'Sports Illustrated' Crowdsources Cover of Year's Final Issue

Sam Laird
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1. Devin McCourty Tweets While Playing in the Super Bowl (Sort of)

A year after after letting its readers choose the cover of an issue for the first time in history, Sports Illustrated is asking them to do the same for 2012's best sports moment as well as upvote this year's top photo and most inspiring athlete.

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Readers' pick for the most iconic sports moment of 2012 will determine the cover of the magazine's Dec. 31 issue, while crowdsourced choices for "Most Inspiring Performer" and "Picture of the Year" will respectively appear in the Dec. 17 and Dec. 24 editions.

Voting will take place exclusively on the magazine's Facebook page, where fifteen nominations from each category will be featured for one week beginning with Most Inspiring Performer on Nov. 22. Picture of the Year polls will open Nov. 29 and Moment of the Year voting Dec. 6.

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Fan votes for pieces on 2012's most inspiring athlete and best sports photo are new, but the magazine let readers choose its moment of the year in 2011 as well. That was the first time fan input decided a magazine cover in the more than five decades of Sports Illustrated's existence. Readers chose paralyzed Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand leading his teammates onto the field in his wheelchair amid falling snow as 2011's most iconic moment, and you can see a screenshot of him on Sports Illustrated's cover above.

LeGrand has also been using social media to inspire fans around the world and advocate for spinal cord research, which we wrote about here in May.

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Sports Illustrated, for its part, has made an obvious effort this year to integrate social media into its legendary print pages. In July, it featured a series of Instagram shots from around the world of Major League Baseball, the first time the magazine printed photos processed using the wildly popular photo sharing app. SI.com ran a five-day "Tweet Week" in September, featuring daily features exploring the growing intersection of Twitter and sports. And the "SI Vault" Twitter and Tumblr accounts have become modest sensations among sports media Twitterphiles for their frequent photo posts celebrating historic, beautiful and hilarious photos from the magazine's massive image repository.

Will you rock SI's moment-of-the-year social vote? Tell us which 2012 sports moments made the biggest impressions on you in the comments below.

BONUS GALLERY: Our Favorite Sports Social Media Moments of 2012

1. Devin McCourty Tweets While Playing in the Super Bowl (Sort of)

As New England Patriot Devin McCourty took on the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI, his followers were still able to receive real-time updates from his social feeds. But he wasn't sneaking tweets between plays or during timeouts. Devin and twin brother Jason, who plays for the Tennessee Titans, share their Twitter and Facebook accounts. The Super Bowl showcased one of the more creative approaches to social media in the sports world.

Image courtesy of Devin and Jason McCourty's Instagram.

Click here to view this gallery.

This story originally published on Mashable here.