So it’s down to two NFL players for this upcoming season’s Madden cover — Cleveland Browns power running back Peyton Hillis and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback and Comeback Player of the Year Michael Vick. Even with the simplification of this long-running and derivative football game by Electronic Arts, some Eagles fans are wholeheartedly rooting for Michael Vick to push his stardom onto the cover of Madden, like he was on 2003 with the Atlanta Falcons. For those concerned about my perspective concerning his dogfighting, sponsorship by PETA or his prison sentence, those things have sat on the backburner quite a while back. All I am concerned with is his behavior with his Philadelphia Eagles teammates on the field and his presence off the field currently.
Last season, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick was stellar throughout most of the beginning of the season and embraced and wrestled the starter position from Kevin Kolb mid-season. Despite Vick’s displays off the field at schools and such, Michael Vick hasn’t changed sociably much from 20– when he was the Atlanta Falcons. He has developed a better arm and was far more accurate and productive early in the season than he was with the Atlanta Falcons. He had an astonishing 100.6 quarterback rating on 3,018 yards passing, 21 touchdowns and 6 interceptions for the 2010 season overall. However, defenses caught on to his act, and his productivity fell as the season progressed. From his dominance against the Washington Redskins in week 10 with a 150.7 quarterback rating, by the time he faced the Green Bay Packers in the Wild Card game, his quarterback rating fell to a 79.9, only slightly better than his last season with the Atlanta Falcons at 75.7 in 2006. Unfortunately, on the sidelines, he distances himself from his teammates consistently, like he was with DeSean Jackson, or not even there to support them, like with Kevin Kolb. With his success, Vick could not share it with his teammates, like Donovan McNabb used to.
On the other hand, the Cleveland Browns had difficulties late in the season, with their young quarterback Colt McCoy and the injuries of their power running back Peyton Hillis. Peyton Hillis dominated the Carolina Panthers with 3 touchdowns and 131 yards rushing in week 12 of the past season. Then he couldn’t score at all afterwards and his productivity declined as he contended with injuries. Despite the management problems of Eric Mangini as their head coach, Peyton Hillis remained by his quarterback’s side — and Eric Mangini’s side as well.
Peyton Hillis is the better overall athlete of the two in that he appreciates teamwork and much harsher position overall on the body. However, with the popularity of Michael Vick in most of Philadelphia and nationwide, I believe that Michael Vick will be chosen for the cover of Madden. This will be beneficial financially for the Eagles organization and Philadelphia in general, but in my opinion, he is the less deserving of the honor. However, with the Madden Curse, it might get its comeuppance on Michael Vick once again, and with the Philadelphia Eagles quite possibly without Kevin Kolb as backup, the Eagles may have to rely on a rookie quarterback or dilapidated veteran.