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August 17, 1998 | Volume 89, Issue 7

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Brett Favre Cover - Sports Illustrated August 17, 1998

August 17, 1998 | Jeff Pearlman

August 17, 1998 | Jeff Pearlman
1997 Record 11-5 (2nd in AFC Central)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 18/4/7; defense 13/24/23

August 17, 1998 | Jeff Pearlman
Bryce Paup, signed by the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent after three seasons with the Bills, was one of five players chosen for the Pro Bowl who changed teams during the off-season. The...

August 17, 1998 | Jeff Pearlman
Running back James Stewart won't give up the starting position to first-round pick Fred Taylor of Florida without a fight. In his lone appearance as the feature back last season, a 38-21 win over...

August 17, 1998 | Jeff Pearlman

August 17, 1998 | Jeff Pearlman
1997 Record 11-5 (1st in AFC Central)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense½3/6; defense 1/18/6

August 17, 1998 | Jeff Pearlman
Free agency and salary-cap constraints have stripped the Steelers of several of their best defensive players in recent years. But Pittsburgh's stout defense against the run, a signature of its...

August 17, 1998 | Jeff Pearlman
The shift of Justin Strzelczyk from right to left tackle, necessitated by the departure of free agent John Jackson to the Chargers, recalls a similar move Strzelczyk made in '95 after Jackson went...

August 17, 1998 | Jeff Pearlman

August 17, 1998 | Jeff Pearlman
1997 Record 8-8 (3rd in AFC Central)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 3/29/18; defense 4/27/22

August 17, 1998 | Jeff Pearlman
Tennessee's Anthony Cook was the only defensive lineman in the NFL to start all 16 regular-season games last year and fail to get a sack. (In addition, the Oilers' Barron Wortham was one of only...

August 17, 1998 | Jeff Pearlman
If there were such a thing as the Thick Skin Award, then sixth-year left tackle Brad Hopkins would have been a multiple winner early in his career, with coaches and the media constantly on his...

August 17, 1998 | Jeff Pearlman

August 17, 1998 | Jeff Pearlman
1997 Record 7-9 (4th in AFC Central)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 9/13/10; defense 29/21/28

August 17, 1998 | Jeff Pearlman
Bengals center Darrick Brilz has played in 159 regular-season games, more than any other active player who has never appeared in an NFL playoff game. The 34-year-old Brilz is still more than two...

August 17, 1998 | Jeff Pearlman
Outside linebacker James Francis had 3½ sacks and one interception in '97, but his disdain for off-season workouts is growing tiresome. The Bengals used their third-round pick on a possible...

August 17, 1998 | Jeff Pearlman

August 17, 1998 | Jeff Pearlman
1997 Record 6-9-1 (5th in AFC Central)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 22/5/9; defense 10/28/25

August 17, 1998 | Jeff Pearlman
In 1997 the average age of the Ravens' starting linebackers—Peter Boulware, Ray Lewis, Jamie Sharper and Cornell Brown (who started one game in place of Sharper)—was only 22.7 years (based on the...

August 17, 1998 | Jeff Pearlman
The Ravens could have one of the league's best linebacking crews, keyed by second-year OLB Peter Boulware, who bulked up 15 pounds in the off-season in anticipation of facing more double teams....

August 17, 1998 | Michael Silver

August 17, 1998 | Michael Silver
1997 Record 12-4 (2nd in AFC West)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 4/9/1; defense 16/5/5

August 17, 1998 | Michael Silver
Last January the Broncos became the oldest team to win a Super Bowl (which has been played since the 1966 season) based on the average game-day age of the players who participated in the title...

August 17, 1998 | Michael Silver
In the wake of their Super Bowl victory, the Broncos identified cornerback Ray Crockett as the one free agent they could not afford to lose. So on Feb. 12, the day before the free-agent signing...

August 17, 1998 | Michael Silver

August 17, 1998 | Michael Silver
1997 Record 8-8 (3rd in AFC West)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 13/1/3; defense 12/14/8

August 17, 1998 | Michael Silver
It will not go down as the most memorable event to occur in Dallas on a Nov. 22, but on that date in that city this year, Warren Moon and Kevin Glover have a chance to become the oldest...

August 17, 1998 | Michael Silver
Outside linebackers Darrin Smith and Chad Brown are the keys to a promising defense. Signed away from the Eagles as a free agent, Smith is noted for his speed. Brown, who lined up solely on the...

August 17, 1998 | Michael Silver

August 17, 1998 | Michael Silver
1997 Record 13-3 (1st in AFC West)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 5/24/14; defense 7/16/11

August 17, 1998 | Michael Silver
Ten teams allowed fewer yards in 1997 than did the Chiefs, but none allowed fewer points. How did Kansas City do it? Some factors: The Chiefs finished fourth in the NFL in takeaways, held their...

August 17, 1998 | Michael Silver
New No. 2 receiver Derrick Alexander gives quarterback Elvis Grbac not only a big (6'2", 195) target but a familiar one. The two played together at Michigan....

August 17, 1998
Mike Ditka reinvents himself more often than Madonna.—MICHAEL RANOS, Annawan, Ill,

August 17, 1998
Letters to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer. They may be mailed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, New York,...

August 17, 1998 | Michael Silver

August 17, 1998 | Michael Silver
1997 Record 4-12 (4th in AFC West)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 23/8/13; defense 30/30/30

August 17, 1998 | Michael Silver
Last year the Raiders suffered a loss of yardage on 17.5% of their rushing plays (excluding quarterback kneel-downs), the highest percentage of negative-yardage rushing plays by any team. The...

August 17, 1998 | Michael Silver
A standout with NFL Europe's Rhein Fire in 1996, punter Leo Araguz established himself Stateside last season. He dropped 28 punts inside the 20, tying him with the Chiefs' Louie Aguiar for the AFC...

August 17, 1998 | Michael Silver

August 17, 1998 | Michael Silver
1997 Record 4-12 (5th in AFC West)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 28/21/28; defense 11/22/21

August 17, 1998 | Michael Silver
Sixty-three players appeared in at least one game for the Chargers last year, but only four of those entered the league as first-round selections in the regular NFL draft. That was the lowest such...

August 17, 1998 | Michael Silver
Left guard Aaron Taylor admits he's not the same player he was before knee injuries in '94 and '96, but that didn't stop San Diego from offering up a four-year, $10.8 million contract to pry him...

August 17, 1998 | Peter King
Believing that college football hotbeds can provide players and fans for their franchises, NBC and Time Warner are moving forward with plans to give birth to a new league by the summer of 2000

August 17, 1998 | Peter King
1. With all due respect to Dr. Z, Mike Holmgren will guide his Packers to a 31-20 win over the Jaguars in the Super Bowl. Five days later Seahawks owner Paul Allen will hand Holmgren the keys to...

August 17, 1998 | Peter King
Giants safety Shaun Williams and other first-year players increase their chances for NFL success if they play it by the book

August 17, 1998 | Paul Zimmerman

August 17, 1998 | Paul Zimmerman
1997 Record 10-5-1 (1st in NFC East)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 7/28/27; defense 3/26/18

August 17, 1998 | Paul Zimmerman
Danny Kanell's 7-2-1 regular-season record as an NFL starting quarterback is the best through 10 career-opening starts since Mike Tomczak went 10-0 as a Bears starter during the 1986 and '87...

August 17, 1998 | Paul Zimmerman
Coordinator John Fox's defensive schemes, which allow for more improvisation up front, gave end Michael Strahan the chance to show off his pass-rushing skills last year. Strahan, who had been...

August 17, 1998 | Paul Zimmerman

August 17, 1998 | Paul Zimmerman
1997 Record 8-7-1 (second in NFC East)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 21/11/16: defense 28/3/16

August 17, 1998 | Paul Zimmerman
If he starts in the Redskins' Week I game against the Giants, Darrell Green will become the oldest defensive back to start an NFL regular-season opener since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. On Sept. 6,...

August 17, 1998 | Paul Zimmerman
Defensive end Rich Owens should be salivating at the prospect of being joined by tackles Dan Wilkinson and Dana Stubblefield. Playing alongside underachievers William Gaines and Chris Mims last...

August 17, 1998 | Paul Zimmerman

August 17, 1998 | Paul Zimmerman
1997 Record 6-10 (4th in NFC East)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 20/20/20; defense 24/1/2

August 17, 1998 | Paul Zimmerman
Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin have led the Cowboys in passing yards, rushing yards and receptions, respectively, in each of the last seven years. That's an NFL record that, in the...

August 17, 1998 | Paul Zimmerman
The Cowboys have not had a consistent No. 2 receiver since Alvin Harper left after the 1994 season. Will free-agent pickup Ernie Mills (138 catches in seven years) be the solution? He knows Chan...

August 17, 1998 | Paul Zimmerman

August 17, 1998 | Paul Zimmerman
1997 Record 4-12 (5th in NFC East)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 30/10/24; defense 27/15/27

August 17, 1998 | Paul Zimmerman
Cardinals linebacker Jamir Miller left UCLA after his junior year and entered the NFL in 1994 at age 20. He played 58 games in his first four pro seasons and is now within striking distance of the...

August 17, 1998 | Paul Zimmerman
Fullback Larry Centers had only 54 receptions last season compared with his 101 and 99 in '95 and '96, respectively. Centers's productivity should pick back up under new offensive coordinator Marc...

August 17, 1998 | Paul Zimmerman

August 17, 1998 | Paul Zimmerman
1997 Record 3-9-1 (3rd in NFC East)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 10/6/5; defense 25/7/13

August 17, 1998 | Paul Zimmerman
Last year the Eagles averaged 349.4 net yards per game, their third-best single-season figure since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. But Philadelphia's scoring average of 19.8 points per game was not...

August 17, 1998 | Paul Zimmerman
Coach Ray Rhodes is high on rookie Jeremiah Trotter, a third-round selection out of Stephen F. Austin, and expects Trotter to push James Willis at middle linebacker....

August 17, 1998 | David Fleming
Believe it. Armed with a real, live passing attack, the Bucs now have the arsenal to take on Green Bay and take command of the division

August 17, 1998 | David Fleming
1997 Record 10-6 (2nd in NFC Central)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 11/30/29; defense 6/10/3

August 17, 1998 | David Fleming
Seven players drafted by the Bucs in the 1990s have represented the franchise in the Pro Bowl. That's the highest such total in the league—one more than that of San Francisco, Dallas or...

August 17, 1998 | David Fleming
Fiery second-year right guard Frank Middleton has the ever-expanding girth of a young Nate Newton, but if he can keep the weight down, the Arizona product can be as dominant a player as his...

August 17, 1998 | David Fleming

August 17, 1998 | David Fleming
1997 Record 13-3 (first in NFC Central)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 12/3/4; defense 20/8/7

August 17, 1998 | David Fleming
Is Brett Favre unbeatable at Lambeau Field? Not quite, but Favre has the highest career winning percentage in games started at home of any quarterback who began his NFL career since 1967, the year...

August 17, 1998 | David Fleming
Second-year man Darren Sharper's move from corner in the Packers' dime package to starting free safety will create more big-play chances for the defense. He set a Green Bay record with three...

August 17, 1998 | David Fleming

August 17, 1998 | David Fleming
1997 Record 9-7 (4th in NFC Central)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 6/14/8; defense 23/29/29

August 17, 1998 | David Fleming
Last year Randall Cunningham was reunited with Cris Carter, a teammate of his on the Eagles in the late 1980s. By hooking up for five regular-season touchdown passes in 1997, the duo became only...

August 17, 1998 | David Fleming
The left side of the offensive line boasts Pro Bowl players Randall McDaniel and Todd Steussie, but in one regard the pair has nothing on the right-side tandem of guard David Dixon and tackle...

August 17, 1998 | Richard Deitsch
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August 17, 1998 | David Fleming

August 17, 1998 | David Fleming
1997 Record 9-7 (3rd in NFC Central)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 2/12/2; defense 18/13/14

August 17, 1998 | David Fleming
The Lions had the NFL's most efficient two-minute offense last year, averaging 2.23 points per drive on their 39 possessions that began in the final two minutes of a half. The top five teams in...

August 17, 1998 | David Fleming
Rookies looking to win their coach's heart need look no further than fourth-year defensive tackle Luther Elliss. Not only did Elliss finish second on the team with 8½ sacks in '97, but the...

August 17, 1998 | David Fleming
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August 17, 1998 | David Fleming
1997 Record 4-12 (5th in NFC Central)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 16/15/17; defense 19/11/12

August 17, 1998 | David Fleming
The 1998 Bears are only the fourth team in NFL history to begin a season with five consecutive games against teams that made the playoffs the previous year. Coach Dave Wannstedt would surely...

August 17, 1998 | David Fleming
The Bears may have discovered a deep threat in second-year wideout Marcus Robinson. After spending last season on injured reserve, Robinson led NFL Europe with 811 receiving yards and a 20.8-yard...

August 17, 1998 | Austin Murphy

August 17, 1998 | Austin Murphy
1997 Record 13-3 (1st in NFC West)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 8/18/12; defense 2/2/1

August 17, 1998 | Austin Murphy
The 49ers signed Ty Detmer this winter to back up Steve Young. Both quarterbacks played their college ball at Brigham Young, the school that boasts the highest cumulative career passer rating in...

August 17, 1998 | Austin Murphy
Second-year fullback Marc Edwards will have to do more than just block for Garrison Hearst if he is to replace the departed William Floyd, a key player in the short passing game. Edwards had six...

August 17, 1998 | Austin Murphy

August 17, 1998 | Austin Murphy
1997 Record 7-9 (3th in NFC West)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 19/22/23; defense 8/20/20

August 17, 1998 | Austin Murphy
Dan Reeves, a college quarterback at South Carolina who played running back for the Cowboys from 1965 to '72, threw three regular-season touchdown passes during his NFL career (all to Lance...

August 17, 1998 | Austin Murphy
First-round pick Keith Brooking of Georgia Tech doesn't plan on dueling with David Brandon and Henri Crockett for the strongside linebacker spot. "They wouldn't have taken me with the 12th pick if...

August 17, 1998 | Austin Murphy

August 17, 1998 | Austin Murphy
1997 Record 7-9 (tied for second in NFC West)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 15/26/26; defense 22/9/15

August 17, 1998 | Austin Murphy
Carolina's slide to a 7-9 record last year following an appearance in the 1996 NFC Championship Game was one of the season's biggest surprises. A harbinger of this decline was the Panthers' 0-4...

August 17, 1998 | Austin Murphy
Left guard Matthew Campbell is the feel-good free-agent story of the year. Of the original 10 Panthers signed as off-the-street walk-ons before the team's '95 startup, Campbell is the only one...

August 17, 1998 | Austin Murphy

August 17, 1998 | Austin Murphy
1997 Record 5-11 (5th in NFC West)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 24/17/21; defense 9/17/17

August 17, 1998 | Austin Murphy
Tony Banks has already fumbled 36 times in his first two pro seasons. That's the most fumbles by any NFL player over a two-year span since the league began compiling individual fumble statistics...