Also in this week’s Sports Illustrated: The Chargers’ inability to win in the east, Clemson football is dancing with joy and David Beckham’s future in Los AngelesPosted: October 26, 2011
You’ve seen our World Series cover featuring the Rangers and Cardinals, read JaMarcus Russell’s side of the story and found out who the NFL’s fastest player is according to our weekly Players Poll. Here is what else awaits readers in the Oct. 31 issue of Sports Illustrated, on newsstands today.
PILE ON THE CHARGERS – DAMON HACK (@si_damonhack)
The Chargers’ 27–21 loss to the Jets on Sunday was the latest misstep in their recent history, when they have looked like a Super Bowl contender only to travel east and lose. Since 2000 they are a meager 8–18 on the road against the teams now in the AFC East and AFC North, including 1–4 at New England, 0–4 at Pittsburgh and 0–2 at Baltimore. For starting quarterback Philip Rivers, Sunday’s loss was his 10th in 11 road starts against the AFC East or AFC North since 2007. All of which solidifies a sentiment that has shadowed San Diego teams of recent vintage: that they are supremely talented and chronic underachievers (page 38).
On the Tablets: This week on his NFL podcast, senior writer Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) interviews Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray and Colts vice chairman Bill Polian. Plus, the Week 8 edition of his “Last Word on the NFL.”
CLEMSON TIGERS: REBORN IN DEATH VALLEY – MICHAEL BAMBERGER
Like his team—which went a disappointing 6–7 one year ago—Clemson tight end Dwayne Allen has found rebirth during the Tigers’ 8–0 start. Early in his career, he butted heads with coach Dabo Swinney, fought with other players and told his coaches to “f— off.” Now, the 6′ 4″, 255-pound senior is projected to be one of the first tight ends taken in next year’s NFL draft while serving as a leader on an offense averaging an ACC-best 40.6 points per game. Says Allen (page 42): “What I experienced under Coach Swinney was a total transformation…. What we have is the feeling of comfort where we are able to dance with each other.” That includes Swinney, who showed off his moves to Boogie Shoes by KC and the Sunshine Band following last Saturday’s 59–38 win over North Carolina, prompting Allen to say that his coach’s dancing “reminds me of a squid.”
DAVID BECKHAM’S LAST STAND – GRANT WAHL (@GrantWahl)
The fifth and final year of David Beckham’s contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy has been his best in MLS. If Beckham can lead the Galaxy to a championship, his American experiment will be validated—and he might choose to stay Stateside despite offers from Europe next season. Says Tim Leiweke, president of AEG, which owns the Galaxy (page 50): “I think David is loyal to us. Despite all the rumors and bulls— out there about David going to France or the Premier League, David only leaves the Galaxy if David and we decide that. In fact, I believe David will be here again next year. People can make any offer they want. The loyalty he has to this club because of the way we have treated him and stood by him is going to be rewarded if we so choose to continue with David.”
On the Tablets: Senior writer Grant Wahl’s (@GrantWahl) predictions for the 2011 MLS Cup Playoffs. Also, a Soccer Roundtable podcast hosted by SI.com senior editor Jen Chang (@JenChang88) featuring two guests: Wahl and Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Kasey Keller.
SCORECARD: UP AGAINST THE WALL – LARS ANDERSON (@LarsAndersonSI)
Following the death of Dan Wheldon at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Oct. 16, SI spoke with more than a dozen drivers, team owners, track owners and safety experts on what steps should be taken to save lives on the IndyCar circuit. Based on those conversations, here are five suggestions that senior writer Lars Anderson makes (page 11):
- Stop racing on high-banked ovals
- Reduce speed
- End double-file restarts
- Raise the SAFER walls
- Cover the back wheels
POINT AFTER: WHERE’S THE BOO IN BOSTER? – PHIL TAYLOR (@SI_PhilTaylor)
Senior writer Phil Taylor says that Cardinals fans—long labeled the Best Fans in Baseball—needed something to give them a little more bite. So he attended Game 1 of the World Series searching for a darker side to St. Louis fans. But even after enlisting the help of a Rangers fan from Dallas named Dan, Taylor had no luck. Commenting on his interactions with Cardinals fans, Dan said (page 64): “They’ve been great. I told one guy back at the hotel that we were going to sweep them, and he said, ‘Well, I don’t think so, but best of luck.’ You can’t get them mad.” Taylor followed Dan around the concourse during Game 1, and at one point they were approached by three twentysomething men in Cardinals gear. The men said to Dan, “You look a little lost. What section are you looking for?”
THIS WEEK ON THE TABLETS
- SI Digital Bonus: Lost in History – In this Aug. 19, 1996, feature, William Nack profiles the 1929–1931 Philadelphia A’s. Even though they were the best team in baseball and had four future Hall of Famers, no one has heard of them.
- Off the Record – This week’s must-see moments in sports video.
INSIDE THE WEEK IN SPORTS
- NFL (page 22): Blue Statement – Another late rally showed that Tim Tebow might make it as an NFL starter after all.
(Jim Trotter, @SI_JimTrotter)
- On the Tablets: A video on the polarizing impact of Tim Tebow.
- College Football (page 26): Rewriting History – With one wild catch, a converted QB secured a spot in Michigan State lore—and put the Spartans in prime position in the Big Ten. (Andy Staples, @Andy_Staples)
- On the Tablets: Highlights of the Wisconsin–Michigan State thriller.
- NHL (page 28): Super Saver – Newly acquired goaltender Tomas Vokoun has backstopped the Capitals to a perfect start and headlines our list of the five best pickups of the new season. (Michael Farber)
In addition, all of this week’s Inside columns feature sports-specific Truth & Rumors feeds that update in real time.
THIS WEEK’S FACES IN THE CROWD (page 19)
- Genna Kovar (Hampton Bays, N.Y./Hofstra) – Field Hockey
- Brandon McIver (Billings, Mont./Billings West High) – Golf
- Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky./Paul Laurence Dunbar High) – Fencing
- Zack Worden (Deltona, Fla./Louisiana-Monroe) – Water Skiing
- Tarah Murrey (El Cerrito, Calif./Cal) – Volleyball
- Joey Cleary (Winchester, Mass./Bowdoin) and Griffin Cardew (Ipswich, Mass./Bowdoin) – Football
Follow Faces in the Crowd on Twitter @SI_Faces