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BALL GAMES

Feb. 02, 2015
Feb. 02, 2015

Table of Contents
Feb. 2, 2015

SI NOW
INBOX
SUPER BOWL XLIX PREVIEW
  • Player discipline, comparisons with the '85 Bears, the trouble with Roger Goodell.... As the Seahawks line up for another run at the Lombardi Trophy, and on the same week that the commissioner gives his annual pre--Super Bowl address, the leader of the NFL's most fearsome secondary offers his own take on the state of the game

  • A MATCHUP OF TWO NO. 1 SEEDS HAS ODDSMAKERS STUMPED AND PUNDITS ON THE FENCE. HAWKS OR PATS? CONSIDER THREE ARGUMENTS FOR EACH TEAM.... AND FOR SI'S PICK, TURN THE PAGE

  • Our expert knows Russell Wilson can win a game by himself—it just won't be Super Bowl XLIX. Not against this New England D

  • All this debate about ball tinkering? It's over-inflated, says SI's under-the-center expert

  • DEFLATEGATE SOUNDS BIZARRE, BUT IT'S PART OF A HALLOWED SUPER BOWL WEEK TRADITION: THE FOOTBALL-FOCUS-SAPPING DISTRACTION

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
PRO BASKETBALL
  • MICHAEL KIDD-GILCHRIST HAS BEEN SCOUTED SINCE HE WAS SEVEN, BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN THINGS HAVE COME EASY FOR THE HORNETS' FORWARD. STEP BY STEP, HE HAS REBUILT BOTH HIS SHOT—AND HIS VOICE

Departments

BALL GAMES

As the Deflatenado spins on, laying waste to Super Bowl week, it's instructive to remember that football isn't the only sport in which shenanigans with the ball—pulled off by players, coaches or governing bodies—have caused problems.

Bad Luck

This is an article from the Feb. 2, 2015 issue Original Layout

GOLF

• At the 1996 Greater Hartford Open, Greg Norman was tied for fourth while playing a Maxfli XS 90. But the ball was mismarked, reading XS 9 instead. Unfortunately for Norman, there was no XS 9 on the USGA's list of conforming equipment, so the Shark was disqualified. At least Norman is not alone. Jeff Sluman was booted from the 2004 Buick Classic for playing a ball with no model markings, and Paul Azinger was bounced from the '09 Travelers for teeing up a mismarked ball.

NBA

• For the 2006--07 season the NBA replaced its traditional leather ball with one made from a synthetic microfiber. Players hated it, complaining that it was slippery and hard to palm and that it felt weird. Some even started getting small cuts on their fingers from the ball, and at one point Suns guard Steve Nash played with bandaged hands. The league brought back the original ball on Jan. 1, 2007.

SOCCER

• For the 2010 World Cup, Adidas designed a ball called the Jabulani, which was made from eight thermally bonded panels with very shallow seams. Players complained that the ball flew unpredictably, and later lab testing proved that at lower speeds it created aerodynamic anomalies similar to that of a knuckleball. During the tournament Nigeria's Yakubu Aiyegbeni missed a wide-open net from 10 feet and Ghana's Asamoah Gyan missed a penalty kick that many blamed on the ball.

TENNIS

• At the 2013 Madrid Open, Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain was playing top-seeded powerhouse Serena Williams in the quarterfinals. During the match Medina Garrigues was seen on camera scuffing new balls against her racket to make them fuzzier, which would slow them down and negate Williams's advantage. Because the umpire didn't see what was happening, Medina Garrigues went unpenalized. Williams won anyway, 6--3, 0--6, 7--5.

MLB

• The latest known episode in baseball's long history of spit balls and scuffers came from Yankees righty Michael Pineda, who was caught putting pine tar on the ball during the second inning of a game against the Red Sox on April 23, 2014. The sticky substance allows pitchers to get a better grip and therefore put more spin on the ball. The Yanks lost 5--1, and Pineda was suspended for 10 games.

Belichick

THEY SAID IT

"This is what happens when I pass too much!"

KOBE BRYANT

Lakers guard, tweeting that his team-leading 5.6 assists per game led to his torn right rotator cuff.

FIVE PHOTO ILLUSTRATIONSPHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY DWAYNE BERNARD, MEL LEVINE FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (GOLF BALL); NATHANIEL S. BUTLER/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (BASKETBALL); CHIPSTUDIO/GETTY IMAGES (BLADE); SIMON BRUTY FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (SOCCER BALL); STEVE WISBAUER/GETTY IMAGES (TENNIS GEAR); CHARLIE NEIBERGALL/AP (BASEBALL); VETTA/GETTY IMAGES (THUMB PRINT)PHOTOBRACE HEMMELGARN/USA TODAY SPORTS (BRYANT)