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8/24/2007 02:53:00 PM

Five Athletes Who Need to Loosen Up

Eli Manning.
Eli Manning's collar is loose but the quarterback still appears stiff.
Photo by Scott Wintrow/Getty Images
By Lang Whitaker, SI.com

Las Vegas -- I spent most of this week out in Las Vegas covering the Tournament of the Americas, the basketball event featuring the U.S. Men's National Team. Besides learning that LeBron is not quite sure when to hold 'em or when to fold 'em, I learned that Vegas is a unique place with the ability to unlock the inner Pacman Jones in any of us. Here's my list of the top five athletes who could really use a few days in Vegas.

1. Eli Manning: I completely believe Tiki Barber when he says some of Manning's attempts to communicate with his teammates were comical and awkward. Heck, just look at Eli's expressions. Are we sure he even wants to be playing football? We do know he is capable of having fun, though. So let's send him to Sin City and let him cut loose for a minute.

2. Tim Duncan: If you get to know him, you'll find that off the floor, Duncan is a bright, funny, engaging guy with a passion for video games and technology. Which is a polite way of saying that unless you get the chance to know Duncan, you will never know what floats his boat; the man is expressionless. In Vegas, Duncan could be a baller and shot-caller.

3. Tom Glavine: Tommy Boy, the newest member of the 300 club, has always been blow-dried and perfectly coiffed. And remember that time he said something controversial? Oh wait, he doesn't say anything interesting. Well, Glavine's buddy Greg Maddux is from Vegas, so maybe Mad Dog could get Glav to act like a big shot.

4. Roger Federer: Count me among those who recognize Federer's genius on the tennis court, but you can also count me among those who has no clue what Federer's like off the court -- all we see is the carefully packaged star. Vegas could set Federer free. As long as he doesn't wear one of those head wrap things to the club.

5. Tiger Woods: I'm not fully convinced Woods isn't just a robot sent from another planet, here to dominate our golf tournament and move product. C'mon, Tiger. Meet us at Ghostbar and open a tab.

If you could get one athlete to cut loose for a night, who would it be? Give us your nominations below...

Lang Whitaker is the executive editor of SLAM magazine and writes daily at SLAMonline.com
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8/20/2007 11:20:00 AM

Top Five College Football Coaches

From making it rain to joining TNA, Pacman Jones stays in the news.
Steve Spurrier is the kind of coach you love when he's guiding your team.
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
By Lang Whitaker, SI.com

I am a fan of the University of Georgia, meaning I am a supporter of head coach Mark Richt. He handles the media well, recruits hard, has never won less than eight games in a season, has won two SEC titles...but there's always a little doubt in my mind. Georgia's good, but what if it could be better with a different coach? If I were the Athletic Director and could bring in anyone I want, who would I go after? I'm sure this is a shared experience for college fans, chewing over the what-ifs and daydreaming of what things might be like with a different coach on the sideline. So, all emotions and loyalties aside, here are the top five current college football coaches I would want to coach my team.

1. Steve Spurrier: He tormented the Dawgs for years, but that's exactly why I'd hire him: The Head Ball Coach has a killer instinct and desire to not just win but dominate opponents. He tends to be more successful at schools where they let him bend the admissions rules a bit. Wouldn't be a problem if I was hiring him to come to my school.

2. Rich Rodriguez: I don't know what it is exactly, but I like the way Rodriguez goes about his job. Maybe it's the sweatbands and baseball caps, but he just looks like a guy who can coach. Also, he's gone 30-7 the last three seasons, which doesn't hurt.

3. Joe Paterno: OK, so he's 80 years old and probably wouldn't want to put up with the hassle of a new gig, but I'd make it worth his while financially and throw in a case of multi-vitamins. He might be past his prime, but I love his pluck and vigor -- it would be like having Regis Philbin coach your school.

4. Urban Meyer: I don't mean to stay on the East Coast, but it's hard not to select Meyer after what he pulled off last season. There was a certain brilliant audacity to his play-calling: Whenever Tim Tebow entered games, Florida ran quarterback draws. EVERY TIME! And somehow nobody figured it out and Meyer just kept making the plays work.

5. Pete Carroll: There's something about Carroll that strikes me as odd, but it's hard to argue with his success. Or his recruiting.

If you could hire anyone to coach your college, who would it be? Give us your nominations below...

Lang Whitaker is the executive editor of SLAM magazine and writes daily at SLAMonline.com
posted by SI.com | View comments | Add a comment
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