There is a champion of GIF TOURNAMENT II. This GIF captured 73 percent of the vote in the first round, 73 percent in the second round, 66 percent in the third round, and 50.2 percent in the fourth round. Wednesday night, it earned 55 percent of the vote to defeat ADMIRAL GIFBOMB, 763-619, and win the GIF Championship.
Its name ...
... is REBUFFED BUCK SHOWALTER, GIF TOURNAMENT II CHAMPION.
As the commissioner of this event, I had made peace with the fact that the results will not always fall the way I think they ought to. I imagine I would have pegged this as the fifth- or sixth- best GIF of the tournament, but I must abide by the results. It is a champion.
Do you remember the MYSTERY BONUS ROUND I promised? This is that. Today, BUCK SHOWALTER must stand on the ballot alongside ...
... ROLLERBLADING RAPTORS MASCOT.
You remember him, don't you? He currently reigns as the all-time animated GIF champion, having won the first GIF Tournament with such authority that the Raptor himself saw cause to celebrate:
Indeed, this is the most magnificent animated sports GIF of our times. I can say it no better than commenter JCCW Jerry, who offered this deconstruction of the Raptors GIF back in March:
I've done some thinking about why Raptors Mascot appears well on its way to glorious victory, and why I've watched it 2,765 times this week alone. My hypothesis is that Raptors Mascot represents the archetypal plot so familiar to us from literature, television, film, and other media, and thus plugs directly in to our collective consciousness's desire and expectations of being entertained.
Consider how snugly Raptors Mascot conforms to the traditional plot diagram as taught in most high school and college English courses:
EXPOSITION: There is an inflatable dinosaur mascot on Rollerblades.
CONFLICT: Once the mascot hits the arena floor, he loses his balance.
RISING ACTION: His mouth flails uncontrollably as his Rollerblades become more and more unsteady.
CLIMAX: He goes airborne.
FALLING ACTION: He thuds to the arena floor.
RESOLUTION: The tail. My god, the tail.
We cannot label Raptors Mascot the gif representative of Joseph Campbell's "Hero with a Thousand Faces," since ultimately he fails in his journey rather than triumphs. But I believe the gif does parallel that of such classic works of the antihero as Thomas Hardy's "Tess of the D'Ubervilles" or The Wire, and this is why we respond to it so enthusiastically.
I can say it no better. ROLLERBLADING RAPTORS MASCOT is a GIF symphony. And today, HE DEMANDS SACRIFICE.
Today, BUCK SHOWALTER must descend into the heart of the volcano and serve as tribute to the all-time champion. Of course, should Showalter win, he will earn the title of Greatest GIF Ever. But he will not. I fully expect the Raptor to crush him with authority. Time to sit back and watch the show.