It's not going to make up for The Fumble or The Drive or The Decision or the Indians but, at long last, Cleveland finally has a winner on its hands.
Browns running back Peyton Hillis, who was such an NFL afterthought that the Denver Broncos had to throw in two draft picks just to trade him for Brady Quinn last year, will appear on the next cover of the Madden NFL football franchise after winning a fan vote over Michael Vick. The two were pitted against each other in the finals of EA Sports' 32-player bracket to determine the cover player for Madden '12.
The announcement was made live on ESPN2's "Sportsnation" and was much more compelling that anything involving Colin Cowherd and the cover subject of a video game deserved to be. Vick and Hillis were in attendance, each looking nervous as the final vote was revealed. When Hillis' name was announced, he bowed his head and received Vick's warm congratulations.
How did a guy who had 81 career carries prior to last season outlast a field of some of the NFL's biggest stars? The fact that he was the first white running back to rush for 1,000 yards didn't hurt, nor did the voting habits of a rabid Cleveland fanbase.
Hillis thanked the fans after the announcement. "If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have this shot now," he said. "It just shows how big Cleveland fans are to their players. I just want to tell them thank you and I'll try my best for them."
The good news for Hillis is that he shouldn't be subjected to the dreaded Madden cover curse. If playing in Cleveland didn't put a hex on him, nothing will.