 team-specific run outs featuring mascots and cheerleaders, over 500 dynamic broadcast cameras authentic to every NFL stadium, innovative “real” on-field cameras shot by expert NFL Films cameramen, and a network inspired new broadcast graphics package.
  • Unprecedented On-Field Authenticity: Hundreds of visual improvements across all areas of the game including: new player equipment, helmet stickers, pylon and ball physics, a player degradation system that affects uniforms and helmets based on weather and field surface, 3D grass, and new player specific animations that showcase the personalities of each NFL player.

What really matters is how the game plays. On Sunday you always see someone break a sick tackle and go big. This is something that Madden has been working towards but has never been quite there. This season they continue making strides towards this while maintaining and even expanding on the speed and flow that they introduced last season:

  • All-New Collision System: Now maintain full control of players up to the point of impact — from tackling to blocking — providing the most authentic collisions in franchise history. This new system uses a player’s momentum and over 100 new tackle animations, including 40 gang tackles, to provide more impactful hits, stolen tackles, and consecutive hit tackling.
  • Advanced Defensive AI: Over 100 defensive A.I. enhancements resulting in the smartest Madden defense ever. Players in zone and man coverage will properly recognize and react to plays, including the ability to break out of assignments when appropriate, resulting in a defensive team that truly works together.
  • Custom Playbooks: The #1 most requested feature by fans in recent years, allows you to build the ultimate game plan by modifying an existing playbook or creating your own by selecting up to 400 offensive or defensive plays from 75 different playbooks. Integrate your custom playbook into a game plan for use with the improved GameFlow system, which executes an authentic, situational game plan for you.

It’s this “All-New Collision System” that makes Peyton Hillis a perfect man to have at the helm. For those that didn’t witness last season’s Cleveland Browns here’s a small taste of what gave us our indomitable hope:

He embodies the new collision system. On the field he is a super dense mass of pure momentum. His entire play style is derived from “I’m gonna go through it. If I can’t go through it then I’m gonna go over it. If neither of those work then when I go down it’s going to contain a lot of forward progress and end in an earth shattering thud.”

Peyton Hillis Madden 2012 Cover

None of you want that running at you in an open field

Peyton Hillis is like the Kool-Aid man in an orange helmet. He is one of few people in the world who could legally change his middle name to “Muthafukin” and actually pull it off. I was thinking about getting a Peyton Hillis tattoo mid season last season but I came to the realization that it would see I’m not man enough for it and reject my body by leaving to start a more manly life of its own.

He single handedly delivered “sports hope” to an entire beleaguered city. It’s no mystery how we feel about our sports. Cleveland fans are a special breed where we will suffer through endless steams of losing seasons in all major sports just for that one glimmer of hope to carry us through. Each time Peyton Hillis broke through a defenses we saw our dreams break through one more layer of our 40+ year history of missed chances. He’s a bight shining ray of hope for the fans who need it most. That is precisely why he is on the cover of Madden.

Madden is never about that player on the cover. It’s all about the fans. I thought they hit on this last season when the New Orleans fans were in the background. This was the first instance we have ever seen the fans featured prominently on any Madden cover.  The fans make it all possible and the fans are what keeps it going. Peyton has already come out and said “This is not about me.” When asked about being on the cover:

“Well, it’s huge,” Hillis said. “They really haven’t had a winner in a while, ever since they left to go to Baltimore. In my mind, this is not about myself, this is not about me, this is about what can I give back to the team and community and hopefully that’s a winner.”

What you see is not a man driven by money or fame. It’s a man who simply enjoys stepping out onto a football field and wants to play and play hard. He’s a man who has a deep love for the game. He’s a man that genuinely cares about competition. Peyton Hillis is a guy that can get things done. I wonder what makes him tic? I wonder if he’d be interested in knowing what makes me tic? In my eyes Peyton Hillis is a fantastic fan picked choice for Madden 2012 and I for one want to say thank you to everyone who voted, no matter who you voted for.

You may now disagree with me below.

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Comments

Posted On
Apr 29, 2011
Posted By
GBY

I have a different Peyton Hillis memory. I was sitting beside you in the upper deck of a mostly empty stadium on the day after Christmas. It was the kind of cold that you couldn’t get warm no matter how many winter coats you wore. But of course you told me that this was nothing for true Clevelanders. On one of the first plays of the game this alleged Kool-Aid man beast of a shining ray of sunshine rolling downhill into a pile of rainbows and unicorns handing you Lombardi trophy’s on their glittering horns managed to get himself moving forward for a couple of feet until he met Ray Lewis. Ray-Ray hit him so hard that he got an owie in his allegedly titanium ribs of dragon-forged tungsten. And what happened to his unstoppable freight-train competitiveness and give-back never quit? You know what he did after that hit? Nuthin. Which is what he’ll do this year platooning with Monterio Hardesty. On the plus side it should give him plenty of time to spend his Sundays trading his digital self in Madden 12 to, oh, anywhere else, and I guess figuring out what makes you tick.

Thanks for taking me to that game by the way.

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Posted On
Apr 29, 2011
Posted By
wadoobie

Giles with an average yards per carry of 4.4 Peyton Hillis had every Baltimore back beat last season. He had more touchdowns than all of the Ravens’ backs combined. Hell he had more touchdowns than any one receiver on the Ravens. Please check your own teams stats before you attempt to run your mouth. It’s just not cool man. Keep this up and one day your son is going to proudly exclaim “Go Browns” and you’ll see me dancing out your front door triumphantly.

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Posted On
Apr 29, 2011
Posted By
GBY

OK, let me check. I’m back. I saw the name Cleveland twice on the schedule and two Ws. That’s all the stats I need.

Anyway, you know who should be on the cover of Madden? That dude who lurched himself up to the upper deck at halftime, sat next to me and fell asleep for two quarters in the kind of cold that freezes the waves around lighthouses. And then he didn’t even throw up on me when he got up. Cleveland: where people know how to get drunk enough to sleep through two quarters of an ineffective Peyton Hillis in zero degree weather but not so drunk they throw up at the game.

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Posted On
Apr 29, 2011
Posted By
wadoobie

That guy really was something special, but I don’t think people will buy a video game with a passed out 20 year old in all his drunk sleeping glory emblazoned on the front cover proudly declaring “I drank too much and need a nap.” But why debate last season when it’s over and no longer matters. This (potentially) upcoming season is what matters. Only time will tell how, or if, it goes.

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Posted On
Dec 01, 2012
Posted By
Widia

the reason Hillis is on the cover is becuase Vick went to jail, and ppl dont like him becuase of that, he had a MONSTER year last year, passing, and rushing, Hillis is a great back, but the reason he won was becuase people be hating on vick cuz he was in the joint. PLAIN AND SIMPLE

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Posted On
Apr 30, 2011
Posted By
Richard McGhee

Peyton Hillis has game. That doesn’t mean he deserved the Madden cover. He isn’t even top 5 at his position. Look at his stats. The highest he ranked in any statical category for his position was 4th for receptions and three way tied for total touchdowns. He had the 22nd best selling jersey in the NFL. He plays in Cleveland, which is neither a large football market nor a playoff team. And if public response to finding out his is the Madden cover is “Who is Peyton Hillis?” he’s not big enough (name wise) for the cover. What plausible reasons is he on the cover? Don’t use homer logic. The marketing department for EA Sports doesn’t care he’s in Cleveland.

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