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Will Mike Vick grace the cover of the new Madden game?
So far there is no official word for the cover model for the 22nd edition of the Madden football franchise yet but it's down to just two possible cover models and Eagles QB Michael Vick hoping score the gig.
Vick and Cleveland Browns RB Peyton Hillis are the last two men standing in an ESPN.com March Madness-like bracket for the honor.
Or is it dishonor?
Remember this is the supposedly cursed Madden cover. The last time Vick graced the Madden cover -- the '04 edition of the game -- he broke his leg just days after the game was released.
Maybe a bunch of Cowboys and Giants fans have been stuffing the ESPN.com ballot box hoping ill will on the Eagles signal caller. But, more likely, Vick's rebirth and skill have endeared him to gamers and NFL fans alike.
Vick, a No. 3 seed in the ESPN bracket, is an easy favorite over 10th-seeded Hillis. Vick has easily dispatched No. 14-seed DeMarcus Ware, 6th-seeded Andre Johnson, 7th-seeded Patrick Willis and No. 9-seed Adrian Peterson -- beating each fellow NFLer by 18 or more percentage points.
Hillis easily upset seventh-seeded Ray Rice in the first round but barely beat No. 2 seed Matt Ryan in the second round. Hillis would go on to run over Jamaal Charles and Super Bowl-champion Aaron Rodgers to claim a spot in the final.
Voting for the cover model is still open and the winner will be announced Wednesday at 4 p.m. on ESPN2's SportsNation.
Vick -- who has seemingly overcome a lot of the damage caused by his arrest, conviction and imprisonment for dogfighting (a Pro Bowl season can do that) -- tells Inquirer columnist John Gonzalez that he love's to play Madden and would love to grace the cover again:
"It's a great opportunity for me. The fans vote. It's feedback from the fans. You see what the fans see. The first time, I really wasn't too big on having the opportunity. I appreciated it, but this time around I think I will appreciate it so much more. I took a lot for granted early in my career. It was a great opportunity at the time, but now it will be so much more satisfying. To show it to my kids and say I was able to accomplish."
Let’s hope that this summer when Madden ‘12 comes out that if Vick really does grace cover that he doesn’t follow the tracks of himself, Donovan McNabb (’06) and Shaun Alexander (’07) as Madden cover failures and instead is more like Ray Lewis (’05) who went on the All-Pro honors after gracing the cover of Madden.
For his part, Vick tells Gonzalez that he is superstitious but that if he was to be hurt that it we be part of a bigger plan than just a video game:
Gonzo: You've already been on the cover once -- and you got hurt. Are you a superstitious guy? Do you believe in the Madden cover curse?
Vick: I am superstitious. I won't say what kind of superstitions I have, just know I have plenty of them. At the time I was very superstitious. And at the time, I got injured. I broke my leg before the season. But it was God's plan. It wasn't meant for me to be out on the football field that time. But I put my faith in a higher power now. Things that I may not want to happen, I put my faith in Him and live life.
Without any certainty of an NFL season this year, having Vick on the cover of the most popular football game in the world could be something worth rooting for. So lets appreciate that the Eagles QB is such a dynamically big deal that he is even being consider for this honor just a couple years removed from serving prison time.