Plagued for years by bad mojo, one of the NFL’s iconic franchises desperately needed a change of fortune. Andy Reid’s arrival began the turnaround, and now the Kansas City faithful—fans, former players, the guys suiting up this Sunday—believe the final postseason piece is in place: Patrick.
As the NFL coaching carousel continues to aggressively spin—only two head coaching spots of eight remain open—one longtime NFL coach’s name hasn’t been part of the conversation. Some people might think it’s for good reason that Jeff Fisher hasn’t been considered (a .512 career coaching record over more than 20 years) but Fisher wants to be. What has the former Oilers/Titans and Rams head coach been up to lately? We travel to his farm in Nashville to find out.
It was just one of those plays—in the 2016 season-opener, the Packers’ Pro Bowl corner went in for a clean tackle and came up groggy. Suffering the after-effects of concussion, Sam Shields spent days and months in darkness, shut off from the world, before finally determining to battle back. Two years on, he’s a key defensive and special-teams cog on a Rams club with Super Bowl aspirations.
Three years removed from their Super Bowl year, the Saints hit the depths—Bountygate, suspensions and, in the end, the NFL’s all-time worst defense. How do you pick up from that and move on? Start with the coach, and the handful of players who endured it all.
Been there, done that: Again in 2018, Philly called on its modest (but statistically mind-blowing) backup QB to save the season. Now heading into the playoffs, he and the Super Bowl champs are, justifiably, loaded with confidence. After all, they’ve seen it before.
First-year head coach Matt Nagy is quick with a smile and quicker to draw up a wild, creative play that gives defensive players a chance to score some TDs. Throw in a seven-game improvement and a team-wide passion for dance, and no team in the NFL is having more fun than the Chicago Bears.
SI spent the last four months with the Vikings: observing cryotherapy, watching film with coaches and strolling with the GM, trying to capture a franchise on the cusp of glory. Instead, something far more true to the NFL happened—an unpredictable, volatile season. These are the highs and lows of Minnesota’s journey, with an ending yet to come.
Kyle Turley was a franchise left tackle who was suddenly staring at retirement before his 30th birthday. How the ugliness—uncontrollable fits of rage, fistfuls or pills, a marriage in peril and thoughts of suicide—spilled into his post-football life. And how he and his wife swear cannabidiol has gotten them through it.
A one-of-a-kind franchise, a front office’s conservative approach, a roster caught in limbo, and the friction between the legendary quarterback and the embattled head coach. A closer examination of what has led to the Green Bay Packers’ most disappointing season of the past decade.
The short guy with the shoulder injury. The rejection in San Diego and the posthurricane redemption in New Orleans. Six feet of calm, cool and collected dad, overshadowed by his glitzier quarterback cohort. If this is how you see the Saints’ quarterback—boy, are you missing out.
It’s a double rematch this weekend as the Sooners and Red Raiders meet in Lubbock on Saturday and Baker Mayfield faces Patrick Mahomes in Cleveland on Sunday. The last time the two QBs played each other, all they did was put on the greatest offensive show in the history of college football. No one who was there will ever forget that night
The kid who almost quit football in high school is the breakout star of the NFL season, directing the Chiefs’ offense with a mixture of sublime confidence and did-you-see-that! spectacle. Mahomes’ style is no surprise for those who’ve known him—the guy’s always been that way
A headbanging linebacker who played on the edge for 15 pro seasons and says he had more than 2,000 concussions, Gary Plummer felt his mind slipping away once he left the game. Fearful and desperate, he turned to alternative therapies—yoga, music, diet, even gardening—to counter the cognitive decline. The question for struggling former players: Is it possible to reverse dementia? Is there hope?
As they grew into Super Bowl contenders, the Seahawks—especially the Legion of Boom defense—prided themselves on a ruthless internal competitiveness that lifted everyone and was the foundation of an NFL championship. But some former and current Seattle players say a growing rift developed, based largely on the special treatment some felt was afforded quarterback Russell Wilson. Now the team they believed was set up for a long run of success has been torn up and rebuilt around Wilson. Did it have to go down like this?
He’s one of the best ever to play the game—but as general manager of the Broncos, he has yet to identify a young passer with the arm, the brain and the fortitude to take over the franchise the way he did when he arrived in Denver as a rookie in 1983. Are John Elway’s standards too high? Is his vision clouded by his own past mastery? Will he ever find his quarterback?
A classic front-office grinder—passionate, ambitious, driven—Rick Smith lived football 24/7 as he dedicated himself to building the Texans into a contender. That changed last fall when his wife was diagnosed with cancer. Stepping away for a year, the man who was once the NFL’s youngest GM has found new priorities and new balance in life, even as a season is set to kick off without him for the first time in more than two decades
For Robert Quinn, a humble, quiet NFL veteran who’s been raising his fist since September 2016, the gesture is meant to empower and provoke, and also unite. Its roots trace back to his Carolina upbringing, and for centuries before that. ‘I want people to understand,’ he says—but also, ‘I won’t stop until they get rid of me.’