Each Sunday in the fall, SI photographer John Biever is on the sidelines in an NFL stadium, trying to come up with one memorable image that will define the game he is shooting. He has proved to be good at it. His shots have appeared on the cover of SI 101 times (32 of them NFL photos) in the 17 years he has worked for the magazine. "I'm always moving around on the sidelines, looking for something different that will capture the emotions of the players," he says.
The job of putting the words to those photos is overseen by senior editor Mark Godich, who supervised the production of SI's 92-page NFL preview package (page 65). This is Godich's seventh year on the pro football beat, but he still has the enthusiasm of a wide-eyed rookie. "We've made the training camp rounds and are revved up and ready to go," Godich says.
Senior writer Michael Silver, who has been covering the NFL for SI since 1994, follows players beyond the practice field, into limos and onto dance floors in pursuit of the story. In this issue he profiles controversial Minnesota Vikings wideout Randy Moss. After spending time with the man who shocked football last year by saying he didn't always give it his all, Silver says, "I believe he's passionate about football."
Inside the NFL columnist Peter King, an SI writer for 13 years, spent a long day with Cleveland Browns coach Butch Davis to examine the phenomenon of coaches who demand—and get—full control of football operations. King was surprised at what he saw. "It's less of a daunting task than I expected," he says, "if you have competent people to do your dirty work."
Rounding out the senior writing team is X's-and-O's expert Paul Zimmerman, who has covered the NFL for SI since 1979. Dr. Z makes his predictions for this season, including the playoffs and the Super Bowl.
The one constant in the NFL in recent years has been change, and that will remain the case this fall. Says Godich, "With realignment, the addition of an expansion team, and marquee players and coaches in new places, this season promises to be as unpredictable and exciting as ever."