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Chief Zee Loses. Man the Barricades

(2004 file photo by John McDonnell - TWP)

This being the Battle of the Beltway Mascots, things pretty much ended in the only way they could: with disputed election results, claims of foul play and some doubt as to the winner's mandate.

In the role of Al Gore, meet Zema Williams, better known as Chief Zee, the longtime Redskins fan icon from Oxon Hill, who had patiently waited his national ascendance for decades. In the role of George W. Bush, meet Poe, the Baltimore Ravens' upstart mascot with a name that echoes through generations but a relatively brief record of service. In the role of the hanging chads, meet computer scripts planted on team message boards, which flooded's "Most Fierce NFL Mascot" contest in recent days, forcing voting to be cut off one day earlier than planned.

And in the role of the Supreme Court, meet this Editor's Note, which accompanied today's explanation that Poe was being declared a 52 percent to 48 percent winner:

Some voters compromised the integrity of this contest by jamming votes for either team by way of automation in an attempt to either sabotage or assist a team in the process. As such, we pinpointed when this occurred after doing some research and have made a decision to use the voting percentages prior to the automation of votes. As such, we concluded that Poe won based on the percentages displayed below. Congratulations on winning this year's contest.

It's that simple? Weeks of elimination rounds, with our two local entrants surprisingly marching through their respective conferences despite shockingly low seeds? (A 16th seed for Poe, and an 8th seed for Chief Zee.) An all-out Redskins Internet mobilization for Chief Zee in this far-fetched D.C.-Baltimore NFL final? More than one million votes being cast in the finals? And it ends in electionese?

"I don't know nothing about it, man, but I was loved and supported and I'm grateful for the support I got," the Chief said in an interview today, a few hours after the decision was announced. "It could have been a whole lot better, but then who am I to say who did what? It's over with. He won."

The Chief, of course, was well aware of the voting improprieties. He asked whether the contest couldn't have been halted, fixed and then re-started. He heard from countless fans who came back from July 4th holidays, logged onto their computers and found themselves prematurely disenfranchised. (As for his own voting, "I'm not a computer person. I don't know nothing about no computers," he said, but he managed to log on and vote for himself about once every other day.)

Zee was chosen over the Hogettes as Washington's representative due to his seniority, writer Eric Kay explained in an e-mail. The Battle of the Beltways was clearly unexpected, based on the seeding, but "D.C./Baltimore residents clearly love their mascots--probably in a mildly unhealthy way--more than other regions," Kay wrote.

Rival NFC East fans were apparently ganging up on the Chief, and Poe--who is on the Ravens' payroll--had team-sponsored promotion and media blitzes in Baltimore to support his cause. Whether Poe is fiercer remains somewhat contested; "He's in a costume, he won't show his face, so how fierce can he be?" Zee noted.

But this is America. We are not Sore Losermen. We have our elections, and we dispute our results, and then life moves on.

"Any time you lose, man, you're disappointed somewhat," Zee acknowledged. "But what you do is you tighten up the belt and go on with it, because it is what it is."

(For a purple-hued Ravens version of this, go here.)

By Dan Steinberg  |  July 8, 2008; 6:02 PM ET
Categories:  NFL , Redskins  
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I have to say, I admit to using a macro to vote repeatedly over the course of a couple days. I didn't leave it on all night or anything, but I managed to log a few thousand votes from my lowly laptop. My foray into the dark-side, however, came only after logging on one day to see that Poe had gained 20% on Chief Zee overnight. My rationale was that we had to fight fire with fire. But the thing is, Baltimore fans are playing the Holier-Than-Thou card now, accusing Skins fans of single-handedly screwing up the process. If you ask me, the "winner" of the contest, no matter what the Sportsline editor says, was the one that received the most tainted votes. Because for every one skins fan that did what I did, there must have been two Ravens fans doing the same thing. So, I won't claim innocence on this side, but I take umbrage with the self-righteous Ravens fans who think they won fair and square.

Posted by: Mike | July 8, 2008 6:47 PM | Report abuse

the voting process was a joke

it was basically who can cheat harder,and I wouldn't even bother declaring a winner.

I remember in the skins/vikings contest,Zee was dumping on the vikings mascot for the first few days and out of nowhere the vikings mascot surged...

Posted by: Ron Burgandy | July 8, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Someone call the wambulance, Deadskins fans and extremeskinners whine like little babies. Congratulations to the Ravens and Poe for winning "Most Fierce NFL Mascot."

In the end, Poe crushed Cheap Z - contest/game over/the fat lady sang.

Posted by: RedskinsSucks | July 8, 2008 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Why does anyone care about this?

Surprising that Poe won though. I, like 90% of NFL fans, had never heard of him before.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 8, 2008 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Eastern Motors scurries to adjust its demographics research.

Posted by: | July 8, 2008 10:40 PM | Report abuse

The Dead Tree Crew would not have only got more votes than Poe, but would run up to B-More and kidnap him.

Gotta love the Redskins and their Super Fans!

Posted by: Rob | July 8, 2008 11:30 PM | Report abuse

I bet Ben Olsen would've gotten more votes then Cheif Z too. There's no way the United fans would've allowed losing to Baltimore unless they were paid a visit by Omar, Avon and Marlo. Then I think they'd change their minds. Ayyyyy-O

Posted by: Fushezzi | July 9, 2008 7:59 AM | Report abuse

I bet Poe has an STD just like all the other Baltimorons that cheer for the Ravens.

Baltimore is the STD Capital of the US and they suck at Tailgating regardless of what the Food Section says

Posted by: G20 FdaCowboys | July 9, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

@ Fushezzi

LMAO!! Omar is dead, Avon is Locked up and Marlo has no more money....Levy bled him dry.

While the contest meant very little, some of us love Chief Zee if only for his 30 years of dedication and so we wanted to see him honored. It's too bad he lost, and it's even more unfortunate that there was cheating going on both sides of the vote. I do think the stopping the vote 2 days short instead of just re-doing the whole thing did the process a disservice.

Posted by: Keino | July 9, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Steinberg, meet Mr. Pulitzer.

Posted by: je suis un pizza | July 9, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

I haven't played with security tools distribution in a while. It is popular with some people I know from Baltimore though. I think there are better tools out there.

Posted by: sitruc | July 9, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse

No worries about a mascot battle we will have our revenge this december on the road in bmore.

Posted by: hailskins21 | July 11, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

I am a hot black girl who likes sports, I opened my private video to my online friends at =====B L A C K W H I T E M E E T . C O M. It s a dating club for black and white singles. All of them are interested in my video.

Posted by: sally | July 12, 2008 12:15 AM | Report abuse

It's a shame to have a old man of color acting like a fool disgraceing a nation of people for the white man who happens to be jewish. When we were gather here as slaves,it was the Indians who help us to excape. and this is what we do to repay them. Shame on you Mr. Z. Williams

Posted by: eddie | July 22, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

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