Madden NFL Cover Vote: RB Peyton Hillis Advances to the Elite-Eight

Move over Butler Bulldogs, our very own Albino Rhino just scored an upset over the 2-seed Matt Ryan, and has advanced to the Elite-Eight in the ESPN Madden NFL 2012 Cover Vote.

Peyton Hillis, a 10-seed, was able to edge Matty Ice by registering 51% of the fan vote. He’s Cleveland’s very own upset special, served with a side of WaBAM!

Peyton is the lowest seed to advance to the Elite-Eight in the Cover Vote, and you could argue is now one of the eight most popular players in the NFL. The other upsets include Vikings RB Adrian Peterson, a great value 9-seed who was able to upset QB Phillip Rivers, and San Francisco’s Patrick Willis, who dominated twinkle toes Hines Ward.

I can rest easy now, knowing my children will not be born into a world where Hines Ward made the cover of this video game.

Peyton’s upset of Matt Ryan shouldn’t come as a shock to most. The Falcons played an easy schedule against the NFC West in 2010, which helped them earn the NFC’s #1 overall seed in the playoffs. Once the playoffs started however, they were destroyed at home by Aaron Rodger’s juggernaut Packers, taking some of the shine off Ryan’s image as an ice cold clutch performer.

He’s overrated, just like Joe Flacco.

Next up for Hillis is another Cinderella story in Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles, a 6-seed who upset perennial pro bowler and top-5 fantasy football draft piece, Maurice Jones-Drew.

Not a bad player, but probably an easier match-up for Hillis in terms of fan popularity. Charles’ Chiefs team advanced to the playoffs as well in 2010, but were drubbed by a far superior Baltimore Ravens team in the first round. Charles did manage to turn some heads with a 41-yard touchdown run in that game. He’s a pro bowler in his own right, but still plays for a small market team and is without that trademark style that makes Hillis so recognizable to fans.

Should Hillis manage to take out Charles, he’ll await an extremely worthy opponent in either the Patriots’ Danny Woodhead, or Super Bowl Champion Aaron Rodgers to make it to the Final Four.

Danny has a cult like following in New England much like Hillis here in C-Town. He’s even got a Facebook Fan Page dedicated to his Cover Vote just as Hillis does. He’s the underdog fans love, plays for a big market, and has that trademark playing style that people know about. He’ll be a tough out.

But there might be none tougher than Aaron Rodgers, the #1 overall seed in the tourney with a devastating resume. He led his team to Super Bowl glory with some of the most inspired, and frankly revolutionary quarterback play we’ve ever seen. If it wasn’t for him we’d be spending this extended off-season in yellow haze of another Steelers title. Yuck.

But Peyton Hillis won’t get to see that showdown until he gets by Jamaal Charles. Vote for Hillis today at http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/feature/madden2012cover, or visit his Facebook Page to get behind the cause (they’ve got over 2,000 fans thus far).

And Go Browns.

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