It was a match-up for the ages. Two heroes from Arizona State's legendary 1996 Pac-10 Championship team facing off for the the title of Sun Devil Legends Tournament champion. It was a clear case of there being no wrong choice, as both men embodied perfectly what a true Sun Devil truly was. And in appropriate fashion, it was decided by the narrowest of margins.
The Sun Devil Legends Tournament kicked off nearly a month ago with a field of 16 Sun Devil legends from all eras. They were randomly broken into four regions and then seeded one through four in the tournament bracket. Each match-up was decided by reader votes.
As there is in any tournament, there were upsets along the way. Sparky Region No. 4 seed Derek Hagan stunned top seeded Danny White in the opening round, then defeated John Jefferson in an improbable Final Four run. Only one No. 1 seed, Gold Region champion Mike Haynes, made the Final Four, before his luck ran out against Jake Plummer, whose easy victory over Randall McDaniel was eye-opening in itself.
With Plummer and Tillman, perhaps the two most popular Sun Devil players ever, facing off for the title, it was bound to be close, and was it ever.
Both men held multiple leads over the course of the three-day final round voting, but never was the margin more than a handful of votes. In the end, Tillman beat Plummer by capturing 50.3% of the votes to Plummer's 49.7%. Yes, the final difference was just two votes.
So congratulations to Pat Tillman, a true champion and legend in every sense of the word. To celebrate his win and to honor the man, the life and the legacy of Pat, consider making a donation to the Pat Tillman Foundation.
The final bracket: