Plus – Introducing “Player X” – A New Column in The Mag
Every NFL quarterback needs someone to complement him -- a ying to his yang. Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts found his rock in center Jeff Saturday and their bond is recognized on the cover of and in ESPN The Magazine’s NFL preview issue on newsstands today. The cover athletes have been teammates for nine years constantly studying each others’ signs to produce an explosive offense that has been the Colts trademark for the past decade. With the retirement of head coach Tony Dungy and the departure of wide receiver Marvin Harrison, writer Alan Grant explains why this relationship is key to the Colts’ success in “Well Connected.”
The Mag also welcomes “Player X” to its staff and to its column line-up. Every issue through the NFL season, “Player X,” a NFL star, will write a column of the same name anonymously about life as a pro athlete. His identity will remain secret – unless he chooses otherwise: his team’s owner, coaches, and teammates … not even his family knows “Player X’s” identity. For his debut article, he discusses temptation in the professional world and why athletes’ find themselves in precarious situations.
“Player X” Quotes:
- “I want to share what athletes think…. I’m not here to snitch or call people out. I just want to show that the life of an athlete isn’t always what it appears to be.”
- “The majority of married players I know are very faithful. While a recent CNN report said 80-90% of pro athletes cheat on their wives, I’d say it’s closer to 30%. The older, established players have too much to lose. That’s why it’s hard for me to imagine why Steve (McNair) did what he did. He was one of those guys.”
- “But when it comes to temptation, I don’t care how strong you are. There are only so many times you can say No until you give in and say, Well, I’ll think about it. Then it’s Maybe. Pretty soon you’ve done something you never would have done before.”
Also in the NFL preview, senior writer Seth Wickersham profiles New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick’s disciples, including Eric Mangini, Charlie Weis and Josh McDaniels in “It Takes A Genius.” Besides being the brains behind the Patriots’ success in the 2000s, Belichick is also credited with forming an elite football mastermind fraternity that has produced eight college or NFL head coaches and five general managers. All of Belichick’s prodigies would love to replicate his success, but can brilliance really be taught?
Other ESPN The Mag NFL Preview highlights include a feature on Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears, a look at the inspirational words that motivate players, an offensive line glossary and analysis of all the divisions with commentary from KC Joyner, Ron “Jaws” Jaworski and Jon Gruden.
IN HIS ELEMENT. Clay Marzo just won the Quiksilver Pro at Puerto Escondido and some say he might be the greatest surfer since Kelly Slater. Marzo battles more than just waves though, as he was diagnosed with Asperger’s Disorder two years ago.Alyssa Roenigk reports. Watch an E:60 piece on Marzo here.
DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS. The Rangers have always had sluggers, but the franchise has never won a
playoff series. So team President Nolan Ryan is focusing on what he knows best -- pitching to change the teams’ luck. Tim Keown reports.