The world has changed over the last half century—how’s that for a stunning historical and cultural insight? As obvious as that is, it’s still fun to take stock of the evolution. Especially since we’ve been thinking a lot here lately about what this magazine and brand have been and where they’re going.
Take the Jan. 20, 1969 issue of Sports Illustrated. Joe Namath on the cover, following the Jets’ epic upset of the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. Tex Maule’s game story, with then-hipster references to the Jet Age and “swinging” nights on the town. The word housewife in the headline of a different story. A car ad touting power windows as a technological leap that will ease the physical burden of rolling up to a mailbox and mailing a letter.
That particular issue of SI popped up as we were conceptualizing the cover for our latest edition of the magazine: The February issue, out today, features a grouping of the nine living MVPs of the Super Bowls played in Miami, including Namath. In some ways South Florida is the unofficial home of the Super Bowl; this year’s game, at Hard Rock Stadium, is the 11th in Miami, more than any other host city. It’s been the scene of some of the most super Super Bowl moments (Broadway Joe’s guarantee, Swann’s catch, Montana’s drive) and some of the strangest. As Michael Rosenberg shows in his cover story, the growth of the Super Bowl from football curiosity to de facto national holiday can be traced quite clearly through the games played in South Florida, from Super Bowls II to LIV.
That push-pull between past and future is especially resonant right now for SI. We’re entering a new chapter in the brand’s 66-year history: This is our first issue as a monthly magazine. Things have changed since Namath’s Super Bowl cover. Maule’s story was full of game detail and play-by-play, the kind of information that is outdated seconds after the final whistle, much less days or weeks later when a magazine is read. The new SI is no longer a vessel for news and event recap. It’s an invitation to lean back and enjoy thoughtful writing and beautiful images—you’ll find both in Rosenberg’s story and in any of those around it in the February issue.
There’s a place in the SI universe—a huge place—for breaking news and timely coverage. You get that at SI.com, on SI’s social channels and with our expanding network of local team sites. That’s the new SI, growing digital scope and focus to go with a premium magazine.
As for the magazine, you’ll see 16 issues in 2020, including the Swimsuit Issue and standalone previews focused on football, the NBA, baseball and the Olympics. You’ll see heavier, brighter paper that showcases our trademark photography. And you’ll see pages full of the stories that have been synonymous with SI since 1954: in-depth features, probing profiles, sharp investigative journalism—produced by the best writers in the business. Those stories will also live on our digital channels with added video content, along with many more digital-only features that match the storytelling and journalism found in the magazine.
Like the Super Bowl, Sports Illustrated is a living, breathing, evolving institution—always building and growing beyond what it was before. Thanks for being part of that story, and please, let us know what you think about the new SI.