The cover at left is one you will never see on SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, but it might well have appeared in place of this week's action photograph from the NFL playoff. A standby, it was ready for the presses in the perfectly possible event that weather grounded the plane we had chartered to take film of Sunday's game from Cleveland to our printing facilities in Chicago. A delay of 30 minutes anywhere en route would have forced us to use the standby. There was, obviously, no delay, so the standby cover now joins a number of similar collector's items, including those below.
Arnold Palmer first fell into the discards in 1962 when he tied Jack Nicklaus in the U.S. Open at Oakmont. Deadlines made it necessary to engrave an action shot of both Nicklaus and Palmer, and then wait to see who won. Palmer didn't.
Poor Arnie swung for naught again in 1963 under much the same circumstances. Once more the U.S. Open ended in a tie—this time a three-way deadlock. Palmer and Jacky Cupit became never-rans, while winner Julius Boros made the cover.
Floyd Patterson fought Sonny Liston in July 1963 on a Monday night, too late to close an action cover. A painting of Liston and this training-camp photograph of Patterson were both engraved, and Floyd was not "AGAIN THE CHAMP!"
The phillies were a cinch to win the 1964 National League pennant, and a World Series preview cover of Jim Bunning was prepared. But big leads can always be blown, so Illinois Linebacker Dick Butkus was also ready to run, and run he did.
Pro football presented double trouble last month when the Cardinals played an important game against the Browns. A black-and-white action photograph was scheduled for the cover (and ran), but a standby had to meet two requirements. It had to be four-color—all standbys are—and it had to show a star of the winning team in action. Clearly, two standbys were needed. They are below: Charley Johnson starting a play and Jimmy Brown driving into the line, both in earlier games.