For his Point After column on Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, senior writer Phil Taylor talked to another former Heisman Trophy winner who many experts believed would never be successful in the NFL, Doug Flutie. According to Flutie, the skepticism about unorthodox quarterbacks is just as strong as it was 25 years ago. Among the quotes Taylor collected from Flutie, in addition to those used in his column:
“Everybody wants to tell you what Tebow can’t do, instead of looking at all the things he can. It’s ridiculous. The Colts were 3-13 in Peyton Manning’s first year, but they gave him time to develop. Tebow won’t get that time. Lots of quarterbacks struggle early in their careers, but people make a final judgment on guys like him much earlier. They’re just looking for a reason to dismiss him and say, ‘He can’t play.’ ”
Also in this week’s Oct. 24 issue: Dan Wheldon in memoriam, Plaxico Burress sounds off on the NFL’s illegal hits, Jaromir Jagr’s return from Siberian exile and the soon-to-be winningest QB in college football historyPosted: October 19, 2011
You’ve seen the two covers for this week’s issue and our World Series prediction as well as details from Gary Smith’s interview with Jerry West, who discussed in great detail the depression that plagued him throughout his Hall of Fame career and most of his life. Here is what else readers will find in this week’s Oct. 24 issue, on newsstands now.
DAN WHELDON: 1978–2011 – LARS ANDERSON (@LarsAndersonSI)
Two-time Indy 500 champ Dan Wheldon’s future seemed bright on Sunday morning, when the 33-year-old signed a contract to race for Andretti Autosport in 2012. Hours later, just 11 laps into the season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Wheldon was dead, killed in a 15-car wreck. Series champion Dario Franchitti said afterward, “One minute you’re joking around at driver intros—the next, Dan’s gone. I’m struggling to get it together.” When the day ended with a low-speed, five-lap tribute to Wheldon, IndyCar’s season came to an end—and the sport had lost one of its most popular, most engaging drivers (page 56).
On the Tablets: A slideshow of highlights from Dan Wheldon’s career on the IndyCar circuit.
SCORECARD: LEARNING TO PLAY NICE – DAMON HACK (@si_damonhack)
From a numbers standpoint, the response to the NFL’s Black Sunday—Oct. 17, 2010, when three players were concussed on violent hits—has been effective. The number of fines for illegal hits is down, and no suspensions have been handed out. But the NFL has not completely gotten through to players. To wit (page 15):
- Jets receiver Plaxico Burress: “If you have a chance to knock me out or break my leg, man, knock me out. That’s missing a game or two, not the whole season. As receivers, we know what we signed up for.”
- Bears safety Brandon Meriweather, who has been fined $95,000 for illegal hits since the start of last season: “They teach you growing up that you’ve got to be violent and put the fear of God in people, but when you get to the league that you’ve been dreaming about your whole life, they tell you to change your game 100 percent or get money taken from you. I try lowering my target zone, but if you have a receiver who’s 5′ 8″, it’s still going to be a helmet-to-helmet collision. How do you avoid that when you’re running full speed?”
- Packers linebacker Desmond Bishop, recalling a clear shot he had on Matt Ryan in Week 5: “I didn’t quite know how to hit him. I didn’t want to hit him too high, when it should be natural to just go hit him. I ended up getting the sack, but I didn’t hit him as hard as I wanted to.”
Also in this week’s Sports Illustrated: The rise of baseball’s middle class, the changing archetype of a college football walk-on and a tribute to Al DavisPosted: October 12, 2011
You’ve seen the Oct. 17 cover featuring Jimmie Johnson and read about the weekend Sports Illustrated spent with the five-time Sprint Cup champ and his number 48 team. Here’s what else is in this week’s issue, on newsstands today.
MLB PLAYOFFS: CENTRAL CASTING – ALBERT CHEN
Baseball’s final four consists of a quartet of midmarket teams from middle America. It’s the first time in 13 years that a glamour franchise from either the I-95 corridor (New York, Boston, Philadelphia) or California (Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Francisco) has not been present in the Championship Series. Says St. Louis leftfielder Matt Holliday (page 52): “I’m sure the powers that be probably aren’t too happy. They might take our games off the main channels and put us somewhere else.”
Other observations from staff writer Albert Chen’s story:
- Cardinals G.M. John Mozeliak: “You have to be creative in finding ways to beat enough teams that outspend you. To have four clubs left that basically have to follow a similar model, it shows you there are ways to have success in this league that aren’t always about being the biggest spender.”
- Rangers G.M. John Daniels: “After we were competitive in 2004, winning 89 games, the thought was, let’s step on the pedal a little bit to try to win. And that was our biggest mistake. We didn’t go full commitment into a long term program until 2007, when we dove in, from ownership to A ball, with a plan and said, Here’s what we’re going to do: develop our own players, invest in infrastructure, hire the best scouts, treat them well and give them the best tools they need. We’re going to be patient with our players and our plan.”
On the Tablets: A photo gallery of the best shots from the American and National League Championship Series.
Also in This Week’s Sports Illustrated: The Meanest Player in MLB, The End of the “Outrage Open” in Flushing, Predictions for the Most Competitive NASCAR Chase Ever and College Football’s Ultimate UnderdogPosted: September 14, 2011
You’ve seen the three covers for this week’s issue, out on newsstands now. The Sept. 19 issue of Sports Illustrated also includes the following.
MLB PLAYERS POLL
Who is the meanest player in baseball? (page 22)
- A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox C….29%
- Chase Utley, Phillies 2B….13%
- Milton Bradley, Mariners LF….11%
- Carlos Zambrano, Cubs SP….5%
- Vicente Padilla, Dodgers RP….4%
[Based on 215 MLB players who responded to SI’s survey]
FAST FACTS: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen has said of his catcher, whose aggressive play has clearly chapped many an opponent, “If you play against him, you hate him. If you play with him, you hate him a little less.” … In 2006, SI named Utley baseball’s dirtiest player—for his often muddy uniform, not his demeanor…. Since ’06, Padilla has plunked 56 batters, fifth most among all pitchers, and Zambrano has hit 49 (10th)…. In a similar poll, the Indians’ Jim Thome was voted MLB’s nicest player.
Read on for more after the break.
Another Letter to Miami Asking Them to Drop Football, Why a 154-Game Season Would be Good for Baseball, Jim Harbaugh Channels the Spirit of Bill Walsh, The Day That Damned the Dodgers and More from the Aug. 29 IssuePosted: August 24, 2011
You’ve seen the Brewers “living the high life” on this week’s cover. This week’s Aug. 29 issue also includes the following:
1. Time for Miami to Get Real: Sixteen years ago, senior writer Alexander Wolff asked then University of Miami president Tad Foote to dismantle a Hurricanes football program that had run amok and then some. Now, history has repeated itself. Read Wolff’s updated letter – this time addressed to Donna Shalala – addressing the Nevin Shapiro scandal by visiting Sports Illustrated’s official Facebook page. Click “Like” at the top of the page if you are not already a fan, then click “Fan’s Only” on the left-hand side of the page to read Wolff’s letter.
2. The 154-Game Solution: Senior writer Joe Posnanski argues that shortening the MLB season by eight games would not only shorten a season that seems endless as it is, it would also lend proper context to the home run records warped by the steroid era.
3. Jim Harbaugh: The new Niners coach is looking to the past and embracing the teachings of Bill Walsh – who, like Harbaugh, also made the jump from Palo Alto to the pros – hoping to achieve the same level of success as San Fran fans hope they’ve finally found a worthy successor.
4. The Day That Damned the Dodgers: When Giants fan Bryan Stow was beaten into a coma in the Dodger Stadium parking lot on Opening Day, it marked the latest black eye for a once-proud franchise. Senior writer Lee Jenkins finds out more about what the team – and the city of L.A. – have done in response.
5. 2011 U.S. Open Preview: Senior writer L. Jon Wertheim lists seven players to keep an eye on and takes a closer look at what makes the last tennis major of the year so profitable – and why U.S. tennis is in the dark ages in spite of that.
6. Which manager would major league players most like to play for? 291 players weighed in for this week’s MLB Players Poll.
Read on for more.