With the NBA and NHL playoffs in full steam, daily baseball games and much more in the world of sports, there’s a chance you couldn’t get to all of the great content on SI.com this week. Inside SI has you covered. Here’s a selection of some of the top Sports Illustrated stories and video productions from the past week.
SI announced 10 finalists for its inaugural College Athlete of the Year.
Richard Deitsch reviews Fox Sports 1’s new big hires and more in his weekly Media Circus column.
Jeff Pearlman reminisces about the USFL 30 years later
Ian Thompson says Steph Curry is the latest to establish himself as a star in the playoffs.
Lee Jenkins writes that Kevin Durant can only do so much for OKC.
Rob Mahoney lists five players who have disappointed in the playoffs so far. He also notes the biggest surprises of the playoffs so far.
Do the NBA Playoffs Underdogs stand a chance? Chris Mannix and Maggie Gray discuss the Warriors and Bulls (video).
Mannix discusses how the injuries of Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and Amar’e Stoudemire have affected their respective teams (video).
Sara Kwak says the Isles vs. Penguins has been the most thrilling series so far.
Allan Muir says the Senators showed their superiority over the shorthanded Habs.
While this week’s SI cover man Sidney Crosby worked his magic in the Penguins’ Game 5 Win, Eli Bernstein says the play of both goalies proved to be the difference.
Stu Hackel on how the NHL may change their policy on head shots.
Tom Verducci says expensive free agents are once again failing to meet expectations.
Jay Jaffe says Matt Harvey is fastest-starting Mets ace ever.
Cliff Cocoran provides this week’s Awards Watch.
SI.com’s Tom Verducci takes a look at the increasing strikeout rate around the MLB and asks if the Braves’ power can overcome their swing-and-miss ways (video).
The Tigers top Joe Lemire’s power rankings.
Peter King notes differing draft strategies, who will control the ’14 draft and more in this week’s MMQB.
Jim Trotter writes on how the California workers comp bill will have a lasting effect on NFL players.
Don Banks asks if betters days are coming for minority hires in the NFL?
Chris Burke on each team’s most pressing question as minicamp looms.
Micahael Bamberger writes that TV saved Tiger Woods from withdrawing from the Masters.
Gary Van Sickle says McIlroy, Stricker and Scott make TPC Sawgrass look easy
Andy Staples takes a stab at his post spring top 25.
Holly Anderson hands out her Sixth annual Switzies, which celebrate the ‘best’ of the 2013 offseason.
Stewart Mandel on how Ohio State aims to break the SEC’s title streak in 2013.
Rick Pitino talks Kentucky Derby, Final Four and 2013-14′s prospects in a Q&A with Pete Thamel.
Luke Winn gives out his second annual data-based hoops awards.
Bruce Jenkins writes that Madrid red clay is a welcome sight after 2012 left all feeling blue
In his weekly mailbag, Jon Wertheim wonders if Serena Williams and Sloane Stephens can find peace.
Grant Wahl provides updates on Alex Morgan, Frank Lampard and various MLS nuggets in his Planet Futbol Column.
Jonathan Wilsion says David Moyes is a safe choice for Manchester United, but comes with risk.
Sid Lowe writes that Jose Mourinho’s separation from Real Madrid getting messy.
Floyd Mayweather tops Chris Mannix’s Pound-For-Pound Top 15.
Floyd Mayweather talks about his title fight victory over Robert Guerrero, and looks ahead towards the rest of his multi-fight contract (video).
Jeff Wagenheim discusses Anderson Silva’s punishment, Johny Hendricks’ beard, and more in his MMA mailbag.
Lars Anderson on what we learned on a rainy, dark day at Talladega.
Carl Estes provides this week’s power rankings.
The city of Torreon in Mexico has seen an increase of violent crimes, including murder, kidnapping and armed carjacking. And Torreon—the seventh-most dangerous city in the world— is where Herculez Gomez, a 30-year-old forward for Club Santos Laguna and striker for the U.S. National Team, went from being an MLS afterthought to a Mexican scoring champion. In this week’s SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, senior writer Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) examines perhaps the most stunning six-month turnaround in U.S soccer history.
After using Craigslist to hire someone to create a highlight tape, Gomez earned a 6-month contract with a club in Mexico for the 2010 season. He went on to become the first U.S player to win the Golden Boot, earning a share of the scoring crown in a foreign league and has earned a roster spot on the U.S National Team. With goalkeeper, Tim Howard, they are the only players to start each of the 10 games leading up to yesterday’s friendly match against Canada. Gomez says:
“I’m constantly buzzing and being a pest, things are going to open up for guys who are good on the ball…I know I have the motor…I just need to kill myself every game.” (PAGE 51)
Is Gomez good enough to lead the U.S at World Cup 2014 in Brazil? With 10 World Cup qualifiers left in 2013, we will just have to wait and see. But U.S. coach Jurgen Klinnsmann already likes what he has seen from Gomez:
“…the impact he made from Day One was to do everything possible for the team…He’s willing to sacrifice himself, and his chemistry seems to be really good with his teammates. He’s a pure giver.” (PAGE 51)
Manny Pacquiao Has Given up Gambling, Drinking and Infidelity, How Will That Affect His Boxing?
In This Year’s Stanley Cup Finals, No Player Has Shown as Brightly as Kings Goaltender Jonathan Quick
The U.S. is in Position to Sweep the Decathlon for Just the Second Time in Olympic History
U.S. Soccer Coach Jurgen Klinsmann Is Transforming the Game in America
(NEW YORK – June 6, 2012) – Texas Rangers centerfielder Josh Hamilton is on pace to have one of the greatest seasons in major league history, but one night earlier this year could have altered everything. Hamilton’s battle with drug and alcohol addiction had wasted five years of his career and an alcohol relapse in a Dallas bar in late January gained national attention. His family, teammates, the Rangers organization and most important Hamilton have moved on from this worrisome moment, but the difficult journey Hamilton faces every day is the cover story for the June 11, 2012, issue of Sports Illustrated, on newsstands now. This is the second time Hamilton as appeared on the cover, the first was on June 2, 2008.
Rangers manager Ron Washington knows the cost of bad choices, as he tested positive for cocaine during the 2009 season. He and Hamilton talk frequently about temptation, the game, people and what it means to be a man. Washington says, “Sometimes he can’t sleep at night. This is when the demons start to come out of him, and he needs someone to talk to. Sometimes it takes 20 minutes up in here, and sometimes we take a half an hour. Then he leaves, and I’m cleansed and he’s cleansed.”
Senior writer S.L. Price spoke with Hamilton’s wife, Katie, about the battles and the two relapses Josh has had over the last four years. Katie, who like Josh is a born-again Christian, credits their faith for saving Josh’s life, their marriage, his body and talent for the moment when he could return to baseball. After all she has been through with Josh, it would be easy to write off what happened in January, but Katie says, “People that don’t know me probably think I have some kind of co-dependence issue, like I get my value in helping him. Absolutely not. I fully expect him to be the man and husband that God has called him to be. I should never have to assist him in this.”
As Hamilton continues to put up what could be historic numbers, through Sunday, he was hitting .354 and leading the majors in homers (21), RBIs (57), OPS (1.138), total bases (142) and slugging percentage (.728), for him, it will be his faith and hard work that keeps him going every day (page 36).
THE FIGHTER FINDS PEACE – CHRIS MANNIX (@ChrisMannixSI)
Manny Pacquiao was on top of the world. And as the face of his sport, a world champion and a congressman in his home country, the Philippines, he had every reason to be. But in life, Pacquiao was on a path to destruction. Gambling, drinking and infidelity almost derailed the boxer’s life. His gambling turned so bad that even though Pacquiao was earning $25 to $30 million per bout, he was still forced to go to his promoter, Bob Arum, for cash to pay his debts. Arum has to wired hundreds of thousands of dollars to casinos five or six times. Arum said, “[Manny] had one of the worst gambling habits of any athlete I’ve ever known. He was addicted to it.”
After his wife Jinkee told him she wanted a divorce, he knew it was time to change and nine months ago when he found God, he finally was able to turn his life around (page 58).
Now, with a bout against the undefeated Timothy Bradley scheduled for Saturday, Pacquiao, and those around hm, say he’s in a better place—that he is at peace. Trainer Freddie Roach says Pacquiao’s killer instinct is still there, saying, “His boxing is as consistent as it has ever been. He’s not the same fighter he was five years ago, but he is still better than everyone else.”
JONATHAN AND THE AMERICANS – MICHAEL FARBER (@MichaelFarber3)
When the Stanley Cup is won, commissioner Gary Bettman will hand the trophy to New Jersey’s Zach Parise (Minneapolis) or L.A.’s Dustin Brown (Ithaca, N.Y.). For the first time both finalists have U.S. natives as captains. In addition, this marks the first time that both general managers – the Kings’ Dean Lombardi (Ludlow, Mass.) and the Devils’ Lou Lamoriello (Providence) – are U.S. born. In Game 2 both teams dressed six American players in their 20- man lineup, ratios that far exceed the overall NHL percentage of American players (24.2%).
In a coast-to-coast series brimming with U.S. born stars, no one has shone as brightly as the Kings’ soft-spoken goaltender, Jonathan Quick. Hailing from Connecticut, Quick may prove to be a once-in-a-generation goalie. On the ice his low stance obscures the bottom of the net while his skill and reflexes safeguard the upper portion of the net (page 46).
L.A. defenseman Willie Mitchell said, “This is my second year here, and he’s one of the best goaltenders I’ve ever seen. He’s also one of the best teammates ever because he’s such a selfless guy.”
FASTER, HIGHER, STRONGER – TIM LAYDEN (@SITimLayden)
The winner of the Olympic decathlon receives the unofficial title of World’s Greatest Athlete. In London the U.S. has three men who could all vie for the gold. Ashton Eaton, 24, may be a little young but has been deemed the greatest decathlon runner ever. Bryan Clay is 32 and while he may be too old, he won the gold at Beijing and is the second-best thrower in event history. The last is Trey Hardee who at 28 is in the prime of his career and is the most consistent across all 10 events (page 62).
The U.S. has an opportunity to sweep the decathlon for just the second time in Olympic history. The other was in 1936. Said Chris Huffins, Olympic bronze medalist in the decathlon, “We have three very talented guys in stable training situations, and the European-combined-event factories—the Czech Republic, Germany, the former Soviet countries—do not have that one guy. This is our time.”
Eaton, who many feel is the favorite because of his superior running ability, is trying to stay grounded. He said, “It’s important to not make the gold medal bigger than it is. But nobody ever says that about things that aren’t big.”
NOW IS THE TIME IN SOCCER WHEN WE DANCE – GRANT WAHL (@GrantWahl)
World Cup qualifying has begun and U.S. soccer coach Jurgen Klinsmann hopes to transform the way the game is played in America. By using the latest medical technology and pushing his players out of their comfort zone, Klinsmann is shaping a new era of leadership in American soccer, both at the professional and youth level. As he looks to change the American soccer philosophy, he organizes team yoga sessions, pattern recoginition drills and consistent blood tests (page 52).
Klinsmann has his players participate in VO2 max screenings, which measure the body’s ability to transport oxygen during exercise to gauge overall fitness. Some players believe this is a good and interesting way to approach their training but some are a bit skeptical about the aspects of the blood tests, amount of blood drawn and the value of doing your own scouting report.
With a history of mixed results, Klinsmann is looking to other coaches like Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski for inspiration and is trying to develop his players as complete people. Klinsmann said, “If you have a choice of seeing the Panama Canal or playing Xbox for two hours, we make that choice of the Panama Canal for you.”
SCORECARD: BACK TO HIS FUTURE – MELISSA SEGURA (@MelissaSeguraSI)
Brian Banks, a former blue-chip middle linebacker at Long Beach (Calif.) Poly High, has lost a lot in his life. In 2002, Banks was accused of raping former classmate Wanetta Gibson in a school stairwell. Banks lost his football scholarship to USC, spent five years of his life in prison and another five years wearing an electronic monitoring device strapped to his ankle. Last year, Gibson admitted that she had lied, and with the help of the California Innocence Project, Banks cleared his name. Now the 26-year-old hopes to revive his football dream and make an NFL team. Banks’ first tryout with NFL teams will be on Thursday, when he travels to Seattle to work out for Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, the man who recruited Banks to USC a decade ago (page 13).
Banks said, “The main thing for me is to reinvent myself as a person. I want to be known for who I really am and not what this system has labeled me as being. That starts with football.”
POINT AFTER: NOT-SO-HARD KNOCKOFFS– PHIL TAYLOR (@SI_PhilTaylor)
HBO’s Hard Knocks has finally found a team for next season, the Miami Dolphins. But why should HBO stop there? There’s plenty of room for expansion in the Hard Knocks franchise all you need to do is look at the formula for other TV shows. Why not do a Hard Knocks Criminal Intent, focusing on the Roger Clemens trial? Or a Hard Rockers, following Ryan Seacrest, Randy Jackson and the gang as they judge the London Olympic Games? Says SI’s Phil Taylor, “A Hard Knocks appearance can either draw attention to a team that needs it or rehabilitate the image of one that’s getting the wrong pub. In fact HBO, ought to be considering building out the franchise, like Law & Order and CSI.” (page 72).
INSIDE THE WEEK IN SPORTS
- Golf (page 24): Open Questions – Sports Illustrated surveyed more than 50 Tour pros on everything from which major is the most fair to who beat Hogan in 1955. Survey questions include:
- Besides yourself, who would you like see win the U.S. Open – Phil Mickelson 22%
- Based on course setup, which major is the most difficult? – U.S. Open 87%
- What is your favorite U.S. Open course? – Pebble Beach 26%
- Your least favorite U.S. Open course? – Oakmont 15%
- MLB (page 32): Good As New – In the 8,020th game in Mets history, Johan Santana did what Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and every other hurler in the franchise’s history couldn’t: He threw a no-hitter. In just his 11th start after shoulder surgery cost him the entire 2011 season, Santana threw a career-high 134 pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals, striking out eight, walking five and creating a million memories for Mets fans. (@SI_BenReiter)
- NBA (page 28): These Kids Are Alright – No one in Oklahoma City’s core four is older than 23, hard to believe given the team is in its second straight Western Conference finals. The Thunder have showed that they have grown up since last year’s playoffs with their play this series. (@SI_LeeJenkins)
- NHL (page 33): Best Ever? – Nicklas Lidstrom combined extraordinary ability with superb durability. At 42 years old, he retired, capping off the greatest career of any defenseman. (@Rosenberg_Mike)
- Tennis (page 30): The Old World Order – Week 1 of the French Open, with so many European players playing through, proved that the center of the sport has moved to the Continent. The top eight seeds of the men’s draw were from Europe and 24 of the top 27 women’s seeds. (@Jon_Wertheim)
THIS WEEK’S FACES IN THE CROWD (page20)
- Summer Green (Milford, Mich./Brighton High) – Soccer
- Dom Kone (Bucksport, Maine/Colby College) – Track and Field
- Marie Kelleher (Glen Allen, Va./Virginia Senior Games) – Swimming
- Shawn Beam (Burleson, Texas/U.S. Bowling Congress) – Bowling
- Kate Baldoni (Newport Beach, Calif./Stanford) – Water Polo
- Christian Metzler (Woodbridge, Va./Pope John Paul the Great) – Track and Field, Soccer
Chelsea’s Didier Drogba Excels in Soccer and Humanitarian Efforts
After Winning the Preakness Stakes, I’ll Have Another Looks Toward the Elusive Triple Crown
JR Hillenbrand Eyes Redemption at This Weekend’s Indianapolis 500
The Undefined Path of the Transgender Athlete
(NEW YORK – May 23, 2012) – Six playoff games in four days from their professional basketball and hockey teams, a baseball team leading its division by seven games hosting another division leader and 114 cyclists competing in the final stage of the Amgen Tour of California (the biggest bike race in North America) created a great sports weekend for sports in Los Angeles.
Senior writer Lee Jenkins (@SI_LeeJenkins) was on hand for all the madness. Jenkins talked with team executives, players, coaches, workers and fans to gain perspective on this time extraordinary weekend. New Dodgers minority owner Magic Johnson, who appears on the cover of the May 28, 2012 issue of Sports Illustrated, said, “When fans fall in love with their teams, it’s not just because they’re winning. It’s also because they are part of their community. That’s where we lost our way a little bit. We need to sign autographs. We need to give to charity. We need to embrace our community again.”
Much of the action took place in downtown Los Angeles at the Staples Center, home arena for the Lakers, Clippers and Kings. It was a crowning moment for Tim Leiweke—president and CEO of AEG, which owns the Staples Center. He had imagined a weekend like this back in 1997 when AEG first announced its redevelopment plans for this area. When construction started, the surrounding neighborhood was filled with liquor stores and rent-by-the-hour motels. AEG transformed the space into a four-million-square-foot entertainment district called L.A. Live, with 19 restaurants, two hotels and a public plaza. The hotels were so crowded this past weekend, even the Kings couldn’t get in (page 38).
Leiweke said, “I don’t think it is lost on Roger Goodell and the NFL owners what is going on. I don’t know if it’s a showcase or a defining moment or an exclamation point, but we have a chance to prove what we have been saying for years: ‘Of course football should be here. We have the infrastructure. We are built for this.’ ”
On the Tablet: Time lapse video of all the activity at the Staples Center.
ONLY THE BEGINNING – ALBERT CHEN
Dodgers centerfielder Matt Kemp is one of the best baseball players in the game, but the fact that he is still learning the game is a scary thought for opposing teams. As a teenager growing up just outside of Oklahoma City, Kemp loved basketball and played on his AAU team all summer. Baseball was strictly secondary. By his junior year in high school though, Kemp realized that his build would limit his basketball potential, and he began to focus on baseball (page 46).
In many ways, Kemp is still new to the game. What the Dodgers see now is a player whose mental skills are catching up to his physical skills. Manager Don Mattingly said, “This game is not so much physical. It’s when the mental side and physical side connect, that’s the most important part. Everyone’s road takes them on a different path. And with Matt, we’re beginning to see everything connect, and it’s a beautiful thing.”
IN PRAISE OF DROGBA – GRANT WAHL (@grantwahl)
Last Saturday, Chelsea defeated Bayern Munich 4—3 in penalty kicks to win its first title in the prestigious UEFA Champions League. Striker Didier Drogba scored the equalizer in the 88th minute and later scored the winning penalty kick. Senior writer Grant Wahl reflects on a conversation he had with Drogba two years ago in Angola’s province of Cabinda in southern Africa (page 56).
In that interview, Drogba spoke of his humanitarian efforts to fund and build a hospital in his native country of Ivory Coast and his interest in helping the poor, especially in earthquake-torn Haiti. Even though Drogba is nearly done with his soccer career, he believes he has much more to do with his life saying, “I want to help with a lot of things: my charity, the hospital. I hope to keep learning. For me it’s important to open my mind. I love to meet people and listen to their stories.”
On the Tablet: Champions League slideshow.
LET’S ALL HAVE ANOTHER – TIM LAYDEN (@SITimLayden)
A generation of American adults is nearing middle age without having witnessed a Triple Crown winner. It has been 34 years since Affirmed outdueled Alydar to take the 1978 Belmont Stakes and wrap up racing’s third Triple Crown in six years, a period that started with the great Secretariat in ’73 and included Seattle Slew in ’77. Eleven times since ‘78 a horse has won the first two legs of the Triple Crown but fallen short in the Belmont. I’ll Have Another will be the next to try. He won the Preakness the same way he won the Derby, by wearing down the speedy Bodemeister, this time just three strides from the finish (page 52).
I’ll Have Another faces his toughest challenge, the Belmont. The failures at Belmont have not been coincidental. John Servis, who trained Smarty Jones, which lost its bid for a Triple Crown in 2004, said, “You get to the Belmont at the end of a long campaign, with a bull’s-eye on your back. I know I felt a lot of pressure.”
On the Tablet: A look at Triple-Crown near misses.
BACK IN CONTROL – LARS ANDERSON (@LarsAndersonSI)
JR Hillenbrand’s final-lap crash in the Indy 500 last year could have been a career-defining moment, for all the wrong reasons. The initial reaction from media and pundits was that he had committed the biggest blunder in the history of American racing. Hillenbrand climbed from the ruined Panther Racing car that slid across the finish line in a hail of sparks and rode in an ambulance to the infield care center physically fine but emotionally broken. But JR Hillenbrand handled his heartbreak with grace. After the race Hillenbrand refused to blame anyone but himself, speaking eloquently to all who had questions for him.
Hillenbrand said, “The worst feeling in the world as an athlete is not closing things out. But I knew it was in my hands how people reacted to me, so I wanted to be thoughtful and serious about it. I accepted the situation.”
Playing fields have long been segregated on the basis of sex. But what happens to the athletes whose physiology doesn’t match their gender identity? Against whom do they compete? What obstacles do they face? And how are they being treated by sports’ governing bodies? One transgender scenario currently unfolding involves the U.S. Olympic women’s track and field team. Keelin Godsey, formerly known as Kelly, was born as a female and competes as a female but identifies as a male. Godsey will continue to compete as a female, in hopes of making the team heading for London, but will later undergo sex reassignment surgery to make his biological and gender identities match (page 66).
The UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute, which studies gender-identity issues, pegs the size of the U.S. transgender population at 700,000; how many are athletes is difficult to determine. The most contentious recent case was in November 2010. Kye Allums, a starting guard for the women’s basketball team at George Washington University came out before his junior year, making him the only open transgender Division I athlete. Allums said, “Yes, I am a male on a female team. And I want to be clear about this: I am a transgender male, which, feelings wise … I feel as if I should have been born male with male parts.
On the Tablet: Podcast with Richard Deitsch, David Epstein and Pablo Torre.
NBA PLAYERS POLL
Who is your favorite NBA announcer?
Charles Barkley 20%
Jeff Van Gundy 14%
Steve Kerr 10%
Reggie Miller 9%
Mike Breen 6%
[Based on 124 NBA players who responded to SI’s survey]
FAST FACTS: In Barkley, Kerr and Miller, TNT announcers landed three of the top five spots. ESPN is represented by Van Gundy and Breen (who also handles play-by-play for the Knicks on MSG). . . . Former Knicks star Walt Frazier, Breen’s broadcast partner at MSG, placed 10th, with 2% of the vote. . . . Bill Walton, whose bad back forced him to retire as an analyst for ESPN in 2009, placed eighth, with 3%, ahead of Shaquille O’Neal. . . In a similar poll on Facebook, Sir Charles ruled again, as he was named favorite by 52% of SI readers.
SCORECARD: SNOOZE CONTROL – DICK FRIEDMAN
Last week, during the Roger Clemens federal perjury trial, three jurors fell asleep. Senior editor Dick Friedman believes that this perfectly illustrated the boredom that some sports stories entail. Stories that he believes have been over-reported include the prospects for a Pacquiao-Mayweather “fight” and when will Los Angeles get an NFL team (page 15).
POINT AFTER: A STAT EVEN DR. NAISMITH WOULD LOVE– ROY BLOUNT JR.
Contributing writer Roy Blount realizes there are many basketball stats already, nevertheless, he invents a stat for a player who, based on his effective field goal percentage, makes more shots than he takes. Blount calls the stat Over the Top (OTT) (page 74).
INSIDE THE WEEK IN SPORTS
- MLB (page 33): Excitement in the Air – The Orioles currently have the best record in the American League, but their chances at contending may still be a year or two away. (@Joe_Sheehan)
- NHL (page 35): Block Busters – The Rangers lead all postseason teams with 328 blocked shots. Some feel they are ruining the game, but for New York, it’s all about winning. Michael Farber
- NBA (page 36): Help Wanted – With Chris Bosh injured, LeBron James and Dwayne Wade will have to play an even larger role for the Heat.
THIS WEEK’S FACES IN THE CROWD (page 24)
- Bernie Montoya (Yuma, Ariz./Cibola High) – Track and Field
- Stephanie Canfield (St. Joseph, Ill./St. Joseph—Ogden High) – Softball
- Marvin Kimble (Milwaukee/Hamilton High) – Gymnastics
- Ryan Skomial (Hartland, Mich./Hartland High) – Lacrosse
- David Pless (Atlanta/Bates College) – Track and Field
- Caitlin Racich and Summer Ross (Santa Barbara, Calif./Pepperdine) – Sand Volleyball
Also in this week’s Sports Illustrated: Tim Tebow’s wild ride, Tony Stewart’s comeback for the ages and a possible end for the Kansas-Mizzou Border WarPosted: November 23, 2011
You’ve read about Terry McDonell’s cover story on “Sport in America” in both his Editor’s Letter and the Nov. 28 cover story. Here’s what else readers can expect in this week’s issue, on newsstands today.
TIM TEBOW’S WILD RIDE – ALAN SHIPNUCK (@AlanShipnuck)
Over the last two months Tim Tebow has been showered with love, doubt, praise, ridicule and awe. Starting with the Broncos’ Oct. 9 game against the Chargers, in which Tebow replaced an ineffective Kyle Orton, senior writer Alan Shipnuck sifts through the widely divergent opinions that have surfaced. All of which might be best summed up by Denver running back Lance Ball (page 44): “Tebow this, Tebow that…. You know what? Tim Tebow is great for football, man. Love him or hate him, everybody has an opinion. And I’m pretty sure we’re gonna be talking about him for a really long time.”
Senior writer Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) asks whether Denver is willing to make the option its offensive staple for the long term. Even if they don’t and opt to draft a pro-style quarterback, King sees a future for Tebow. He writes: “Smart teams maximize their players’ skills. Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy stopped forcing a square peg into a round hole when he made Denver option-centric. There’s no reason he can’t stay with the option in 2012, whether Tebow’s the starter or merely the league’s most compelling relief pitcher.”
On the Tablets: Photographic highlights of Tebow’s career, starting with his freshman season at Florida. Plus, Shipnuck discusses his story on the Broncos signal-caller in a podcast interview.