The Poll

But enough about SPORTS ILLUSTRATED--here's what sports fans think about the past 50 years
September 26, 2004

"I've been told that I watch too much sports on TV." 26%

"Did I cut back?" "Hell, no!" 87%

"I'D LIKE SPORTS BETTER if I didn't know how much athletes got paid." 48%

"BARRY BONDS should give up his home run record if he used steroids." 70%

"THE FIRST SPORTSCASTER I'd fire:" John Madden (top choice--19%)

"Michael Jordan was the best basketball player of the past 50 years." 72%

The best football player?

Joe Montana 32%

Walter Payton 24%

Jerry Rice 13%

John Elway 11%

Jim Brown 11%

Lawrence Taylor 1%

The best baseball player?

Hank Aaron 23%

Mickey Mantle 18%

Nolan Ryan 15%

Ted Williams 15%

Willie Mays 14%

Barry Bonds 10%

The best hockey player?

Wayne Gretzky 67%

Bobby Orr 11%

Gordie Howe 10%

Mario Lemieux 5%

Bobby Hull 3%

Dominik Hasek 1%

The best sports role model over the past 50 years was:

Lance Armstrong 34%

Muhammad Ali 16%

Arthur Ashe 16%

Wayne Gretzky 14%

Sandy Koufax 6%

Billie Jean King 3%

The worst?

Mike Tyson 54%

Dennis Rodman 27%

Pete Rose 8%

Bobby Knight 5%

Muhammad Ali 3%

Mickey Mantle 1%

Most popular athlete?

Michael Jordan 56%

Muhammad Ali 16%

Dale Earnhardt 11%

Tiger Woods 7%

Arnold Palmer 5%

Mickey Mantle 4%

Most underappreciated?

Emmitt Smith 18%

Roberto Clemente 18%

Hank Aaron 16%

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 15%

Pete Sampras 14%

Oscar Robertson 9%

MARS vs. VENUS

"I've dated a cheerleader." 35% (men) 3% (women)

"I've sneaked into a sporting event without paying." 31% (men) 10% (women)

"I've used a bookie to bet on a sporting event." 28% (men) 12% (women)

"I've called a sports talk radio show." 17% (men) 8% (women)

"I've caught a foul or home run ball at a big league baseball game." 17% (men) 7% (women)

"I've been in a fight that started as an argument over sports." 14% (men) 9% (women)

"I've lied about my athletic accomplishments to impress a member of the opposite sex." 17% (men) 5% (women)

"I've had a gay teammate." 7% (men) 10% (women)

"I'd rather watch a big playoff game than have sex." 30% (men) 46% (women)

"If I could be one athlete (living or dead), it would be.... " Men: MICHAEL JORDAN Women: MICHAEL JORDAN

"Title IX ...

... has been great for men and women." 33%

... has been great for women, bad for men." 17%

... hasn't gone far enough." 24%

... is a joke." 26%

"I'd encourage my daughter if she wanted to be a cheerleader." 80%

"I wouldn't let my kid play for Bobby Knight ... " 39%

"... but I'd let my kid 'play' for Vince McMahon." 26%

TRUE CONFESSIONS

"Professional athletes should be tested for marijuana." 69%

"I've smoked marijuana." 34%

"I've used steroids." 2%

"I've had sex while watching a sporting event." 31%

"I've bought tickets from a scalper." 28%

"I've gone to a movie or bought a CD because an athlete I liked was in it." 27%

"I've asked an athlete for an autograph." 38%

"I cheat at golf." 31%

"Would you rather be the leader of the free world [George W. Bush] or of the Cleveland Cavaliers [LeBron James]?"

BUSH 55%

JAMES 45%

Favorite sport to watch?

Football 44%

Basketball 12%

Baseball 12%

Auto racing 8%

Hockey 6%

Golf 4%

Favorite sport to play?

Golf 15%

Swimming 14%

Basketball 11%

Baseball 8%

Football 6%

Tennis 5%

Soccer 3%

Which sport did you like 10 years ago that you no longer enjoy?

Baseball 14%

Basketball 9%

Wrestling 8%

Boxing 6%

Football 5%

Which sport did you hate 10 years ago that you now like?

Golf 13%

Auto racing 9%

Hockey 6%

"The SPORTS ILLUSTRATED cover jinx is real." 11%

The best college football coach over the past 50 years?

Bear Bryant 37%

Joe Paterno 26%

Woody Hayes 9%

Steve Spurrier 7%

Bud Wilkinson 6%

The best college basketball coach?

John Wooden 28%

Mike Krzyzewski 20%

Bobby Knight 17%

Dean Smith 12%

Pat Summitt 7%

Geno Auriemma 1%

Best NFL coach?

Vince Lombardi 41%

Tom Landry 19%

Bill Parcells 12%

Don Shula 10%

Chuck Noll 7%

Bill Walsh 5%

Best baseball manager?

Joe Torre 33%

Sparky Anderson 23%

Casey Stengel 19%

Earl Weaver 7%

Walter Alston 3%

Best NBA coach?

Phil Jackson 42%

Red Auerbach 25%

Larry Brown 14%

Red Holzman 5%

Lenny Wilkens 4%

Best NHL coach?

Scotty Bowman 41%

Mike Keenan 15%

Al Arbour 7%

Toe Blake 4%

Punch Imlach 3%

Sexiest male athletes:

Football 24%

Baseball 22%

Tennis 17%

NASCAR 13%

Basketball 12%

Hockey 6%

Boxing 3%

Golf 3%

Sexiest female athletes:

Tennis 85%

Basketball 8%

Golf 5%

Boxing 2%

Smartest pro athletes:

Golfers 52%

Dumbest?

Basketball 30%

Football 24%

Hockey 23%

NASCAR 16%

Baseball 3%

Ugliest?

Hockey (sorry, Bobby!) 47%

BOBBY CLARKE

Smartest fans?

New York City

Most obnoxious fans?

New York City

Best of the Best

36% "THE MIRACLE ON ICE was the biggest upset."

38% "MARK SPITZ'S seven gold medals in 1972 was the most impressive feat by an individual."

38% "IN 2000 TIGER WOODS had the best single year of any athlete."

37% "THE 1972 MIAMI DOLPHINS (17-0) had the best season of any pro team."

35% "BO JACKSON was the greatest all-around athlete of the past 50 years."

What sport should be banned?

BOXING 38%

NASCAR 24%

The Greatest Professional Dynasty?

33% Chicago Bulls 1991-98

28% New York Yankees 1954-64

20% Boston Celtics 1957-69

12% Pittsburgh Steelers 1972-79

2% Edmonton Oilers 1983-90

Based on a national poll of 1,004 sports fans.

The survey was conducted online August 13-24, 2004, by Quinley Research. Sampling error is plus or minus 3.2%.

COLOR PHOTOMEL LEVINE (REMOTE) COLOR PHOTOJOHN IACONO (MONTANA) COLOR PHOTOJOHN ZIMMERMAN (AARON) COLOR PHOTOBRUCE BENNETT/BBS (GRETZKY) COLOR PHOTOJASPER JUINEN/EPA/SIPA (ARMSTRONG) COLOR PHOTOTANNEN MAURY/ICON SMI (TYSON) COLOR PHOTODAVID E. KLUTHO (JORDAN) COLOR PHOTOJACK DEMPSEY/WIREIMAGE.COM (SMITH) COLOR PHOTOJONATHAN DANIEL/GETTY IMAGES (FANS) COLOR PHOTOCHUCK SOLOMON (LACROSSE) COLOR PHOTOCHARLES DHARAPAK/AP (BUSH) COLOR PHOTORON KUNTZ/REUTERS (JAMES) COLOR PHOTOPORTER BINKS (SCORECARD) COLOR PHOTOWALTER IOOSS JR. (CAT) COLOR PHOTOJOE HOLLOWAY, JR./AP (BRYANT) COLOR PHOTORICH CLARKSON (WOODEN) COLOR PHOTOWALTER IOOSS JR. (LOMBARDI) COLOR PHOTOJOHN CORDES/ICON SMI (TORRE) COLOR PHOTOJOHN MCDONOUGH (JACKSON) COLOR PHOTOPAUL WARNER/AP (BOWMAN) B/W PHOTOAP (U.S. HOCKEY)U.S. HOCKEY COLOR PHOTORICH CLARKSON/WIREIMAGE.COM (SPITZ)SPITZ COLOR PHOTOJERRY LODRIGUESS (BO JACKSON)JACKSON COLOR PHOTOJOHN D. HANLON (CLARKE) COLOR PHOTOJEFF HAYNES/AFP/GETTY IMAGES (BOXING) FIVE COLOR ILLUSTRATIONS

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)