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December 25, 2006 Table Of Contents

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Air and Space

This Ty Is Better Than a Win

By Steve Rushin

The Year in Sports 2006

The Year In Sports

From the rushing heroics of LaDainian Tomlinson, NFL star, to the rushing heroics of Kendric Smith, Arkansas schoolboy ... and everything else that made 2006 special


Too Good To Be True

Keeping track of all the miscreants in sports--from liquored-up trees to larcenous wideouts--is a dirty job, and nobody has to do it. But Steve Rushin did it anyway

By Steve Rushin

The Game Of the Year

It happened on a Friday night in Lepanto, Ark. There were record-setting individual performances,exhausting swings of emotion and an unexpecteddose of national fame. Yet almost no one saw it

By Chris Ballard


In 2006, as in every year, the sports world lost some of its most beloved athletes and superlative characters, from golfing great Byron Nelson and Negro leagues legend Buck O'Neil to pioneering broadcaster Curt Gowdy and Roller Derby queen Ann Calvello

By Mark Bechtel

The Best of 2006

The Best of 2006

Of all the year's spectacular performers, no one had the finishing touch of Mr. Touchdown, LaDainian Tomlinson

By Michael Silver

'Every Dodger Is Hitting a Home Run'

It was true on Sept. 18, when four consecutive ninth-inning dingers pulled L.A. into a tie with San Diego. Then came Nomar's game-winner

By Tom Verducci

The Voice of a New Generation

Avery Johnson remade the Mavericks in his feisty image and took them to the Finals--where his performance won over thousands of fans

By Jack McCallum

An Awakening At Wake Forest

Sorry, Rutgers. The biggest surprise came from the Demon Deacons, who won their first ACC title since 1970 after being picked to finish last

By Phil Taylor

Don't Be a Fool, Stay in School

A champion Florida team bursting with NBA-ready talent returned intact--thanks to a humble, hardworking Tennessee farmer

By Grant Wahl

The Winner Within

After losing in the French Open, Roger Federer faced questions about his tactics--and his courage. No one's questioning him anymore

By L. Jon Wertheim

Major Swing Change

After Phil Mickelson reverted to his old ways on the 72nd hole at the U.S. Open, a heavyhearted Tiger Woods took charge of the season

By Alan Shipnuck

A New Goal Standard

Capitals wing Alexander Ovechkin conjured up a score that left even the Great One awestruck and lifted the league with his gung-ho spirit

By Michael Farber

The Potshot Seen Round the World

From the World Cup to the Olympics, sports fans thrilled to a fateful headbutt, a refusal to fade away, a gracious response to adversity, a moving rescue and two courageous returns from injury


Inside: The Week In Sports


By Jack McCallum

Jack McCallum's Fast Break

By Jack McCallum


By Nate Silver


By Jeffri Chadiha

Peter King's Corner

By Peter King

Dr. Z's Forecast: Cowboys Up

By Paul Zimmerman

College Basketball

By Ted Keith

BACK FROM TRAGEDY: 'Bama Forward's Stirring Return

By Seth Davis

SETH DAVIS'S Hoop Thoughts

By Seth Davis


By Michael Farber

RORY FITZPATRICK: The Underdog All-Star Pick

By Brian Cazeneuve

Life of Reilly

White [Lie] Christmas

By Rick Reilly


Constant Rejection

Towering Tanzanian Hasheem Thabeet quickly became a shot-blocking force and fan favorite at UConn

By Luke Winn

Going Out in Style

Versatile quarterback Cullen Finnerty led Grand Valley State to its second consecutive Division II title

By Lars Anderson

Leading Off


Good Knight

Like a certain controversial Texas Tech coach, Philadelphia U's Herb Magee is about to set a wins record. That's about all the two have in common

By L. Jon Wertheim

WHO'S Hot / WHO'S Not

For the Record

Gift Rapping

At this point in the season, it's all about clock management. SI's annual two-minute drill

Q&A Katie Hnida

The 25-year-old is the author of Still Kicking: My Journey As the First Woman to Play Division I College Football

By Richard Deitsch

The Beat

By Adam Duerson

Weeks Ahead

What to watch and watch for

By Chris Mannix

Faces in the Crowd