This is an article from the Nov. 30, 2009 issue
They haven't quite been feasting on the NFL's prime meat—they beat the Bills on Sunday, for example—but three straight wins, two on their final drive, have put these cats in playoff position. "[In] that huddle," says QB David Garrard (right), "everybody's focused, ready to roll." Next up: the 4--6 Niners.
He busted out in the fourth quarter to sink the Celtics, he scored 24 points to silence the boobirds in Toronto, and life with Orlando—winners of five straight through Sunday—is sweet for the 32-year-old shooting guard. Sweetest of all? He's not in New Jersey anymore.
Penn's footballers squashed Cornell 34--0 to stay unbeaten and clinch the Ivy League championship for the first time in six years. Senior receiver Kyle Derham to The Philadelphia Inquirer on touching the trophy: "It was the best feeling of my life so far."
He spun around and around and around and around, and when he landed, the U.S. champion was en route to a gold medal at Skate Canada. Sticking that quad means he'll have a chance to defend his title at next month's Grand Prix. Eleven weeks till Vancouver, folks.
Losses to the Bengals and (sheesh!) the Chiefs have loosened Pittsburgh's wild-card grip. Safety Troy Polamalu's out with a knee injury, and QB Ben Roethlisberger came out of last week's game after a hit to the head, but receiver Hines Ward's mouth still works: "The coaches have to put us in a better position," he said.
You know your stock has fallen when even the Knicks can't use you. The ex-Sixer, ex-Nugget, ex-Piston, ex-Grizzly has been there for anyone's taking since Memphis waived him on Nov. 16. But teams fear the potential kvetching more than they covet the potential points.
You think Bill Belichick's fourth-and-two gamble was risky? How about going for it on fourth-and-22—with a fake punt, against your archrival? That's what Yale, under the direction of coach Tom Williams, tried to pull off last Saturday. Sorry, guys. Harvard Beats Yale 14--10.
He's a loser, and he's sore. "I thought I won," the fighter said again and again after getting beat in a split decision by Forrest Griffin at UFC 106. Strange judging is becoming another blight on the sport. Said UFC boss Dana White of the officiating controversies: "It's terrible."
SI PLAYERS NFL POLL
WHICH NFL TEAM WOULD YOU LEAST LIKE TO PLAY FOR?
Oakland Raiders 20%
Buffalo Bills 14%
Green Bay Packers 13%
Detroit Lions 12%
Cleveland Browns 7%
Players could not vote for their own team....The Raiders have gone 27--79 since end of the 2002 season.... The Bills, who fired coach Dick Jauron last week, have not made the playoffs since 1999....The Packers, who have won a record 12 league titles but none since after the 1996 season, were the least desirable team among players who have been in the league for five or fewer seasons, drawing 16% of their vote.
Based on a survey of 296 NFL players