WASHINGTON — As Junior Galette pushed himself up from the Bermuda grass surface in Oakland, he was overcome by emotion.
It had been 1,001 days since his last sack, as a member of the New Orleans Saints, on Dec. 28, 2014. Since that day, he had been cut by the only team he had ever known and started three different stories of redemption–the first two cut short by major injuries.
One thousand and one days. In that time span, the world had literally changed around him.
Hundreds of other NFL players had started and ended their careers between his sacks. In a sport where success is fleeting, there was no guarantee that he would ever experience that rush of adrenaline again.
Now, as he climbed to his feet, he let it all pour out on the nationally televised Sunday Night Football broadcast.
And the Internet fell in love.
According to a year-end report from Giphy.com, the go-to open source website for .gif media files, Galette’s sack dance was the fifth most-watched gif of 2017.
If you’re over the age of 40 or living under a rock, you might ask why? What could Galette’s first sack in nearly three years mean to mainstream America?
Punctuating social media posts with GIFs has become the ultimate challenge and, if done properly, the pinnacle of Internet street cred. According to a press release, GIPHY has 300 million users sharing over 2 billion GIFs every day.
Galette’s sack had 180 million views after being video into the looping photo file format, and that’s just the website counter.
After the files are shared or downloaded onto social media and messaging apps, there’s no way or knowing just how many times Galette’s sack dance was seen. Perhaps billions of times.
And the best part is that the vast majority of people who saw the gif are not Redskins fans. Most of them don’t know who Galette is, don’t care how many days he had to wait between sacks, or that the Redskins scored an upset victory on the road.
What anyone looking at this gif can instantly understand is that this is pure, unadulterated happiness. This is what it looks like to have an outpouring of emotion that’s so strong, nothing can contain it.
And whether it’s your mom texting you that she’s bringing home pizza, your girlfriend telling you that she’s ready for Netflix and chill, or your boss telling you to take Friday off, Galette’s sack dance translates perfectly.
In a year of uncertainty, Galette’s sack dance brought joy to the masses.