The championship battle in Meme Madness lived up to the hype, as two iconic college football memes went down to the wire. Ultimately, only one viral image can live forever as the winner of our bracket. Congratulations are in order to the Michigan Surrender Cobra, which emerged from a tight battle against Frank Beamer's 0-0 Celebration to be named the top viral image in college football. The stunned fan in Maize and Blue won by just 51% of the vote.
The Surrender Cobra had a dominant run as the top seed in the Fans Region, winning each of its matchups with more than 60% of the vote en route to the competitive championship matchup. The lopsided 81-19 victory over Creepy Tennessee Starer ranked as the most dominant win of the tournament.
And with the story behind the image, it's no wonder Michigan Surrender Cobra came out on top. Up 23-21 on Michigan State in 2015, all Michigan had to do up was punt with 10 seconds left. The game was in the bag. But then the iconic call came: "Oh, he had trouble with the snap!" Michigan's punter bobbled the snap and was hit by Michigan State defenders. Jalen Watts-Jackson picked up the ball and ran to the end zone in one of the most shocking wins ever.
Right as the clock struck zero, the camera swung to Michigan fan Chris Baldwin, who captured the nation's attention with perhaps the greatest surrender cobra in sports history.
"I've been asked before, 'did you realize that you were doing the pose as things happened?'" Baldwin told MLive. "I don't remember it -- I can barely remember what I was thinking at all during that last play. It was all just such a blur."
The Michigan Surrender Cobra emerged from the Fans Region after beating Eminem in the Booth, Creepy Tennessee Starer and Annoyed LSU Girl along the way.
Meme Madness bracket
Voting for every round round is being held via tweets from our Cover 3 Podcast account as embedded below. After three rounds of intense voting, the champions from the Fan Region and Players & Coaches Region going head to head are ...
(1) Michigan surrender cobra vs. (2) Beamer's 0-0 celebration
(1) Michigan surrender cobra: The No. 1 seed rolled to the championship matchup, winning all three of its previous rounds by comfortable margins. It was more of the same in the Final Four as the Michigan Surrender Cobra crushed Annoyed LSU Girl with 61.2% of the vote to move on.
The devastated reaction fit the insane moment: Michigan State recovered a fumbled punt snap and returned it for a shocking game-winning touchdown at the Big House in 2015. Standing the test of time is perhaps the greatest surrender cobra in college football history (not to mention Sean McDonough's iconic call). In addition to Annoyed LSU Girl, the Michigan Surrender Cobra beat Eminem's strange trip into the booth during the 2013 Notre Dame-Michigan game and Creepy Tennessee Starer along the way.
(2) Frank Beamer's 0-0 celebration: Hugh Freeze's Hospital Bed Wave -- the Cinderella of this year's field -- finally saw its run come to an end. The No. 5 seed fell to No. 2 seed Frank Beamer's 0-0 Celebration in a tough loss. Beamer's meme received more than 62.4% of the vote after surviving a tight battle against Bobby Petrino's Neck Brace one round earlier. Now, the No. 2 seed is headed to the championship.
Former Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer was known for his physical defenses and comfort playing in unorthodox games. When the cameras captured him celebrating the end of a scoreless regulation against Wake Forest, it was a peak Beamer (and ACC football) moment. Beamer beat out the famous image of Derrick Henry towering over Mark Ingram in the first round before beating Bobby Petrino's Neck Brace and Hugh Freeze's Hospital Bed to win the region.