The Atlanta Falcons' 2004 season came to an end one game earlier than the team had hoped, as the Falcons lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game a week ago. Quarterback Michael Vick has pressed on, however, in the playoffs to determine the best Buccaneers.com Flash Intro of the past three seasons.
In fact, he's the favorite to win it all.
We can say that even before the voting begins because two of the three movies in the final voting feature the fleet-footed Falcon quarterback. He will have tough competition from the central figure in the third Intro to make the finals: The 2002 Lombardi Trophy.
As the NFL playoffs were being contested during January, Buccaneers.com polled its readers to determine the most popular Flash Intro on the web site in each of the past three seasons. During the Wild Card week, fans voted on 20 movies from Tampa Bay's '02 Super Bowl Championship season; during the Divisional Round, it was a competition between 17 2003 Intros; and during the Championship Round, it was an 18-movie run-off between the '04 entries.
The winners are featured in the poll to the right. This week, as the Eagles and Patriots prepare to face off in Super Bowl XXXIX, we ask you to finish this competition between the Buccaneers.com Flash Intros of the past three years. Vote for your favorite among the three and we'll have our final champion.
The 2002 Buccaneers peaked in the playoffs, defeating the 49ers, Eagles and Raiders by a combined score of 106-37 en route to the NFL title. Same story for the Buccaneers.com intro in the Week One voting. Of the 7,541 votes cast in the poll, a combined 57% went to the three movies concerning Super Bowl XXXVII. The winner from among those three, hauling in 1,779 votes was the final movie of the season: Champions!
You can review that movie and the rest of the Intros from 2002 here. The winning movie started with a scene of the Bucs' ship sinking the Raiders' vessel on the opening sea, and ended with the Lombardi Trophy occupying most of the screen. Buccaneers fans apparently appreciated the reminder of that thrilling weekend.
Before the Super Bowl, Buccaneers.com ran an Intro entitled Lords of the Ring that depicted the same ship sailing into San Diego and storming the lighthouse featured in the Super Bowl XXXVII logo. This Intro was the second favorite with the voters, earning 1,116 ballots. The top choice among regular season movies was Grated Cheeseheads, featuring Captain Fear swinging through the stands and altering the headgear of some visiting Packer fans.
The 2003 Flash Intros fleshed out the cast of characters, and Buccaneers.com voters apparently appreciated the increased stabs at humor. The winner from the '03 season (check out all the movies here) was the first of our two Vick-centric finalists. Posted before the Week Three matchup between the Bucs and the Falcons, it featured an injured Vick waking from a Buccaneer-related nightmare to find relief in the fact that he wasn't going to be playing. Backup quarterback Doug Johnson didn't have the same luxury.
Vick's Worst Nightmare won the 2003 competition with 1,421 votes, edging out a Week One offering entitled Weapons of Mass Destruction. That piece, which depicted Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell in the Oval Office with President George W. Bush, was actually posted just before the season and coincided with the release of Buccaneers.com Version 3.0. It garnered 1,021 votes for second place. The rest of the votes were spread out rather evenly between such offerings as The Good, the Brad and the Ugly, Webmaster Apology and Freddy Falcon. The last of those three was yet another Michael Vick manifesto.
Vick came up big again this past season, as Buccaneers.com ran a parody of the popular Michael Vick Experience commercial. In the Buccaneers.com version, the Vick fan begins the futuristic amusement park ride only to be warned by the Falcon quarterback himself that he is about to be attacked by the Tampa Bay defense. The Intro ends with the rider desperately begging to be let off the ride, and a brief flash of Derrick Brooks in his face.
You can review that Intro and 17 others here. Among the other top vote-getters was Dome Wars, featuring Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin in a winning cameo; The Grudefather, in which Head Coach Jon Gruden, as a mafia boss, delivers a message to Chicago Head Coach Lovie Smith; and Ricky in the Caribbean, which stars former Miami RB Ricky Williams and is otherwise self-explanatory. Vick's latest star turn, however, hauled in 1,494 votes and was the 2004 winner.
Voting between the three single-season winners will last a week. The overall champion will be crowned next week, after the Super Bowl. Please cast your vote in the poll above.