Inspiration and prize - the Lombardi Trophy
The Buccaneers.com Flash Intro playoffs are over, as are those for the National Football League.
In both cases, it ended with the Lombardi Trophy being raised for all to see.
Perhaps the sight of New England Head Coach Bill Belichick hoisting the trophy over his head at the end of Super Bowl XXXIX sparked a wave of nostalgia among Buccaneers.com voters, because a surge of ballots on Sunday led to victory for one of the final two combatants.
The winner of the month-long competition between all of the Buccaneers.com Flash Intros of the past three years is the movie that was posted immediately after the Buccaneers' own Super Bowl victory, “Champions!” That 2002 entry beat out the other finalist in the Intro Bowl, "The Michael Vick Experience," which ran before last December's Tampa Bay-Atlanta game and was a spoof of the popular Nike commercial by the same name.
The 2002-04 Flash Intro playoffs were conducted entirely by fan voting on Buccaneers.com. A single winner from each year was chosen in week-long individual heats, then those three finalists were matched up at the beginning of Super Bowl week. When the above two finalists pulled well ahead of the third, those two were placed head-to-head in the Intro Bowl in the middle of the week. (The third finalist was another Intro based on the Atlanta quarterback, "Vick's Worst Nightmare." It preceded a 2003 game between the Bucs and the Atlanta Falcons and featured an injured Michael Vick relieved that he didn't have to play.)
Voting was heavy for the Intro Bowl, and it was quite close until Sunday. "Champions!" pulled away a bit in the final tally, eventually winning by more than 800 votes. "Champions!" was the choice of 2,974 voters, while 2,117 opted for "The Michael Vick Experience."
"Champions!" celebrated the Buccaneers' 48-21 victory over Oakland in Super Bowl XXXVII. In the Intro, the Buccaneers' ship sinks the Raiders' ship with a hail of cannon fire, then sets sail for Tampa. Head Coach Jon Gruden holds up the Lombardi Trophy from the deck of the ship, and the trophy enlargens to fill the screen. Though many of the subsequent Intros in 2003 and 2004 were much more elaborate, often spoofing movies and tweaking pop-culture icons, ecstatic Buccaneer fans obviously enjoyed the simple and straightforward message of "Champions!"
Buccaneers.com would like to thank all of the site visitors who voted in the Flash Intro playoff polls over the last month. To take a look back at all of the Intros from the past three seasons, please click here.