JANUARY 23, 2006
VOLUME 104, NO. 3
40 Mr. Clutch
January 23, 2006
Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers to the AFC title game with his arm (and a tackle)
by Jeffri Chadiha
• Denver's rebuilt D swarmed the Patriots
44 Mr. Cool
Low-key Matt Hasselbeck is the ideal QB to lead Seattle in the NFC title game
by Peter King
• Carolina's unstoppable Steve Smith
48 Class of the Glass
Magic man-child Dwight Howard is a master of the lost art of rebounding
by Chris Ballard
52 Trials and Tribulation
Fine skating graced the U.S. nationals, but the absent Michelle Kwan stole the show
by E.M. Swift
54 The Son Also Rises
Florida center Joakim Noah chose a different racket from his father, Yannick
by Grant Wahl
The Big Man The NFL commissioner is a tough ex--hoops star and a fierce intellectual
By Karl Taro Greenfeld
10 Leading Off
19 Air and Space
The unfortunate marriage of jocks and Glocks by Steve Rushin
• Texas Western's lasting glory
• Bearded athletes' great moments
32 Faces in the Crowd
76 Life of Reilly
No bones about it: Skeleton doesn't belong in the Games by Rick Reilly
68 The NBA
• How the Mavs rebuilt on the run
70 College Basketball
• Good big men getting little fanfare
72 Olympic Sports
• Two bobsled medals for a Texan?
74 The NHL
• Phil Kessel: the next big thing?
PHOTOGRAPH BY Robert Beck (Seahawks); John Biever (Panthers); Peter Read Miller (Broncos); Bob Rosato (Steelers)
Background altered by SI Imaging (Panthers)
INSET PHOTOS: David N. Berkwitz (4)
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•Roger Federer (right) has been ranked No. 1 in the world since Feb. 2, 2004, and is favored to win his seventh major title at this year's Australian Open. But Venus Williams's first-round loss showed how wide open the women's race is Down Under. Visit SI.com/tennis for results from Australia, Justin Gimelstob's tournament analysis and L. Jon Wertheim's mailbag.
•If Jake Plummer (left) and the Broncos defeat the Steelers on Sunday, at least one oddsmaker says that Denver would be the favorite for Super Bowl XL. Read what Peter King, Dr. Z and Don Banks have to say about the conference championships at SI.com/NFL.
•After covering the NBA for more than 30 years between them, SI senior writers Jack McCallum and L. Jon Wertheim figured they had met enough characters and seen enough madcap antics to fill a book. So that's what they did. Their satirical novel of the league, Foul Lines, will be released later this month, and three chapters will be serialized on SI.com from Jan. 25 through 27.
•In his sixth annual TV Commentator Awards a year ago, Dr. Z wrote that "the business of announcing football games has never been worse." Read his comments about this year's play-by-play men and analysts at SI.com/NFL.
•In case you hadn't noticed, redshirt freshman Candace Parker (left) and Tennessee were undefeated and ranked No. 1 at week's end. Get women's and men's weekly power rankings at SI.com/collegebasketball.
Joakim Noah scored his easiest basket of the game in unbeaten Florida's 75-60 win over Mississippi State on Jan. 11.
Rookie goalie Antero Niittymaki has taken over the Flyers' starting job after going 8--3 on an 11-game road trip.