Falcons running back Jamal Anderson may have been the first
big-time athlete to renegotiate a contract through word of
mouse. Anderson, who held out last summer, used his Web site to
update fans on negotiations, to make his case for a huge raise
and to rebut Atlanta management's hard-line stance. By
mid-August, Anderson, the NFC's leading rusher in 1998, had
signed a new deal worth $32 million over five years. Here are a
few slightly less mercenary official player sites.
Second-year Colts quarterback Peyton Manning (above) isn't the
best player in the league yet, but he has the best site by far.
Archie's son answers fans' questions ("How much do you bench
press?" "330 pounds"), poses trivia questions and even provides
his sophomore stats at New Orleans's Isidore Newman High. A
section called "Peyton Talks" quotes Manning on everything from
education to teamwork, while "Peyton's Locker Room" hawks such
Peytonphernalia as an autographed 28-ounce water bottle ($9.95).
A cyber squatter has already registered Warren Sapp's name, so
Bucs defensive tackle Sapp uses this nom de net based on his
uniform number. Buy a limited edition signed lithograph of Sapp
for $199.99. Learn what this sackmaster (7.0 this season)
believes fans of offensively challenged Tampa Bay must do to
improve. "Just become more knowledgeable," writes Sapp. "[The
fans] cheer when our offense has the ball, for example."
Ronde and Tiki Barber were standouts at Virginia (where they
were known as the Barbers of C-ville). Now, Ronde plays
cornerback for the Buccaneers and Tiki is the Giants' leading
rusher. We're still waiting for salon.com to do a story on the
Bills quarterback Doug Flutie plays drums for the Flutie Gang,
featured on this site. Order their newest release (Ramblin'
Scramblin' Man) or download audio from songs they've covered.
Follow the fortunes of Eddie George, Jeff George, George Seifert,
Georgia Frontiere and former NFL Today cohost Phyllis George.
"Just log on to my damn site!"
COLOR PHOTO: JOHN MCDONOUGH
A CURRENT AFFAIR
By dipping its toes into bass-fishing waters, Fox hopes it has
its hooks into the next big TV sport
Did you know that one of the most renowned bass fishermen in
America is named Mike Wurm? If enough of you take the bait
proffered by Fox this Sunday at 4:30 p.m., Wurm could become a
household name. Adding new meaning to the term broadcast, Fox
will create major-network history by presenting 90 minutes of
coverage of the final round of the world's richest bass-fishing
tournament, the $3.5 million Ranger Millennium M1, in Cypress
Ten finalists will compete, with the winner reeling in up to $1
million--$400,000 in prize money and the rest in sponsors' loot.
"A number that's hard to ignore is that more than 55 million
people in the United States consider themselves anglers," says
Fox Sports executive producer Ed Goren, explaining his network's
fishing expedition. "[This is akin to] NASCAR just a few years
Fox isn't tackling this assignment lightly. Baseball
play-by-play man Joe Buck will make the casting call, joined by
Fox baseball analyst Bob Brenly. Though Brenly is an avid
angler--he got into fishing as a Giant with teammates Dusty
Baker and Robby Thompson--he realizes he's in uncharted waters.
"It's not like you can watch tapes or something to prepare," he
says, "because this hasn't been done on network TV before."
Our worry: With a microphone on every contestant, a copter cam
and a roving boat camera, won't the fish be scared away?
The Oct. 23 Mike Tyson-Orlin Norris bout was the pay-cable
network's highest-rated program of the year, at 10.5.
True, the average World Series rating (16.0) was up 14% from
1998's 14.1 (the lowest ever), but the Yankees' sweep of the
Braves cost the network lucrative late-Series games.