For nearly 60 years the cover of Sports Illustrated has defined the story of the day in sports. The magazine’s iconic cover always stirs passionate dialog, debate, celebration and criticism; and for those who believe in jinxes, fear. But there has always been one constant. The choice of who appears on the sover of SI has always rested in the hands of the magazine’s editorial team.
Today, that all changes.
Sports fans can visit SI’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/sportsillustrated) to rank the top five sports moments from 2011 drawn from a selection of 15 images which correspond to the editorial staff’s selections for the best sports moments of 2011. The image receiving the most votes as of December 16, will appear on the cover of the year-end double issue.
“Sports Illustrated has always been an advocate and voice for sports fans,” said Terry McDonell Time Inc. Sports Group Editor. “This is an extension of that mission, letting fans in on one of the most important and discussed decisions of the year.”
Tony Stewart’s dramatic — and championship clinching — victory in the season-ending Ford 400 at Homestead Miami Speedway is among the 15 nominees, as is Abby Wambach’s goal in the 122nd minute of the Women’s World Cup quarterfinals; Derek Jeter’s dramatic home run for his 3,000th hit; paralyzed former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand leading his Scarlet Knights on the field against West Virginia, and David Freese’s dramatic Game Six World Series home run for the St. Louis Cardinals.
The complete list of SI’s Top-15 moments includes:
Pack on Top— February 6: Aaron Rodgers throws three TDs to lead Green Bay to a 31-25 victory over Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XLV
Griffin’s Dunk— February 19: In the 2011 NBA slam dunk contest, the Clippers’ Blake Griffin soars over a Kia sedan to jam home the title
UConn Survives— March 10: Kemba Walker hits a buzzer-beater to defeat Pitt 76-74 in the Big East quarters; the Huskies roll to the NCAA title
Messi and Barça Reign—May 28: Lionel Messi and Barcelona overwhelm Manchester United 3-1 to win the Champions League title and stake a claim as the greatest team ever
Mavs Win— June 12: Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks beat LeBron James and the star-studded Heat in Game 6 of the NBA finals for Dallas’s first title
Bruins Hoist the Cup— June 15: Behind a historic performance from goalie Tim Thomas, the Bruins defeat Vancouver to win their first Stanley Cup since 1972
McIlroy Majestic— June 19: After his epic Masters meltdown, Rory McIlroy bounces back to win the U.S. Open in historic fashion
Jeter’s 3,000th— July 9: On a home run at a packed Yankee Stadium, Derek Jeter becomes the first Yankee to reach 3,000 hits
U.S. Women Stun Brazil— July 10: Abby Wambach scores a 122nd-minute equalizer against Brazil in the Women’s World Cup quarterfinals, and the US wins on penalties
Djoker’s Wild— September 10: Novak Djokovic fights off two match points to defeat Roger Federer in five sets in the U.S. Open semis on the way to the title
Michigan State’s Hail Mary— October 22: After unbeaten Wisconsin had staged a wild fourth-quarter rally, Michigan State stuns the Badgers on a last-second Hail Mary to win 37–31
Cardinals Magic— October 27: David Freese’s World Series Game 6 heroics—a ninth-inning, two-out triple and an 11th-inning walkoff homer—save the Cardinals
Eric LeGrand Returns— October 29: A year after his devastating injury, paralyzed former Rutgers player Eric LeGrand leads the Scarlet Knights onto the field against West Virginia
Slater Soars— November 6: Kelly Slater advances at the Rip Curl Pro Search in San Francisco, securing his record 11th world surfing title
Stewart Triumphs— November 20: Tony Stewart outraces Carl Edwards on the final day to win the Sprint Cup, capping NASCAR’s greatest title chase ever