In football, defensive coordinators answer the need for more
coverage by inserting one or more extra backs. When one
defensive back is added, the alignment is known as a nickel
package; when two are added, it's a dime package. Here at SI,
when the call for further football coverage is sounded, we don't
nickel-and-dime it. We add pages to the magazine's football
Beginning with this issue we have added four pages to the
magazine, so our INSIDE THE NFL and INSIDE COLLEGE FOOTBALL
columns have doubled in size, from two to four pages. Not even
Notre Dame Stadium, which added 21,000 seats, expanded twofold
in the off-season.
Both columns include new sections. Inside College Football
offers Spotlight, a profile of a player, and Winners and Losers,
a rapid-fire look at who's up and who's down. Our NFL notes
feature The Hot List (an irreverent rundown of the week's
events) and The Inner Game (a player's perspective of on-field
happenings). Devotees of senior writer Paul (Dr. Z) Zimmerman
will find his predictions in the NFL column.
Our football packages--which won't cost readers a penny
more--aren't SI's only notes news. Later this year our periodic
INSIDE MOTOR SPORTS section will be launched, and January will
mark the birth of INSIDE THE NHL and the expansion of INSIDE THE
NBA and INSIDE COLLEGE BASKETBALL to four pages each.
"We're giving the readers more," says senior writer Peter King,
who is writing INSIDE THE NFL for the ninth straight year. "My
job, if you look at the name of the column, is to take people
where they can't go."
King's collegiate counterpart is our newest senior writer, Ivan
Maisel, who is no stranger to SI or to writing college football
notes. Maisel jotted his first college note at age six. "I wrote
a letter to Bear Bryant asking him to send me his autograph and
a schedule sticker," says Maisel, who was raised in Mobile. "He
wrote me back, enclosing the sticker, and wished me good luck in
Maisel took the Bear's words to heart, matriculating at Stanford
in 1977. Five years later he joined SI as a reporter. One of his
first writing assignments was an obituary on Bryant when he died.
In 1987 Maisel left SI to write about the college game, first
for The Dallas Morning News and then for New York Newsday. He
has become one of the most authoritative voices on the college
game, and he returns to SI eager, he says, "to explore angles
that may not be apparent to our audience. With four pages, I'll
have room to do it."
"Starting this year," adds King, who, like Maisel, was a notes
columnist at Newsday before joining our staff, "I'll do what
[Oakland Raiders owner] Al Davis has been telling his receivers
to do for years: Go long."