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SPORTS ILLUSTRATED FEATURES STATE OF ALABAMA IN SERIES OF 50 STATE-SPECIFIC WEEKLY SECTIONS

Alabama Author Geoffrey Norman Reflects On the Importance of Football in Alabama

New York, NY, November 19, 2003 - This week's SPORTS ILLUSTRATED highlights the sports scene in the state of Alabama, marking the nineteenth of 50 state-specific sections to be published in the magazine as part of SI's yearlong 50th anniversary celebration.

Identifying the tradition of the Auburn vs. Alabama football game as an event unique to the state, the six-page feature also includes an accompanying essay by author and Alabama native Geoffrey Norman , and a wide range of facts, figures and photographs highlighting the most memorable moments and personalities that have shaped Alabama's sports landscape.

The Alabama edition will hit newsstands on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 . Newsstand copies in Alabama will feature a cover-flap identifying the special Alabama section.

Highlights from the special section include:

  • In " 'Bama vs. Auburn ," Mark Bechtel writes that this week's Iron Bowl game will divide a state that obsesses about it 52 weeks a year.
  • In " Bear Necessity ," author Geoffrey Norman of southern Alabama shares his thoughts on how football is the only topic that matters when Alabamians talk sports.
  • The Poll: Alabamians weighed in on their state's sports scene in a Harris Interactive poll that found these results:
      o Favorite major league baseball team Atlanta Braves (58%)
      o Favorite NFL team Tennessee Titans (15%)
      o Favorite Pro team Atlanta Braves (42%)
      o Favorite announcer Eli Gold (19%)
      o Favorite sport to play Golf (19%)
  • Enemy of the State: Steve Spurrier , the former coach of Alabama nemesis, Florida, received (21%) of this vote beating out Phillip Fulmer (15%) and Dennis Franchione (8%) for Alabama's biggest sports villain title. Alabama's most hated team? The Tennessee Volunteers (31%).
  • Greatest Moment - Editor's pick: The thrilling fourth-quarter goal line stand that preserved the Crimson Tide's 14-7 win over Penn State in the 1979 Sugar Bowl and gave legendary coach Bear Bryant his fifth and final national championship.

SI's 50th Anniversary program, America's Sports Illustrated: 50 Years, 50 States, 50 Sports, is a wide-ranging multimedia platform that is the most ambitious initiative in the history of the franchise. The grassroots effort, which began last month and continues through July 2004, is a yearlong celebration of sports in America. It will include editorial coverage in the magazine and online, a community sports outreach campaign with YMCA of the USA and National Recreation and Park Association, as well as The Toyota Presents Sports Illustrated's 50th Anniversary Tour that will travel to unique sports events in cities and towns throughout the country. SI's actual 50th anniversary date is August 16, 2004. Toyota is the presenting sponsor of the Tour; Best Buy , MassMutual Financial Group and Starter are program sponsors.

Contacts: Sheyl Spain, SI (646) 256-3334; Allison Falkenberry, SI (646) 345-1280


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