| DIED |
At age 65 of pneumonia, former Bengals quarterback Greg Cook. A second-team All America at Cincinnati before the Bengals took him with the fifth pick in the 1969 AFL/NFL common draft, Cook (above) showed considerable promise in accumulating a 3--0 record in his first three starts. He threw for 1,854 yards and 15 touchdowns that rookie season, averaging 17.5 yards per completion and 9.41 per attempt (both still team records) in 11 games. But an undiagnosed torn rotator cuff, suffered midseason, quickly deteriorated, and surgery could not put him right. He remained with the team through '73, undergoing multiple operations, but played in only one more game. Following retirement, Cook, an art major in college, devoted more time to painting.
| DIED |
At age 85 of a heart attack, longtime SI writer Bil Gilbert. A renowned nature author whose wildlife stories appeared in Esquire, The New York Times, LIFE, TIME and The Washington Post, Gilbert (below) estimated at one point that he spent 40 days per year living outdoors; he even wrote a book—his first of 10—entitled How Animals Communicate. But he became best known by venturing beyond the wild kingdom, first in 1969 with a three-part series that represented SI's first substantial investigation into the use of steroids in sports, and later, in '73, with a series on women's sports, which helped build support for Title IX and won SI its first American Society of Magazine Editors award.
February 6, 2012
| DIED |
At age 86, Joseph Mattioli, the founder and owner of Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. Having begun his career as a dentist—hence his nickname, Doc—Mattioli turned to investing, and in 1960 loaned a group of racetrack partners $300,000 to purchase and build on a former spinach farm. When that project nearly went bankrupt, Mattioli bought the partners out. Today, his facility—the only family-owned racetrack on the Sprint Cup Series schedule—seats some 76,000 around a 2.5-mile triangular track and hosts two NASCAR weekends annually.
| DIAGNOSED |
With a previously undetected neck injury, Penguins center Sidney Crosby, who has missed all but eight NHL games since Jan. 5, 2011, with concussion-related symptoms. The Pittsburgh captain made a triumphant return to the ice after an absence of more than 10 months on Nov. 21, scoring two goals in a 5--0 win over the Islanders, but was sidelined two weeks later when he took an accidental elbow to the head from Bruins center David Krejci. Crosby consulted last month in Los Angeles with neurological spine specialist Dr. Robert Bray, who found that the Pens' star had suffered an unspecified neck injury in addition to a concussion. (Bray did not say when the neck injury, which has fully healed, occurred.) Crosby told reporters last month that he was still experiencing headaches and motion problems. He has been cleared by doctors for light exercise, but there is no timetable for his return.
| DIED |
At age 72 following a 15-year battle with lymphocytic leukemia, former middleweight fighter Don Fullmer. The youngest of three boxing brothers—including Gene, who won a world middleweight title in 1957, and Jay, whose career was cut short by an eye injury—Fullmer (right) fought nine world champions in his 79 bouts (54-20-5) and came within one fight of the middleweight title in a '68 rematch with Nino Benvenuti, who had beaten him two years before. In the latter bout Fullmer knocked his opponent down but lost a 15-round unanimous decision. After retiring in '73, following a 16-year career, Fullmer stayed involved in the sport as a referee and a coach. Along with Gene and Jay he also opened the Fullmer Brothers Boxing Gym in South Jordan, Utah, and campaigned hard to bring the National Golden Gloves tournament to his home state in 2013.
| SUSPENDED |
On Monday, the 2012 Women's Professional Soccer season. In canceling its campaign, the three-year-old, five-team league (which hopes to resume play in '13) cited the resources that it has diverted to a legal battle with Dan Borislow, who in 2010 purchased the Washington Freedom and moved the club to south Florida as the magicJack, named after his long-distance-dialing invention for computers. The relationship between league and owner quickly soured, and WPS disciplined Borislow repeatedly for failing to meet its standards (such as providing ambulances at games) before kicking his team out of the league last October. Borislow has since filed a lawsuit seeking reinstatement, which appears to be going his way: A judge ruled last month that the league did not follow its own dispute-resolution procedures in handling the issue.
Consecutive points to end a basketball game on Jan. 20 scored by South Dearborn (Ind.) High, which overcame a 29-point fourth-quarter deficit and edged East Central 55--54.
Highest bidding price on eBay for one of several pairs of tickets to Joe Paterno's memorial service before the website removed them.
Over/under on the number of times NBC will show Peyton Manning during Super Bowl XLVI, a proposition offered last week on the betting website Bovada.lv.
Estimated payroll drop from 2011 by the Mets, surpassing that of the 2003--04 Rangers as the largest one-year slashing in MLB history.
Consecutive NHL All-Star Games in which Bruins G Tim Thomas has earned the win. Only Glenn Hall won as many All-Star Games, but his four—across 13 starts—were nonconsecutive.
Score by Shaun White in his final run after he had already won the Winter X Games Snowboard SuperPipe competition, marking the first perfect score in X Games history.
| NOMINATED |
For six Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Brad Pitt) and Best Supporting Actor (Jonah Hill), Moneyball, about A's G.M. Billy Beane's unconventional route to two playoff appearances in the early '00s. Only two films received more nominations in the 84th Academy Awards, but Moneyball's total is far from the most for a sports film:
Pride of the Yankees
NHL PLAYERS POLL
Is the NHL doing enough to prevent concussions caused by hits to the head?
Just the right amount 79%
Too much 11%
Too little 9%
With Alex Ovechkin drawing a three-game charging suspension for a hit to the head of the Penguins' Zbynek Michalek, the league's new rules remain in the spotlight.... Percentages for each response were virtually identical between defensemen and forwards.... In a similar poll on Facebook, fans were far less content, as 64% felt the league is doing too little, compared with 10% who answered "too much" and 26% who felt the NHL's approach is just right.
Based on 198 NHL players who responded to SI's survey