THE YEAR IN SPORTS
Photographs by Walter Iooss Jr.
62 THE BEST OF ...
by Tom Verducci
December 26, 2005
by Peter King
by Jack McCallum
by Grant Wahl
by Alan Shipnuck
by L. Jon Wertheim
by Tim Layden
by Austin Murphy
by Austin Murphy
99 TOO TRUE TO BE GOOD
by Steve Rushin
110 THE LIARS CLUB
by S.L. Price
118 GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
126 'TWAS THE FIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
Fiction by Nine SI Writers
14 Catching Up With ...
19 Air and Space
A mag for pro jocks: What acquiring minds want to know by Steve Rushin
• The Saints go marching on
• The heaviest heavyweight
• Olympic dream eludes skater
32 Faces in the Crowd
154 Life of Reilly
For a heart transplant recipient, a return to the hardwood by Rick Reilly
143 The NFL
• The Patriots' recharged defense
146 The NBA
• Indiana: Jermaine O'Neal's team
148 College Basketball
• Young players turn UCLA around
150 College Football
• Heisman loss stings Vince Young
152 The NHL
• The Rangers wisely use Czechs
153 Olympic Sports
• A freestyle skier's uphill battle
PHOTOGRAPH BY WALTER IOOSS JR.
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**The NBA heats up on Christmas Day with a national TV doubleheader featuring the first meetings this season between Shaq's Heat and Kobe's Lakers, and between the defending champion Spurs and Ben Wallace (left) and the Pistons. Keep up with the league's comings and goings, upsets and trends, with insight and analysis from Jack McCallum, Ian Thomsen and Marty Burns at SI.com/nba.
**Perhaps it's only fitting, given its declining TV ratings over the years, that Monday Night Football's 35-year reign on ABC is ending with a ho-hum matchup between the Jets and the Patriots. Things weren't always that way, as SI.com recalls with its gallery of the top 10 games in MNF history at SI.com/photos.
**What do Jack Nicklaus (below), Lance Armstrong, Mark Messier and Jerry Rice have in common? They're all on SI.com's list of the top 20 athletes to call it quits in 2005. To see a gallery of one of the most star-studded groups of retirees from a single year, plus shots of the '05 champions in college and pro sports, go to SI.com/photos.
**The last NFL team to start out 13--0 and lose were the 1998 Broncos, who went on to win Super Bowl XXXIII. Can Edgerrin James (right) and the Colts follow suit? Keep track of playoff seedings and matchups, and read Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback, at SI.com/nfl.
**Who are the biggest players in the sports media? Check out the Power Rankings in Richard Deitsch's Media Circus column at SI.com/scorecard.
Peyton Manning and the Colts suffered through their first loss of the season, bowing to the Chargers on Sunday 26-17.