The Animated Sports GIF Tournament has surely been one of the more surprising, hotly-contested animated GIF tournaments in the history of civilized Man. The two GIFs favored from the very beginning of the tournament to reach the Final Four -- MORTIFIED MICHIGAN PUNTER and ROLLERBLADING RAPTORS MASCOT -- have made it, thank God.
Others did not. Before we proceeding, I'd like us to take a moment and remember a couple of those who have fallen.
OVERCONFIDENT JEREMY SHOCKEY, the sports Internet as we know it began to take shape sometime in 2004 or 2005. That is when you came into existence, and you have been with us every step of the way. I think we would all (well, all but 859 people) would agree that you left this tournament far too soon. But you have given us so much, and we will never forget you.
HOCKEY MASSACRE, when you were penciled into the same region as MORTIFIED MICHIGAN PUNTER, your fate was sealed. Is that GIF unbeatable? We don't know -- not yet -- but if you couldn't beat it, it may well be. You, moreso than any other GIF in this tournament, look as though you were scripted and filmed, and let me tell you something: many directors would kill for this level of dramatic cinematography. That face-smack at the end is so true, so organic, that upon first viewing, I thought he was playing around. Thank you for everything, friend. Don't be a stranger.
Oh YANKEE ENTHUSIASTS, you wonderful bastards. I think I'll miss you most of all.
OK, folks, let's wipe away the tears. We have voting ahead of us. We will vote on both Final Four match-ups Thursday, and polls will close at 5 p.m. Eastern. I'll activate links for both polls this morning. If you'd prefer, you can follow me on @jon_bois, where I'll be tweeting out links.
Thanks, friends, for all your votes so far in this tournament. We're so close to determining the greatest sports GIF of all time. SO CLOSE.