Vick 'superstitious' but hopes for win in 'Madden' showdown

Michael Vick fell short of propelling the Philadelphia Eagles into last season's Super Bowl, but the NFL Comeback Player of the Year finds himself in a heated battle for another title -- facing Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis in the finals of the "Madden NFL 12" cover-model contest, decided by online fan voting.

Vick told the *Philadelphia Inquirer* for a story in Monday's editions that he is somewhat "superstitious" of the "Madden Curse" after gracing "Madden NFL 2004," only to fracture his right fibula during a 2003 preseason loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

"I am superstitious. I won't say what kind of superstitions I have, just know I have plenty of them," Vick said. "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."

Vick told the Inquirer that winning the Madden contest -- the cover model will be announced April 27 at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN2 -- would be better than having his image plastered on the outside of Lincoln Financial Field, like Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson.

"The cover of Madden. It's global. And everybody plays it," Vick said. "It's a game that you look forward to playing every year," adding that he "always played Madden growing up" after receiving it as a Christmas gift in 1992.

Vick downplayed a report that EA Sports defended him against People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and independent activists who penned letters urging to keep the quarterback off the cover.

"I haven't even heard about that. I really don't pay attention to what's being said by anyone, whether it's ridicule or whatever," he said. "I can't continue to respond to that. I appreciate EA Sports standing tall and sticking up for me. I will continue to be positive. Let other people be negative. That's their view. They're entitled to their opinion. I won't try to change it."

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Fan backing lifted Vick past Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson 59 percent to 41 percent to reach the contest's finals after defeating Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware, Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson and San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis in earlier rounds.

In an upset, fans propelled 10th-seeded Hillis over top-seeded Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers by a decisive 61 percent-to-39 percent margin, but Vick said Rodgers would have been his pick.

"I'm a big fan of Aaron Rodgers. He's one of the best in the game," Vick said. "I didn't expect anything less from him in the playoff (win over the Eagles in January). He knows what's going on. He's poised, smart. He has all the qualities that a QB needs."

Vick stepped into the Eagles' starting quarterback spot last season after Kevin Kolb suffered a concussion in the opener. Vick set career highs for passing yards (3,018), touchdown passes (21), completions (233), completion percentage (62.6) and passer rating (100.2). He also rushed for 676 yards and nine scores.

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