Walter Payton on national cover of Sports Illustrated; Phillies and Bills appear on regional covers

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Walter Payton appears on the national cover of this week’s Oct. 3, 2011, issue of Sports Illustrated, on newsstands now. In addition, Phillies pitchers Cliff Lee and Ryan Madson (available in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia) and Bills cornerback Drayton Florence (available in New York and New England) appear on regional covers.

Below is the last time each team appeared on the cover and how many appearances they’ve had overall:

  • Bears: Jan. 24, 2011 (Jay Cutler); 25th appearance
  • Phillies: July 18, 2011 (Carlos Ruiz); 26th appearance
  • Bills: Dec. 17, 2007 (Kevin Everett); 12th appearance

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Watch Clips from “Moneyball” This Week on the Tablets

If you’re as excited for Moneyball as we are, you’ll like what the tablet edition of this week’s Sports Illustrated has in store. To whet your appetite between now and the movie’s release tomorrow, we have four clips from the movie: a clubhouse scene with Scott Hatteberg (Chris Pratt) and David Justice (Stephen Bishop), the first meeting of Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) and Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), Beane working the phones at the trade deadline and a confrontation between Beane and A’s manager Art Howe (Philip Seymour Hoffman).

On the gridiron, SI has you covered. In light of Cam Newton’s record-breaking start to his career, there are hot spots of six former QB stars detailing how each fared at the start of their careers. That is supplemented by senior writer Peter King’s (@SI_PeterKing) podcast interview with Ravens LB Terrell Suggs, his “Last Word” video and senior writer Jim Trotter’s (@SI_JimTrotter) predictions for Week 3. Our college coverage includes video highlights of Baylor’s do-everything quarterback, Robert Griffin III, along with photos from the best of last weekend’s games.

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Also from This Week’s Issue: Brad Pitt Outtakes, The Boston Red Sox and their “New” Moneyball, Cam Newton Silences His Skeptics, The Perfection of Baylor’s Robert Griffin III and How Sports is Saving the World

You’ve seen the Sept. 23 cover featuring Brad Pitt and read our review of Moneyball. Here’s what else readers can find in this week’s issue of Sports Illustrated, on newsstands now.


To say that Pitt enjoyed his photo shoot with photographer with Simon Bruty would be an understatement. Check out some of the outtakes that hit the cutting room floor by visiting Sports Illustrated’s Facebook page today . To view the photos, click the “Like” button at the top of the page (if you’re not already a fan) and click the “Fan’s Only” section on the lefthand side of the page.

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Brad Pitt on the Cover of This Week’s Sports Illustrated

Brad Pitt, the star of the upcoming movie Moneyball, doffs an Oakland A’s hat and graces the cover of this week’s September 26, 2011, issue of Sports Illustrated, on newsstands Wednesday. Pitt joins an exclusive group of non-athletes and non-coaches to be so honored — a list that includes Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale, Stephen Colbert, Bob Hope, Ed Sullivan, Steve McQueen and Arnold Schwarzenegger in addition to former presidents John F. Kennedy, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan (appearances on the 11/26/84 and 2/16/87 covers) and Bill Clinton.

Commenting on his photo shoot with SI photographer Simon Bruty, Pitt says: “I was just happy to do Sports Illustrated. To do something other than the fashion-y things, for something I respect, is much more fun.”

Senior writer Austin Murphy (@si_austinmurphy) spoke at great length with Pitt about getting Moneyball made. Among the topics they discussed:

  • Pitt’s background (or lack thereof) in baseball: “It’s shameful how little I know about baseball…. I’m amazed they let me do this movie…. Baseball and I didn’t get along that well. I wrestled one year [in high school]. I dove one year. Everything but baseball.”
  • How Pitt acquitted himself to his role as a baseball lifer: “I’m an Oklahoma-Missouri boy, so I’m no stranger to a bit of dip. We start early with that, so really, I was just revisiting my roots.”
  • What Pitt was initially drawn to about the story: “I’m a sucker for the underdog story.”
  • The end goal of the film: “What we were trying to do is tell an unconventional story in the Trojan horse of a conventional baseball movie.”
  • The comparisons Pitt makes to the movie and three of his favorite ’70s films (The French Connection, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, All the President’s Men): “In scripts today, someone has a big epiphany, learns a lesson, then comes out the other side different. In these older films I’m talking about, the beast at the end of the movie was the same beast in the beginning of the movie. What changed was the world around them, by just a couple of degrees. Nothing monumental. I think that’s true about us. We fine‑tune ourselves, but big change is not real.”

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Jets, Ravens and Tigers (Oh My!) on This Week’s Sports Illustrated Covers

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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)

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