I remember reading, some time ago, that the eminent modern poet-philosopher from India, Rabindranath Tagore, was invited to a football game on one of his trips to the U.S. As the opposing lines struggled up and down the field the gentle Tagore grew more and more horrified, until he finally turned to the professors who were his hosts, saying, "But this is no game. This is war!"
Going along with the notion that the philosopher's impression of America's great autumn sport was an accurate one, a task force of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED writers, reporters and photographers, under the combined generalship of Associate Editor Alfred Wright and Special Contributor Herman Hickman, have assembled for next week's issue a volume which should be as important for the ardent 1956 football fan as the works of Clausewitz are for the student of warfare. For next week's issue will concern itself almost exclusively with the coming football season. Among its features will be:
A two-page, two-color football map showing the U.S. pictorially divided into hostile regions.
The Eleven Best Elevens—those top teams which Herman Hickman predicts are most likely to provide fans with winning football during 1956.
A complete, 60-page series Of scouting reports by major conferences from the Ivy League to the Pacific Coast, of virtually every major team in the country.
Innumerable pictures of coaches and stars, many of them in full color, plus an assortment of cartoons by Marc Simont.
And a special article by Robert Coughlan on a question that virtually every fan has asked himself at one time or another: What actually happens to the nation's football greats after they leave the campus?
Next week's is the second special one-subject issue which SPORTS ILLUSTRATED will have published. All of us hope that you will find it as useful, informative and entertaining as you told us you found its predecessor, the special baseball issue of April 9. (The next one, a special Olympic issue to appear in November, I will tell you about shortly.)