Saturday, December 02, 2006

Sports Illustrated's Football America: Most Boring Issue Ever?
This morning, I took the most recent issue of Sports Illustrated to the gym in the basement of my building, straddled an excercise bike, and plugged 60 minutes into the timer. Turns out, I should have brought more reading material.

The December 4 issue of SI (if anybody can explain to me why it's a good idea to no longer put the magazine's issue date on its cover, I'm listening), is billed as Football America. SI editors made a bold decision, got a little crazy, and decided to put Bret Favre on the cover. Genius. The cover also notes that senior editor Austin Murphy has contributed an article on Why Football Works. Now anticipating a somewhat shorter read, I looked around the gym for more reading materials to scavenge, and felt some relief when I saw a stray copy of Cooking Light.

Here's how my read of SI went:

Leading Off - Cool picture of some hockey players with giant shadows, and a bunch of people in Brazil getting ready to do the swimming part of a triathalon. A picture of the Lions-Dolphins game that I immediately flipped through after I saw mention of the Lions.

From the Editor - A blurb about the Sportsman of the Year Award, which seems to have degenerated into an opportunity for various SI writers to call attention to themselves by making silly nominations. The head-butting French soccer player. Mark Cuban. Right.

Letters - Some indignant responses to a recent feature on God's Linebacker (former God's Accessory To Murder) Ray Lewis. I can't get too worked up about that. Some stuff about Tiki Barber.

Steve Rushin Column - I flipped right on by this, as always.

Scorecard - A highlight, this included an amusing breakdown of Isiah Thomas fueds. It also reminded me of an old SI profile of Jeff Ruland, when he was asked about a particularly brutal pick he set on Isiah one game. He said something to the effect of, "Oh, yeah, on that one I was trying to send Isiah to the Children's Hospital." Scorecoard has some other good stuff, I learn that Ben Wallace had a game where he didn't get a point or a rebound, and that Pat Dobson died only a day after he was diagnosed with leukemia. Wow. I remember when Dobson was part of that Orioles' rotation of four 20 game winners in 1971. That's something that gets more impressive over the years. There's a Q&A with Lost's Matthew Fox, who's going to be in that new movie We Are Marshall, and who played football in Columbia. He says nothing about where Lost is headed. The Beat's not too interesting, a bad picture of Tiger Woods' wife.

Then there are a couple of articles about high school sports. I read the basketball stuff, flip by the football.

Next, Austin Murphy's ode to Football in America. Eh. The pictures are good, the story is trite and sentimental, and pretty much snooze-worthy. Then an article about college football rivalries. Apparently Ohio State and Michigan don't like each other very much. Great stuff.

We move to pro football. An article about the Patriots beating the Bears. There's really not too much more that I want to know about that game. So I flip. Then the Favre article. Nothing here. He's withstood adversity. He's old, at least for a football player. He might retire, but he doesn't really know. Neither does his wife. Packer fans. Next.

Next, their always entertaining Fantasy section. We should try to get Reche Caldwell (he's caught 38 passes, he's been gotten), DeAngelo Williams (yeah, we know, he's a starting running back, he's also gotten) and Aaron Brooks (no, thanks). We should start Jamal Lewis. We did, actually. We got eight points from him, which was good for him this year, but he's sucked this year, that's why I'm going to miss the play-offs unless Drew Brees sets some kind of record on Sunday. You should sit Santana Moss if you have him. I disagree, and think he'll score some points.

Peter King shares his insight. King really bugs people, I know everybody at Deadspin hates him. I just never read the guy, call me a rube. Those guys at Deadspin are smart. Some of them are lawyers. They read everything and watch everything on TV. They've memorized a lot of lines from movies and tv shows. I think I've seen every episode of Family Guy about five times now. But I can't recite any lines. This I attribute possibly to too much alchohol in college. Maybe a couple of years after. I remember the Family Guy where Peter got into a fight with a chicken, though.

Anyway, now I do have an opinion about Peter King, and it's that he's not particularly insightful, because he says that Mike Vanderjagt (and Olindo Mare) will be great the rest of the year, Vanderjagt benefitting from King's presumption that Dallas will score a lot down the stretch. Ha.

Then there's some college basketball. Moderately interesing piece on Julius Wright of Kansas. Inside the NBA tells us Zach Randolph's OK.

Inside the NFL, no gems here. More hopping upon the Tony Romo bandwagon. More Peter King stuff. Joe Gibbs is definitely coming back to the Redskins next year. Poor Joe. I'd make a run for it if I were him. Paul Zimmerman says that the Bengals will beat the Ravens. Nice pick.

Rick Reilly writing about A good cause, and a nice column, which is not something I say often about Rick Reilly.

Then a VW ad. And that's it.

Not a strong week for Sports Illustrated. Lots of writing about football, nothing too revealing or interesting. I don't really see a need to theme an issue to Football America. There was no golf or car racing, that was good at least. I wrapped it up in about forty minutes, and grabbed a nearby Cooking Light. Good stuff there, some nice salmon recipes.


Anonymous said...

Good call on Santana Moss.

Anonymous said...

being a guy, maybe the ben roethlisberger ad missed your notice. he cleans up in a dirty kind of way that works for me.

"It fills you up right."

cleavers44 said...

Good call on Santa-ana Claus Moss today, good to see at least his (and Ledell's) efforts didn't go unnoticed.

The only other good news from the Skins game - mj is back in town for softball this year!

By the way, when are we opening the Cleavers Team Store at Farragut Square? We could sell (insert name here)'s game-used Circue de Soliel pants...

tadcranky said...

That's good about MJ, I hope he and his employer are on the same page.