THIS WEEK’S SPORTS ILLUSTRATED
SI Predicts Oregon Will Beat OSU & Highlights The NFL Playoffs and Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski
NEW YORK, NY (January 6, 2015) – This week’s issue of Sports Illustrated highlights the National Championship between the Buckeyes and the Ducks. SI picks Oregon to win, but their records and the long list of similar stats suggest a close final. Joey Bosa is graced with NFL talent, but the Ohio State d-lineman must harness all that ability for the Buckeyes to upset the Ducks. This issue also showcases a preview to the NFL Playoffs. Senior writer Andy Benoit analyzes the final 8 teams and brilliantly breaks down the divisional matchups.
On the regional cover, Pete Thamel dives into the life of New England’s Rob Gronkowski, from his white party bus to his past injuries and on-field abilities. He may party hard but he works even harder. John Elway, former Broncos’ QB and current GM, has four Super Bowl blowouts and two titles on his resume. Aside from that, he’s sure he has another Lombardi Trophy coming to him – so he built a team designed to grab one right now. Seth Davis unearths the story of George Raveling, the pioneering African-American college basketball coach, who historically crossed paths with Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963 and walked away with one of the defining documents of the civil rights movement.
Brian Hamilton: Thriving On The Edge
If Ohio State wants to beat Oregon, sophomore defensive end Joey Bosa will need to channel his inner NFL roots, continue to refine his skills, and prove that the hype surrounding him is deserved. Described as goofy and a pain in the ass by his mother, Bosa’s 20 tackles for a loss this season is nothing to laugh at. Despite receiving his first offer from Alabama, he decided to follow his father’s footsteps to Columbus which explains why the upset over the number one seed was that much sweeter for him. But to beat Oregon, he’ll need to disrupt Marcus Mariota the same way he did Blake Sims.
“He’s quick, he’s smart, and he’s coordinated. The combination of those attributes is really impressive, because he knows how to use them and when to use them.” – Senior tackle Michael Bennett
“He has an innate gift of contact balance that you don’t find in a lot of defensive linemen. He’s got the greatest core strength of anybody I’ve seen at a young age. He can do unbelievable things because he’s under control.” –Luke Fickel, Ohio State defensive coordinator
Pete Thamel: Gronk Worker’s Party
Fueled partly by work ethic and partly by genetics, Rob Gronkowski has regained his MVP form after six surgeries cost him 17 games over the 2012 & 2013 seasons. Yes, he is fiesta, but after losing two seasons, he’s a more mature – and extremely dedicated – frat-house hero. Gronk has always worked harder than he partied, something his friends insist got lost as his public persona evolved. Hop on, New England: Rob is driving the Patriots’ bus.
“He’s one of the hardest-working guys that I’ve ever been around.” – Bill O’Brien, former Patriots offensive coordinator
“Medically speaking, we expected him to be playing and effective. But as far as being an MVP candidate, that’s unheard of.” – Ryan Donahue, physical therapist
“Don’t get lost in his awkward silliness. It’s not immaturity. He’s a great competitor.” – former Arizona coach Mike Stoops
S.L. Price: Elway – The Tao Of Woody
After losing 43-8 in last year’s Super Bowl, the only thing on John Elway’s mind was how to get better. Now, he has assembled a team that he believes has another Super Bowl in sight. Worth in sports is decided by winning and Elway’s two victories help prove that notion and change the narrative about him. Now for Elway, the business of football has shifted from playing to creating. There is no denying that the window is closing on his time, which is why he has made his team suited for winning now.
“My viewpoint is different from everybody else’s. I’ve always fought to stay off the pedestal. I’ve got to make [everyone else] feel like I’m one of them. When they know their opinion is important, you’re going to get the best out of those people.”- Elway
“It’s part of him being an ex-player: his aggressiveness and will to win. He’s about winning now. He’s not building a team for five years from now.” – Terrance Knighton, Broncos’ defensive tackle
Seth Davis: The Coach And The Preacher
George Raveling needs three storage units for all the things he has collected, but one item means more to him than all the others: the three papers that lay on the podium while Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his memorable speech. A former basketball star at Villanova, Raveling was a pioneering college coach at predominately white universities. After being coerced to attend the march in Washington D.C., Raveling asked to work security. With only a handful of people between him and MLK Jr., he asked for the speech when it was all over. He never knew it would become such a historic document, and now refuses to sell it despite its undeniable worth.
“I never heard anybody who had the command and gifts of public speaking that he did. He carried himself as you would envision a leader would do…I was in total awe; I just froze and was totally locked in on what he was saying.” – Raveling
“At no time do I remember thinking, Wow, we got this historic document.”- Raveling