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TABLE OF CONTENTS

August 30, 1999 | Volume 91, Issue 8

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Ricky Williams Cover - Sports Illustrated August 30, 1999

August 30, 1999 | Michael Silver
Cool confident cornerback Charles Woodson is hell on wheels for the Raiders' improved defense

August 30, 1999
SI huddled with a handful of NFL heavyweights to discuss the state of the game—and where it's headed

August 30, 1999 | Paul Zimmerman
My alltime NFL team isn't designed to take the field; it's merely a compilation of my choices for the finest players at each position. There are multiple listings at some positions because I...

August 30, 1999
Black BattlersInspired in part by Ken Burns's 1994 documentary on baseball, Kadir Nelson did a series of paintings about the Negro leagues. Depicted here is a game between the Memphis Red Sox and...

August 30, 1999
WILD-CARD PLAYOFFS

August 30, 1999
We ranked the NFL's offensive backs, receivers, kickers and return specialists from I (the best) to 500, based on our projections of their statistical production this season. The categories...

August 30, 1999 | Tim Crothers
Bill Parcells will tackle the task of taking a third franchise to the Super Bowl, an unprecedented feat, but hell have to do it with a revamped offensive line

August 30, 1999 | Tim Crothers
Sept.12 NEW ENGLAND19 at Buffalo26 WASHINGTON

August 30, 1999 | Tim Crothers
1998 Record 12-4 (1st in AFC East)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 13/4/4; defense 14/9/71999 Schedule strengthNFL rank: 2 (tie)Opponents' 1998 winning percentage: .539Games against playoff...

August 30, 1999 | Tim Crothers
The most important reception of the Jets' 1998 season, the game-winning touchdown catch in a 17-10 win at Buffalo on Dec. 19 that secured the AFC East title, was not caught by Keyshawn Johnson or...

August 30, 1999 | Tim Crothers
After once again gagging on the ground game, Jimmy Johnson looked for help in the draft, where he hopes he's found a Diesel-powered solution

August 30, 1999 | Tim Crothers
Sept.13 at Denver (Mon.)19 ARIZONA26 Open date

August 30, 1999 | Tim Crothers
1998 Record 10-6 (2nd in AFC East)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 24/10/16; defense 6/6/31999 Schedule strengthNFL rank: 14Opponents' 1998 winning percentage: .512Games against playoff teams: 9

August 30, 1999 | Tim Crothers
All you need to know about Sam Madison's self-confidence is that Keyshawn Johnson, author of Just Give Me the Damn Ball!, says of the third-year cornerback, "He talks too much." Unlike most...

August 30, 1999 | Tim Crothers
Not about to rest on his laurels, even after a season that played out like a Hollywood script, a diminutive star is planning a blockbuster sequel

August 30, 1999 | Tim Crothers
Sept.12 at Indianapolis19 N.Y. JETS26 PHILADELPHIA

August 30, 1999 | Tim Crothers
1998 Record 10-6 (3rd in AFC East)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 3/12/6; defense 5/14/61999 Schedule strengthNFL rank: 25 (tie)Opponents' 1998 winning percentage: .480Games against playoff...

August 30, 1999 | Tim Crothers
When Sam Cowart was a freshman linebacker at Florida State in '93, teammate Derrick Brooks tagged him with a daunting nickname that would stick for the rest of Cowart's college career: NFL. Five...

August 30, 1999 | Tim Crothers
Can they return to the playoffs? The bigger question is: Can two of their best players, Terry Glenn and Willie McGinest, stay healthy?

August 30, 1999 | Tim Crothers
Sept.12 at N.Y. Jets19 INDIANAPOLIS26 N.Y. GIANTS

August 30, 1999 | Tim Crothers
1998 Record 9-7 (4th in AFC East)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 27/5/11: defense 7/25/201999 Schedule strengthNFL rank: 6Opponents' 1998 winning percentage: .529Games against playoff teams: 9

August 30, 1999 | Tim Crothers
Strong safety Lawyer Milloy is regarded as an enforcer in the menacing tradition of Ronnie Lott and Steve Atwater. Coach Pete Carroll was so impressed by Milloy's '98 season—the 6-foot,...

August 30, 1999 | Tim Crothers
Their fate rides largely on two gutsy off-season calls by club president Bill Polian: the trading of Marshall Faulk and the drafting of Edgerrin James

August 30, 1999 | Tim Crothers
Sept.12 BUFFALO19 at New England26 at San Diego

August 30, 1999 | Tim Crothers
1998 Record 3-13 (5th in AFC East)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 26/6/12; defense 29/16/291999 Schedule strengthNFL rank: 11Opponents' 1998 winning percentage: .517Games against playoff teams: 9

August 30, 1999 | Tim Crothers
Defensive tackle Ellis Johnson, who signed a five-year, $25 million extension in February with a year remaining on his contract, is the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL who has never gone...

August 30, 1999 | David Fleming
Everything is in place offensively, so the chances for a first trip to the Super Bowl will ride on the play of an underachieving defense

August 30, 1999 | David Fleming
Sept.12 SAN FRANCISCO19 at Carolina26 TENNESSEE

August 30, 1999 | David Fleming
1998 Record 11-5 (1st in AFC Central)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 5/20/10: defense 22/23/251999 Schedule strengthNFL rank: 22Opponents' 1998 winning percentage: .491Games against playoff...

August 30, 1999 | David Fleming
The first thing that free-agent tight end Kyle Brady did after signing with the Jaguars was walk up to second-year strong safety Donovin Darius and show him the scar on his chin. While running a...

August 30, 1999 | David Fleming
The nickname, uniforms, logo and stadium are all new, and so is this season's passing strategy for quarterback : Go long

August 30, 1999 | David Fleming
Sept.12 CINCINNATI19 CLEVELAND26 at Jacksonville

August 30, 1999 | David Fleming
1998 Record 8-8 (2nd in AFC Central)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 9/15/9; defense 9 (tie)/20/161999 Schedule strengthNFL rank: 24Opponents' 1998 winning percentage: .482Games against playoff...

August 30, 1999 | David Fleming
In 1995 Florida State retired the jersey of All-Pro cornerback Deion Sanders. But before jersey number 2 was retired, Samari Rolle wore it as a Seminoles cornerback. All Rolle did was have an...

August 30, 1999 | David Fleming
If an unsettled offensive line doesn't get its act together, a second consecutive nonplayoff season could be in the offing for coach Bill Cowher and Co.

August 30, 1999 | David Fleming
Sept.12 at Cleveland19 at Baltimore26 SEATTLE

August 30, 1999 | David Fleming
1998 Record 7-9 (3rd in AFC Central)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 7/29/25; defense 13/18/121999 Schedule strengthNFL rank: 17 (tie)Opponents' 1998 winning percentage: .496Games against...

August 30, 1999 | David Fleming
The 1996 draft was almost half over by the time Florida A&M linebacker Earl Holmes received a call from Steelers coach Bill Cowher congratulating him on being selected by Pittsburgh in the...

August 30, 1999 | David Fleming
Improved play in the secondary is of primary importance for a team that regularly ranks near the bottom of the league in pass defense

August 30, 1999 | David Fleming
Sept.12 at St. Louis19 PITTSBURGH26 CLEVELAND

August 30, 1999 | David Fleming
1998 Record 6-10 (4th in AFC Central)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 20/25/26; defense 17/24/221999 Schedule strengthNFL rank: 17 (tie)Opponents' 1998 winning percentage: .496Games against...

August 30, 1999 | David Fleming
How's this for explosiveness? Last season wideout and return man Jermaine Lewis scored on receptions of 46, 56, 58, 64 and 76 yards and on punt returns of 69 and 87 yards. Lewis and Packers...

August 30, 1999 | David Fleming
They'll go as far as running back Corey Dillon's legs can carry them, which, for the team with the AFC's worst record in the '90s, shouldn't be far

August 30, 1999 | David Fleming
Sept.12 at Tennessee19 SAN DIEGO26 at Carolina

August 30, 1999 | David Fleming
1998 Record 3-13 (5th in AFC Central)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 19/17/17; defense 30/12/281999 Schedule strengthNFL rank: 30Opponents' 1998 winning percentage: .446Games against playoff...

August 30, 1999 | David Fleming
If there's a tackier who can lift the Bengals out of their defensive doldrums, it's second-year inside linebacker Takeo Spikes. The 13th pick in last year's draft out of Auburn, Spikes, whom coach...

August 30, 1999 | David Fleming
What does an expansion team do when it spends $48 million on a rookie quarterback? It invests heavily in blockers who can keep him in one piece

August 30, 1999 | David Fleming
Sept.12 PITTSBURGH19 at Tennessee26 at Baltimore

August 30, 1999 | David Fleming
1999 Schedule strengthNFL rank: 31Opponents' 1998 winning percentage: .395Games against playoff teams: 3

August 30, 1999 | David Fleming
Kevin Johnson, a wideout who was one of the Browns' second-round picks last spring, has had quite a preseason. On July 29 he became a father when his girlfriend, Shaniece Diaz, gave birth to a...

August 30, 1999 | Austin Murphy
To get an idea of the array of talent available to the two-time defending Super Bowl champions, just check them out from one end of the line to the other

August 30, 1999 | Austin Murphy
Sept.13 MIAMI (Mon.)19 at Kansas City26 at Tampa Bay

August 30, 1999 | Austin Murphy
1998 Record 14-2 (1st in AFC West)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 2/7/3; defense 3/26/111999 Schedule strengthNFL rank: 4 (tie)Opponents' 1998 winning percentage: .535Games against playoff...

August 30, 1999 | Austin Murphy
Steve Atwater is with the Jets in part because the Broncos' brass felt it had a capable replacement in Eric Brown, the latest in Denver's line of molar-rattling free safeties. The six-foot,...

August 30, 1999 | Austin Murphy
All the pieces seem to be coming together under Mike Holmgren, but the defense will have to make do without its mastermind

August 30, 1999 | Austin Murphy
Sept.12 DETROIT19 at Chicago26 at Pittsburgh

August 30, 1999 | Austin Murphy
1998 Record 8-8 (3rd in AFC West)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 22/24/23; defense 21/27/271999 Schedule strengthNFL rank: 15Opponents' 1998 winning percentage: .500Games against playoff teams: 5

August 30, 1999 | Austin Murphy
The talented Seahawks will go as far as their unproven, third-year quarterback Jon Kitna will take them. That's fine with Mike Holmgren, who likes what he has seen of the Tacoma, Wash., native....

August 30, 1999 | Austin Murphy
The well-worn quarterback carousel spins the other way now, with style (Jeff George) having been replaced by substance (Rich Gannon)

August 30, 1999 | Austin Murphy
Sept.12 at Green Bay19 at Minnesota26 CHICAGO

August 30, 1999 | Austin Murphy
1998 Record 8-8 (2nd in AFC West)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 16/21/18; defense 15/4/51999 Schedule strengthNFL rank: 1Opponents' 1998 winning percentage: .570Games against playoff teams: 7

August 30, 1999 | Austin Murphy
During drills at the Cowboys' training camp in El Paso two summers ago, a Raiders rookie with a bowling ball build was embarrassing some well-known Dallas veterans. "Who the f—- is number 90?"...

August 30, 1999 | Austin Murphy

August 30, 1999 | Austin Murphy
Sept.12 at Chicago19 DENVER26 DETROIT

August 30, 1999 | Austin Murphy
1998 Record 7-9 (4th in AFC West)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 23/16/19; defense 18/7/91999 Schedule strengthNFL rank: IBOpponents' 1998 winning percentage: .496Games against playoff teams: 4

August 30, 1999 | Austin Murphy
It's a testament to the talent of Tony Gonzalez that in his second NFL season he set a Chiefs record for catches by a tight end (59) and was widely thought to have had a subpar season. "Was too...

August 30, 1999 | Michael Silver

August 30, 1999 | Michael Silver
Sept.12 Open date19 at Cincinnati26 INDIANAPOLIS

August 30, 1999 | Michael Silver
1998 Record 5-11 (5th in AFC West)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 15/26/24; defense 1/11/11999 Schedule strengthNFL rank: 9Opponents' 1998 winning percentage: .521Games against playoff teams: 5

August 30, 1999 | Michael Silver
He's a mountain of a man, but when it comes right down to it, tight end Freddie Jones would rather dash than mash. An adequate blocker with soft hands and a smooth, deceptively swift stride, Jones...

August 30, 1999 | Paul Zimmerman

August 30, 1999 | Paul Zimmerman
Sept.12 at Washington20 ATLANTA (Mon.)26 Open date

August 30, 1999 | Paul Zimmerman
1998 Record 10-6 (1st in NFC East)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 8/9/8; defense 12/22/181999 Schedule strengthNFL rank: 12Opponents' 1998 winning percentage: .516Games against playoff teams: 8

August 30, 1999 | Paul Zimmerman
When Dallas scouting director Larry Lacewell was a coach at Tennessee, he tried to recruit Randall Godfrey out of high school but lost him to Georgia. Lacewell joined the Cowboys in 1992 and four...

August 30, 1999 | Paul Zimmerman

August 30, 1999 | Paul Zimmerman
Sept.12 at Tampa Bay19 WASHINGTON26 at New England

August 30, 1999 | Paul Zimmerman
1998 Record 8-8 (3rd in NFC East)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 12/28/29: defense 23/13/191999 Schedule strengthNFL rank: 25 (tie)Opponents' 1998 winning percentage: .480Games against playoff...

August 30, 1999 | Paul Zimmerman
It was the biggest catch in Amani Toomer's three-year NFL career. Game 14 of 1998, 48 seconds left, and the 6'3" Toomer, running a deep-right corner route, soars over Broncos cornerback Tito Paul,...

August 30, 1999 | Paul Zimmerman

August 30, 1999 | Paul Zimmerman
Sept.12 DALLAS19 at N.Y. Giants26 at N.Y. Jets

August 30, 1999 | Paul Zimmerman
1998 Record 6-10 (4th in NFC East)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 18/13/15; defense 28/5/241999 Schedule strengthNFL rank: 27Opponents' 1998 winning percentage: .469Games against playoff teams: 8

August 30, 1999 | Paul Zimmerman
In OT of the third game of the 1997 season, Kenard Lang, a 22-year-old rookie left defensive end, reached into the Cardinals' backfield and stripped the ball from Leeland McElroy. The Redskins...

August 30, 1999 | Paul Zimmerman

August 30, 1999 | Paul Zimmerman
Sept.12 ARIZONA19 TAMPA BAY26 at Buffalo

August 30, 1999 | Paul Zimmerman
1998 Record 3-13 (5th in NFC East)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 14/30/30; defense 27/1/171999 Schedule strengthNFL rank: 28Opponents' 1998 winning percentage: .461Games against playoff teams: 7

August 30, 1999 | Paul Zimmerman
He was Philly's top free-agent pickup two years ago, and he was going to be the fulcrum for a mighty offensive line. Instead, 29-year-old center Steve Everitt remains an enigma. In '97 he sprained...

August 30, 1999 | Peter King

August 30, 1999 | Peter King
Sept.12 at Atlanta19 OAKLAND26 at Green Bay

August 30, 1999 | Peter King
1998 Record 15-1 (1st in NFC Central)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 11/1/2: defense 11/19/131999 Schedule strengthNFL rank: 7 (tie)Opponents' 1998 winning percentage: .523Games against...

August 30, 1999 | Peter King
Some players prefer anonymity. They lie low, do their jobs and get out of the locker room before reporters arrive. One example is Vikings 288-pound defensive tackle Tony Williams, who takes over...

August 30, 1999 | Peter King

August 30, 1999 | Peter King
Sept.12 N.Y. GIANTS19 at Philadelphia26 DENVER

August 30, 1999 | Peter King
1998 Record 8-8 (3rd in NFC Central)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 4/27/22; defense 8/2/21999 Schedule strengthNFL rank: 2 (tie)Opponents' 1998 winning percentage: .539Games against playoff...

August 30, 1999 | Peter King
In April the Bucs drafted Kansas State kicker Martin Gramatica in the third round, making him the first player from Argentina to be chosen. Though Gramatica hasn't lived there since he was eight,...

August 30, 1999 | Peter King

August 30, 1999 | Peter King
Sept.12 OAKLAND19 at Detroit26 MINNESOTA

August 30, 1999 | Peter King
1998 Record 11-5 (2nd in NFC Central)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 25/3/5; defense 4/10/41999 Schedule strengthNFL rank: 7 (tie)Opponents' 1998 winning percentage: .523Games against playoff...

August 30, 1999 | Peter King
Keith McKenzie may be the biggest beneficiary of the Packers' coaching change. Unlike his predecessor, Mike Holmgren, new Green Bay coach Ray Rhodes believes that his right defensive end doesn't...

August 30, 1999 | Peter King

August 30, 1999 | Peter King
Sept.12 at Seattle19 GREEN BAY26 at Kansas City

August 30, 1999 | Peter King
1998 Record 5-11 (4th in NFC Central)NFL rank (rush/pass/total): offense 10/19/14; defense 25/8/151999 Schedule strengthNFL rank: 10Opponents' 1998 winning percentage: .520Games against playoff...