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The Poll

Sept. 27, 2004
Sept. 27, 2004

Table of Contents
Sept. 27, 2004

50 Years of Sports in America
Sports Illustrated Bonus Section: Golf Plus
SCORECARD
CATCHING UP WITH
LETTERS
AIR AND SPACE
SI Players
Inside
Inside The NFL
Inside Baseball
Inside College Football
Inside Boxing
Inside Golf
Departments

The Poll

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

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

This is an article from the Sept. 27, 2004 issue

"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. HOCKEYCOLOR 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