November 24, 2014

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Hillis in final vs. Vick to see who will be on next Madden video game cover

Peyton Hillis versus Michael Vick. Winner take all.

Peyton Hillis

Peyton Hillis

Michael Vick

Michael Vick

Hillis, the Browns running back who quickly became a fan favorite last season, advanced to the finals of the tournament to determine the player who will be on the cover of “Madden NFL 12,” the latest edition of the popular video game series. He will face Vick, the electric Eagles quarterback.

Hillis, an unknown before totaling 1,667 yards and 13 touchdowns in his first year with the Browns, defeated Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the semifinal, it was announced Monday. Winners are determined by fan voting.

Hillis opened the 32-person bracket as a No. 10 seed but has pulled four straight upsets. The latest came against the Super Bowl MVP, a No. 1 seed.

“I dont ever like losing but Peyton Hillis is a great player and he’s worked hard to get to where he’s at. Lots of respect for him,” Rodgers tweeted.

Hillis beat Ravens running back Ray Rice in the first round, then Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles. In succession, Hillis received 62 percent of the vote, 51, 60 and 61.

Hillis might not be an underdog in the final, considering Vick’s history of running a dogfighting operation and going to prison. Vick beat Vikings running back Adrian Peterson in the semifinal.

Hillis would be the first Cleveland athlete to appear on the cover of a video game. Of course, it’s Cleveland, so the victory would come with a catch.

The past cover stars of Madden have a history of sustaining serious injuries in the season in which they appear.

Fans can vote on ESPN.com/sportsnation. The winner will be announced April 27 at 4 p.m. on ESPN2’s “SportsNation.”