Over the last three weeks, we have conducted a 64-team tournament in an effort to determine the greatest animated sports GIF of all time. You and I have voted and voted and voted, turning up in the thousands to support our favorite GIFs, or vote against the ones we hated. And at last, we are here: the championship round.
MORTIFIED MICHIGAN PUNTER and ROLLERBLADING RAPTORS MASCOT were, at seems, fated from the start to meet at the end. Most judged them to be the toughest two opponents of the tournament. RAPTORS MASCOT absolutely decimated the competition every step of the way:
- National semifinal -- defeated BRUCE BOWEN'S FLYING KICK, 1,096 to 196.
- Elite Eight -- defeated YANKEE ENTHUSIASTS, 996 to 298.
- Sweet 16 -- defeated HOT SAUCE IS GOOD ON EVERYTHING, 394 to 87.
- Second round -- defeated ANDY DALTON AND THE WORST THROW EVER, 860 to 203.
- First round -- defeated INDIFFERENT ALEX GONZALEZ, 1,514 to 83.
At times, however, the fate of MICHIGAN PUNTER was far less certain:
- National semifinal -- defeated RUNAWAY UTILITY CART, 1,866 to 876.
- Elite Eight -- defeated HOCKEY MASSACRE, 2,829 to 2,570.
- Sweet 16 -- defeated AARON DOBSON'S INSANE CATCH, 517 to 104.
- Second round -- defeated THE FALSEST START EVER, 1,246 to 136.
- First round -- defeated ELATED NETS FAN, 2,504 to 930.
MICHIGAN PUNTER, who has arguably faced tougher opposition than RAPTORS MASCOT, had to engineer come-from-behind wins in both of the last two matches to get here. He is battle-tested. On the other hand, RAPTORS MASCOT is a dinosaur, so it's probably a wash.
Enough from me. It is time to vote. This poll will remain open until 5 p.m. Eastern on Friday. And at that hour, we shall know THE VERY GREATEST ANIMATED SPORTS GIF IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND.
-- NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP --
(1) MORTIFIED MICHIGAN PUNTER.
(1) ROLLERBLADING RAPTORS MASCOT.
On Friday afternoon, it became apparent that an unknown party had begun to stuff the ballot, as over 2,000 votes were placed in a matter of minutes. All these votes came from the same IP address. Minutes later, we at SB Nation determined that another party was beginning to rig voting on the other side.
At the time the fraudulent votes started to trickle in, the race, unbelievably, was a dead heat: with approximately 3,000 votes tallied, MICHIGAN PUNTER and RAPTOR MASCOT were separated by only 14 votes.
This scandal has rocked SB Nation to its core, and stands as the great shame of my personal and professional life. I am deeply, terribly sorry that such GIF fraud came to pass under my watch, and I am dedicated to making it right.
We have made the decision to suspend the voting. The result below is NOT FINAL. We will make an announcement Monday to determine our next steps. Thank you for your votes, your understanding, and your patience.