Who has the funniest trash talk on the field?
- Chad Ochocinco, Patriots WR….28%
- Ray Lewis, Ravens LB….11%
- Bart Scott, Jets LB….6%
- Joey Porter, Cardinals LB….5%
- Shaun Smith, Titans DT….2%
[Based on 265 NFL players who responded to SI’s survey]
FAST FACTS: Nearly 40% of Ochocinco’s votes came from defensive backs…. The art of banter, however, appears to be a defensive specialty: Ochocinco and Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith were the only offensive players in the top 10…. The Chargers’ Philip Rivers and the Bears’ Jay Cutler (both with less than 1% of the vote) were the only quarterbacks among the 79 players named.
As part of the NFL midseason report in this week’s Nov. 7 issue, here is how senior writer Damon Hack (@si_damonhack) sees the playoff field shaping up.
|1. Steelers||1. Packers|
|2. Patriots||2. 49ers|
|3. Texans||3. Saints|
|4. Chargers||4. Eagles|
|5. Ravens||5. Falcons|
|6. Bills||6. Lions|
|Bills defeat Texans||Saints defeat Lions|
|Ravens defeat Chargers||Eagles defeat Falcons|
|Steelers defeat Bills||Packers defeat Eagles|
|Patriots defeat Ravens||Saints defeat 49ers|
|AFC CHAMPIONSHP||NFC CHAMPIONSHIP|
|Patriots defeat Steelers||Packers defeat Saints|
SUPER BOWL XLVI
Patriots 31, Packers 27
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.”
There are three covers for this week’s Sept. 19, 2011, issue of Sports Illustrated, on newsstands tomorrow. The national cover features Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez. It is Sanchez’s third appearance with the Jets — he previously appeared on the Jan. 26 and Sept. 6, 2010 covers — and his fourth overall. (He appeared on a regional cover of the 2008 College Football Preview [dated Aug. 15, 2008] while at USC.)
Appearing on the two regional covers are Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco and running back Ray Rice (available in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia) and Tigers ace Justin Verlander (available in Michigan and Ohio). Below is a rundown of the cover history for all three teams featured this week:
- Jets: Sept. 5, 2011 (regional cover for the 2011 NFL Preview featuring Calvin Pace); 23rd appearance
- Ravens: Nov. 13, 2006 (“The Gospel According to Ray Lewis”); fifth appearance
- Tigers: Sept. 28, 2009 (“The Righteous Franchise”); 23rd appearance (Verlander’s second appearance following the Aug. 28, 2006, cover)
Can senior NFL writer Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) correctly predict who plays in the Super Bowl for the second year in a row? King was on the money last year when he said the Packers and Steelers would reach football’s Promised Land. Now, after a four-week road trip through over 20 training camps, King predicts the Falcons will take down the Chargers, 24–20, in Super Bowl XLVI. This year’s NFL Preview also contains detailed scouting reports for every single team and a list of eight great matchups for every division.
The six regional covers for the Sept. 5 NFL Preview—on newsstands Wednesday—feature Jerod Mayo (Patriots), Calvin Pace (Jets), Curtis Lofton (Falcons), Lamarr Woodley (Steelers), Clay Matthews (Packers) and DeMarcus Ware (Cowboys). Below is the last time each team appeared on the cover and how many appearances they’ve had overall:
- Falcons: Sept. 6, 2010 (NFL Preview, regional cover); seventh appearance
- Patriots: Jan. 24, 2011 (divisional playoff loss to the Jets); 25th appearance
- Jets: Jan. 24, 2011 (divisional playoff win over the Patriots); 22nd appearance
- Steelers: Jan. 30, 2011 (AFC championship game win over the Jets); 39th appearance
- Packers: Feb. 14, 2011 (Super Bowl XLV win over the Steelers); 36th appearance
- Cowboys: July 26, 2010 (Miles Austin/training camp); 48th appearance