The discussion in New Orleans ahead of a college football national championship — as discussions like this can among wordsmiths and golden throats — started over beers, maybe a Crown-and-Coke or three.
The question at hand: Who would be on the Mount Rushmore of college football play-by-play announcers?
Keith Jackson, of course. Verne Lundquist? Brent Musburger or maybe Chris Schenkel.
Finally, one at the table, who shall remain anonymous, offered, “Well, you’d have to put me on it, of course.”
A pause. Awkward glances. More beers, Crown-and-Cokes.
If at some point there is a discussion of the Mount Rushmore of sports media companies, modesty would prevent The Sporting News, est. 1886, from saying, “Well, you’d have to put us on it, of course.”
As part of this Mount Rushmore project, we’ve combed through our Archives to find stories about the vast majority of athletes selected in the 13 qualifying cities. The range of what we call “content” today is, frankly, astonishing.
Suffice it to say: We’ve seen some things — and written about them.
The House that Ruth Built opens and you-know-who hits a homer. The Base Ball Paper of the World witnesses Walter Johnson get his only World Series win … in relief … in extra innings … in Game 7.
Players of the year and players of the decade; throwers, catchers, hitters, shooters, we’ve covered ‘em all. We’ve run obituaries (#RIP, Lou Gehrig) or maybe just an appreciation upon an athlete’s passing (“Walter Payton’s Lessons in Greatness”). Since 1886 right through to today, we have strived to go beyond the box score, to tell you something you don’t know, to help you See A Different Game.
In doing that, we’ve talked to every center Joe Montana had from junior high through his last year in the NFL; we’ve dissected Randy Johnson and talked hitting with Ted Williams. We’ve chronicled rough rookie years (looking at you, Isiah) and burst-on-the-scene first seasons (one word: “Miamarino”).
But wait, there’s more.
Don’t believe me? Here are the 58 stories from The Sporting News Archives, sprinkled throughout this project. There’s at least one from every decade since the 1920s. We hope you’ll enjoy this ride in a time machine because it also gives us a chance to think about former co-workers and contributors, some of whom are no longer with us, of course, and some of whom have moved on to other sports media companies.
Oh, and speaking of which: If maybe you ever find yourself discussing the Mount Rushmore of sports media companies, we hope you’ll do us a solid.
Joe Montana, the bottom line (April 24, 1995)
Joe Montana, the Best (April 24, 1995)
Jerry Rice was some catch (Feb. 11, 1991)
Steph Curry, ‘there’s never been anyone like him’ (Oct. 22, 2021)
Barry Bonds and 755 (Oct. 8, 2001)
Red, white and blue — and Brady (Feb. 11, 2002)
Bill Russell, 1960s Athlete of the Decade (March 14, 1970)
Bobby Orr Is Great — And There Are No Dissenters (May 9, 1970)
Boston icon Ted Williams, 7 stories over 7 decades
Boston and Red Sox icon Ted Williams, 1918-2002 (July 15, 2002)
Dave Kindred on Ted Williams, a nod to a god (July 15, 2002)
Ted Williams, 22, hits .406 for Red Sox (Nov. 20, 1941)
Ted Williams, a hitter first, a hitter always (Nov. 14, 1994)
Michael Jordan retired; Bob Costas weighed in (Jan. 25, 1999)
The moment Michael Jordan became the NBA’s best player (June 24, 1991)
Walter Payton’s lessons in greatness (Nov. 15, 1999)
Ernie Banks puts it all together (Sept. 3, 1958)
Bobby Hull, the Golden Jet of hockey (March 19, 1966)
Roger Staubach wins NFC Player of the Year (Jan. 22, 1972)
Emmitt Smith sets NFL career rushing record (Nov. 4, 2002)
Bob Lilly is what makes Cowboys so rugged (Nov. 18, 1972)
Dirk Nowitzki, a first scouting report ahead of a 21-year career (Dec. 27, 1999)
Todd Helton’s roadmap to .400 (Sept. 4, 2000)
Joe Sakic is sneaky good (Jan. 14, 2002)
Nikola Jokic, Serbian at heart (Feb. 20, 2019)
John Elway, back-to-back Super Bowl winner, retires (May 3, 1999)
Barry Sanders rushes for 2K (Dec. 15, 1997)
Gordie Howe, at 42, yields to injury (Jan. 2, 1971)
Al Kaline, 16 years a Tiger, finally on a winner (Oct. 5, 1968)
Isiah Thomas has had a bumpy rookie year (Feb. 20, 1982)
Magic Johnson scores with Showtime Lakers (April 27, 1987)
Kobe Bryant, 19, was most electrifying player in the NBA (Dec. 8, 1997)
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s retirement leaves large void (July 3, 1989)
Sandy Koufax Spins Strikeout Tale (Oct. 19, 1963)
Dan Marino is Quite a QB (Jan. 9, 1984)
Bob Griese Routs Rivals as AFC Player of Year (Jan. 22, 1972)
Alonzo Mourning’s anxious days (Oct. 16, 2000)
Dwyane Wade, Miami ‘forever going to be my home’ (April 10, 2019)
Twins icon Kirby Puckett, an appreciation (July 22, 1996)
Vikings icon Fran Tarkenton named 1975 NFC Player of the Year (Jan. 31, 1976)
Twins’ Harmon Killebrew named A.L. Player of Year (Oct. 25, 1969)
Babe Ruth homers in Yankee Stadium opening (April 26, 1923)
Babe Ruth bookends — Yankees acquire Ruth, Baby Ruth Day 1947
Walt Frazier leads Knicks in style (Feb. 14, 1970)
Lawrence Taylor, linebacker at large (Nov. 17, 1986)
Lou Gehrig’s Death Shocks All in Game (June 5, 1941)
Bobby Clarke, the modest Flyer with firepower (March 10, 1973)
Allen Iverson, the mercurial Sixers star in two columns
Mike Schmidt Selected TSN Player of Decade (Jan. 29, 1990)
NBA Players Hail Dr. J as No. 1 (April 25, 1981)
Randy Johnson, dissected (June 12, 2000)
The Book on … Steve Nash, Suns guard (Jan. 19, 1998)
Diana Taurasi voted by fans as WNBA’s greatest player of all-time (Oct. 13, 2021)
Larry Fitzgerald retire? Bruce Arians had some counterpoints ready (Dec. 28, 2016)
Darrell Green, Washington cornerstone (Oct. 27, 1997)
Walter Johnson Proves Hero in Deciding Game 7 (Oct. 16, 1924)
Wes Unseld Offers Off-Court Assists (March 27, 1976)
Alex Ovechkin gets his championship moment (June 2, 2018)