Following their triumph in the AFC Championship Game, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots appear on the cover of this week’s Jan. 30, 2012, issue of Sports Illustrated, on newsstands today. This is the 27th time the Patriots have appeared on the cover, and Tom Brady’s 24th appearance. They last appeared on the Jan 9, 2012 issue.
This week’s SI recaps the last Sunday’s epic NFC & AFC Championship Games, as well as looking forward to the “REMATCH” between the New York Giants and New England Patriots:
AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: ONE MORE FOR MYRA – DAMON HACK (@SI_DamonHack)
During the off-season, Patriots owner Robert Kraft lost his wife, Myra, to cancer. She was an extended mother to the players and her loss deeply affected the entire franchise. After the Patriots defeated the Baltimore Ravens to win the AFC championship, in thrilling fashion, Kraft spent some time by himself, choked up by emotions from both the win and for not being able to share the victory with his “sweetheart.” The players felt the emotion as well (page 38):
- Said WR Deion Branch: “Mr. Kraft has done a great job keeping himself together. I can’t even fathom how the guy is feeling right now, for us to have an opportunity to play for another Super Bowl without his better half. It’s special, but at the same time it’s bittersweet.”
- Said LB Brandon Spikes: “I told Mr. Kraft I was going to leave it all on the field for Myra. I personally wanted to come out and get that game for her and for him. I told him not to worry about a thing.”
NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN – PETER KING (@SI_PeterKing)
The NFC Championship Game had the feel of old school football, defense, defense and more defense. The New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers battled through four quarters and into overtime. The game ended with a winning overtime field goal from Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes, eerily similar to his game winning in the ’07 NFC Championship Game. As the Giants press on, much of the credit for their playoff run can be given to the strong bond between head coach Tom Coughlin and quarterback Eli Manning (page 33):
Coughlin notes, “Eli’s just so….so….reliable. Totally reliable. Trustworthy. Smart. Tremendously hardworking. Consistent as the day is long. What I love about him is, I know what he’s doing 365 days a year. He’s doing something that will help us win football games.”
This week’s Sports Illustrated: Prepare for a Patriots-Giants rematch; Muhammad Ali turns 70; the emergence of Ricky Rubio; the “art” of overpaying NHL goalies; why perhaps the best player in women’s CBB plays for DelawarePosted: January 18, 2012
Following their triumphs in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs, the Giants and 49ers appear on regional covers of this week’s Jan. 23, 2012, issue of Sports Illustrated, on newsstands today. Below is the last time each team appeared on the cover and how many appearances it has overall.
- Giants: Aug. 4, 2008 (David Tyree); 22nd appearance
- 49ers: Oct. 26, 1998 (Kevin Gogan); 34th appearance
AFC AND NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME FORECASTS – TIM LAYDEN (@SITimLayden)
Patriots 27, Ravens 17: “Neither [Ray] Rice’s rushing nor the Ravens’ D will relieve QB Joe Flacco of the pressure to make as many big plays as [Tom] Brady does. And that won’t happen.”
Giants 31, 49ers 21: “San Francisco’s seasonlong ascent was built on the NFC’s best defense, but Drew Brees picked it apart last Saturday for 462 yards. Expect the red-hot [Eli] Manning to be nearly as effective—and counterpart Alex Smith much less so against a better pass rush than new Orleans’s, with higher stakes.”
On the Tablets: Senior writer Peter King’s guest on his weekly podcast is Joe Horrigan from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Plus, King’s “Last Word on the NFL” leading up to the AFC and NFC title games.
Also in this week’s Sports Illustrated: Peter King’s divisional round predictions, disproving the myth that Michael Jordan was cut from his high school team and the reemergence of Indiana basketballPosted: January 11, 2012
You have already seen our cover featuring the BCS champion Alabama Crimson Tide. Here is what else awaits in this week’s Jan. 16 issue.
AFC AND NFC DIVISIONAL-ROUND FORECASTS – PETER KING (@SI_PeterKing)
Patriots 30, Broncos 16: “I can’t see Denver covering the Pats’ tight ends well—meaning the Broncos’ season will not end well.”
Ravens 30, Texans 20: “Ray Rice versus Arian Foster. Who wins? The rested Rice because he has a better QB to threaten the opposing secondary.”
Saints 24, 49ers 19: “Darren Sproles plays at a different speed from everyone else, even the lightning-fast San Francisco linebackers.”
Packers 24, Giants 23: “In the end Aaron Rodgers will make the plays in the fourth quarter to win the best game of the playoff weekend.”
On the Tablets: Peter King’s guest on his weekly podcast interview is Texans G.M. Rick Smith. Plus, King’s “Last Word on the NFL” heading into the divisional round of the playoffs.
Also in this week’s issue: the Texans’ star running back/budding poet, a seemingly inevitable LSU-Alabama rematch and 25 years of 3-pointers in college hoopsPosted: December 1, 2011
You’ve read about our cover story on the end of the NBA lockout and our profile of high school football star Kitam Hamm Jr. (For the latter, we hope that you also watched his story on last night’s broadcast of CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley and this morning’s edition of CBS The Early Show.) You’ve also learned that NFL players consider Jon Gruden to be their favorite TV football commentator. Here’s what else readers can expect from the Dec. 5 issue.
HOUSTON TEXANS: #OCCUPY THE PLAYOFFS – DAMON HACK (@si_damonhack)
With two QBs already lost to injury, the Houston Texans will need hard-charging, deep-thinking feature back Arian Foster to lead the way in order to make their first postseason ever. It’s a far cry from 2009, when Foster wasn’t even drafted out of Tennessee. Recalls Foster’s father, Carl, who threw his son a draft party that spring in Phoenix (page 72): “I was managing some hotels, and all of the families flew in and we had this big shebang. I had golf passes. We had tickets for Diamondbacks games. We had a great weekend, and the draft was to be the ending to a great weekend. It was kind of a nightmare.”
Foster has not rested on his laurels since emerging last year as one of the better running backs in the NFL. Says Texans running backs coach Chick Harris: “He’s always searching for other things, looking into various angles and philosophical beliefs. He’s the first guy to raise his hand to ask why, and if it doesn’t make sense to him, I’m the first one to hear about it.”
On the Tablets: The Texans’ T.J. Yates becoming the eighth rookie QB to see action in the NFL this season. The tablet features hotspots on Yates and the other seven as well as senior writer Peter King’s (@SI_PeterKing) weekly podcast interview (this week’s guest is Mike Mayock of the NFL Network) and “Last Word on the NFL.”
Also from Sports Illustrated: A new stat to measure individual defense, hometown hero Skylar Diggins, a leap of faith by USC’s gifted center and the fallout from Penn StatePosted: November 10, 2011
In addition to the College Basketball Preview Men’s Top 20 and Women’s Top 10 and this week’s NFL Players Poll, here’s what readers can expect in the Nov. 14 issue of Sports Illustrated, on newsstands now.
THE CASE FOR THE DEFENSE – LUKE WINN (@lukewinn)
Using methods that statistician Dean Oliver lay out in his 2003 book Basketball on Paper, SI conducted the most comprehensive study of individual defense ever done in college basketball. The defensive rating produced answers the following question: If a player were on the floor for 100 defensive possessions, engaging in his normal rate of plays, how many points would an opposing team score? (page 52)
The 2010–11 defenses for five of this year’s championship contenders were analyzed. The subjects comprised the nation’s most efficient defensive team from ’10 –11 (Florida State); the two preseason title favorites with the majority of their rotations returning (Ohio State and North Carolina); the defending champion (UConn); and, for contrast, an offensive powerhouse undone last season by its struggles on D (Vanderbilt). SI’s adjusted defensive rating is the byproduct of the following statistics:
- Percentage of plays involved with
- Individual stop percentage (per 100 possessions)
- Field goal percentage against
- Percentage of a player’s possessions resulting in a turnover
- Free throw rate (ratio of free throw attempts allowed versus field goal attempts allowed)
On the Tablets: Winn discusses SI’s defensive efficiency formula in a podcast interview.