Peyton Hillis wins Madden NFL ’12 cover competition

Update: SB Nation Cleveland reports that Hillis will appear on Late Night with David Letterman Thursday night, April 28.

Over 12 million votes were cast in the fan-based voting competition to determine which NFL player would be featured on the cover of the Madden NFL 12 video game. Today it was announced that former Arkansas Razorback Peyton Hillis was the winner.

Hillis soundly defeated Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick in the finals of the competition with 66 percent of the vote, and will appear on the cover of the popular EA Sports game this fall.

He began as a No. 10 seed in the bracketed competition where he upset popular NFL players like Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles, and Superbowl-winning quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers.

Possible Hillis cover, from Facebook

“I am excited. I never thought I had a shot,” said Hillis. “I have to give all my thanks to the fans. I am going to try my best for them.”

Hillis became a fan favorite as a Cleveland Brown in the 2010-11 season, after piling up 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns.

In his career at Arkansas, Hillis compiled 960 rushing yards, 1,197 receiving yards, 23 total touchdowns, and added 470 yards on special teams.

The announcement that he had won the Madden cover came at around 3:55 p.m. today on the ESPN2 show, Sports Nation.

Madden NFL 12 is set to be released on August 30, 2011.

Past Madden NFL cover players

2000 – Dorsey Levens – Green Bay
2001 – Eddie George – Tennessee
2002 – Daunte Culpepper – Minnesota
2003 – Marshall Faulk – St. Louis
2004 – Michael Vick – Atlanta
2005 – Ray Lewis – Baltimore
2006 – Donovan McNabb – Philadelphia
2007 – Shaun Alexander – Seattle
2008 – Vince Young – Tennessee
2009 – Brett Favre – Green Bay
2010 – Troy Polamalu – Pittsburgh, Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona
2011 – Drew Brees – New Orleans
2012 – Peyton Hillis – Cleveland