In football, defensive coordinators answer the need for more coverage by inserting one or more extra backs. When one defensive back is added, the alignment is known as a nickel package; when two are added, it's a dime package. Here at SI, when the call for further football coverage is sounded, we don't nickel-and-dime it. We add pages to the magazine's football notes sections.
Beginning with this issue we have added four pages to the magazine, so our INSIDE THE NFL and INSIDE COLLEGE FOOTBALL columns have doubled in size, from two to four pages. Not even Notre Dame Stadium, which added 21,000 seats, expanded twofold in the off-season.
Those of you who in the past received our NFL SELECT column will notice its absence this fall. Don't despair. You will receive as much of SI's expert analysis as ever, including two new features, The Hot List (a rapid-fire rundown of the week's events) and The Inner Game (a player's perspective of on-field happenings).
Our football packages—which won't cost readers a penny more—aren't SI's only notes news. Later this year our periodic INSIDE MOTOR SPORTS section will be launched, and January will mark the birth of INSIDE THE NHL and the expansion of INSIDE THE NBA and INSIDE COLLEGE BASKETBALL to four pages each.
"We're giving the readers more," says senior writer Peter King, who is writing INSIDE THE NFL for the ninth straight year. "My job, if you look at the name of the column, is to take people where they can't go."
King's collegiate counterpart is our newest senior writer, Ivan Maisel, who is no stranger to SI or to writing college football notes.
Maisel jotted his first college note when he was six years old. "I wrote a letter to Bear Bryant asking him to send me his autograph and a schedule sticker," says Maisel, who was raised in Mobile. "He wrote me back, enclosing the sticker, and wished me good luck in school."
Maisel took the Bear's words to heart, matriculating at Stanford in 1977. Five years later he joined SI as a reporter. One of his first writing assignments was an obituary on Bryant when he died.
In 1987 Maisel left SI to write about the college game, first for The Dallas Morning News and then for New York Newsday. He has become one of the most authoritative voices on the college game, and he returns to SI eager, he says, "to explore angles that may not be apparent to our audience. With four pages, I'll have room to do it."
"Starting this year," adds King, who, like Maisel, was a notes columnist at Newsday before joining our staff, "I'll do what [Oakland Raiders owner] Al Davis has been telling his receivers to do for years: Go long."