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December 27, 2004 Table Of Contents

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SCORECARD

Crowning Achievements

From the gridiron to the pool, from the cross-country course to the volleyball court, the season saw hard-fought finishes all around

By Julia Morrill and Kelley King

Faces in the Crowd

WHAT IF ...

The Road Not Taken

Lombardi's invincible Eagles? Gordie Howe of the Rangers? Jack Nicklaus, filler of prescriptions? These things almost came to pass, as we found in exploring sports' most intriguing might have beens

By Alexander Wolff

CONTRIBUTORS

A Whole Lot of Latitude

LETTERS

LETTERS

AIR AND SPACE

I Dream of Janet ...

... and O.J. and A.I. and everyone else who did things more absurd or outrageous in 2004 than I could possibly imagine

By Steve Rushin

SI Players: Life On and Off the Field

DAUNTE CULPEPPER

Vikings Quarterback

By Daunte Culpepper

SI Players

WHO'S Hot/WHO'S Not

SI PLAYERS POLL

[Based on a survey of 354 players]

My Life As a Little Man

Earl Boykins, Nuggets Point Guard

By Chris Mannix

Psych-up Songs

Two key defenders with very different tastes in inspirational tunes

The Questions with Fred Miller

Titans Tackle

By FrEd Miller

The Land of the Free Stuff

The NCAA lets bowls give swag worth up to $350. What the players get--and how they like it

Mail Bonding

It's a magical time of year--and not just because the playoffs are approaching. Even the Raiders send tidings of good cheer

Inside

Inside

The Week in Sports

Tough Break

The Eagles will miss TO, but they're still in better shape for their run at the Super Bowl than they were a year ago

By Peter King

Edwards Gives Chargers a Jolt

By Peter King

Stock Rises For Yale Grad

By Peter King

King's Corner

By Peter King

Dr. Z's Forecast

By Paul Zimmerman

Inside College Basketball

Vision Quest

Creighton's Tyler McKinney nearly lost the sight in his right eye. Now he's back hitting game-winning shots

By Grant Wahl

Three-Pointer

By Seth Davis

Players Get Short Shrift

PARTNERSHIP UNVEILED

By Seth Davis

Inside Baseball

Shuffling Aces

While the A's were dealing away two top pitchers, the Braves and the Yankees were busy stacking their decks

By Albert Chen

Starting Over

A look at the projected 2005 rotations for five of last season's playoff contenders (new starters in red)

By Albert Chen

Inside The NBA

Tangled Webb

The Kings have gotten off to a solid start, but the chemistry between their two stars remains a work in progress

By Ian Thomsen

Too Little to Keep Kidd?

VINCE CARTER TRADE

By Ian Thomsen

Heisley and West May Exit

MOVEMENT IN MEMPHIS

By Ian Thomsen

Ian Thomsen's Fast Break

By Ian Thomsen

Inside College Football

A Wing and a Prayer

Thanks to his perseverance and sterling right arm, junior QB Alex Smith of surprising Utah is SI's Player of the Year

By Kelley King

Key Orange Bowl Matchups

By Austin Murphy

Farewell

Even as new stars were born in 2004--welcome Michael Phelps, Ben Roethlisberger, Maria Sharapova, Smarty Jones--others went dark. Each of the athletes, coaches and innovators who died left a mark: some great, some small, all indelible

YEAR-END ISSUE 2004

The Pros the Pros Would Pay To See

In the ultimate peer review SI polled more than 600 players from the Big Three pro sports to find out which athletes they admire most. Some of their choices--and their choice comments--were unexpected

By Jack McCallum

The Great American Sports Atlas

The Great American Sports Atlas

By Brian Cazeneuve

Hall of Fame Members

New York has produced the most greats in basketball and baseball, Texas is tops in pro football immortals, and, of course, Canada is hockey's cradle. Here's where the best of the best came from in the four major sports and a few others

By Brian Cazeneuve

200 Wins 300 HRs

Maybe it's something in the air, the water or the surroundings. Whatever the case, many of the winningest pitchers and top home run hitters in the major leagues since 1920 were born in close proximity to one another

By Brian Cazeneuve

Where Pros Come From

On numbers alone California has produced the most current pros in each of the three major sports. But on a per capita basis, states in the South have a heavier concentration of NBA and NFL talent, and baseball has an unlikely outpost

By Brian Cazeneuve

The NFL by Position

No region produces more players per capita at almost every position than the Deep South, but who would have thought that Hawaii would be a paradise for linemen?

By Brian Cazeneuve

Teams on The Move

Once upon a time there were the Philadelphia Athletics, Minneapolis Lakers, Baltimore Colts and Quebec Nordiques. Pro franchises have moved around so relentlessly, always in search of greener pastures, that it's easy to forget where they all began

By Brian Cazeneuve

Altered States

If you are what you play, sports is its own country

By Brian Cazeneuve

What Fans Watch

The most watched sport on television continues to be pro football by a large margin, but NASCAR viewership is climbing steadily. The NBA has caught on out West, and baseball is inching back to its pre-1994 strike level

By Text by Brian Cazeneuve

College Champs

California, with 25 Division I schools, rises above the rest in the alltime accumulation of collegiate laurels. Texas, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania have been big-time players; Mississippi and South Dakota are the only states whose schools haven't won an NCAA title

By Brian Cazeneuve

Olympic Athletes

Since 1896, the U.S. has sent more than 9,000 athletes to the Winter and Summer Games. As illustrated by this map, which breaks down where those competitors were born by county per capita, every state has made a measurable contribution

By Text by Brian Cazeneuve

Where The Courses Are

By Brian Cazeneuve

Where Stars are Born

By Brian Cazeneuve

West Tampa

By Brian Cazeneuve

LIFE OF REILLY

It's Not Easy Being Santa

By Rick Reilly

Departments

Leading Off

Wait till Next Year

Despite nagging injuries in his rookie season, Lions wideout Roy Williams has the makings of a superstar

By Jeffri Chadiha

Prose Bowl

Legends, scandals and one very cold swimmer: SI's best books of 2004

Touring Pros

Andy Roddick and the U.S. Davis Cup team used their downtime to rent a bus, drive around Middle America--and bring tennis to an unsuspecting public

By L. Jon Wertheim

For the Record

Go Figure

Mystery Champ

A bust a year ago, Glen Johnson is now looking like the fighter of the year

Surfing's Big Day

Perfect conditions off Oahu meant one thing: A rarely held competition was on

By Austin Murphy

Q+A Ken Burns

The 51-year-old filmmaker's latest work is Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson (PBS, Jan. 17--18)

By Richard Deitsch

The Beat

By Lisa Altobelli

The Weeks Ahead

What to watch and watch for

By Julia Morrill

Under Review

By Nancy Ramsey