U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III was already losing sleep over his four wild-card selections when Nick Watney entered the discussion with his out-of-nowhere victory at the Barclays
NFL 2012
The Sky's The Limit
An aerial explosion—multiple 5,000-yard passers in one season!—is forcing us to rewrite the record book and rethink what's possible
Megatron And Mega-Arm
Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson, the most prolific quarterback-receiver combination in football, have lifted the Lions—and are ready to shake up the record book, too
American Badass
He spits teeth, yanks down quarterbacks one-handed and, at 32, has emerged as a dominant football force through intense workouts, painstaking study and sheer will. San Francisco's Justin Smith is everything a defender should be
The Last Happy Man
Hero. Jester. Prodigy. Knucklehead. The league's best hope and worst nightmare. Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots is a 265-pound bundle of raw energy and rocking good times, and he could become the best tight end in history. Right now, though, he just wants to keep the party going
Scouting Reports
Scouting Reports AFC EAST
2 BUFFALO: Bills
Prize free-agent pass rusher transforms long-dormant franchise into Super Bowl contender: Is Mario Williams Reggie White redux?
3 NEW YORK: Jets
What quarterback controversy? Time for this once-riven roster to zip its collective lips and get back to basics
4 MIAMI: Dolphins
In case you haven't heard, there's a new sheriff in town. But does he have the horses to restore hope to the fans in Miami?
Scouting Reports AFC NORTH
The guard is changing before our eyes, and the future rests with a group of rising young defenders and a playoff-proven Joe Flacco
Andy Dalton and A.J. Green led a Queen City renaissance in 2011, but they'll have to think bigger to take this team to the next level
Scouting Reports AFC SOUTH
1 HOUSTON: Texans
Time for the division's new power to prep itself for a long run at the top. First order of business: make a call at quarterback
The horseshoe on the helmet isn't there for nothing: As the post-Peyton era begins, at least they've got Luck on their side
There are posh new digs thanks to a free-spending owner, but the building of a contender begins with the second-year quarterback
Scouting Reports AFC WEST
2 DENVER: Broncos
There's a new guy in the saddle—you may have heard a bit about him—and he's sending everyone's confidence mile high
3 SAN DIEGO: Chargers
The conference's perennial underachievers have a new mantra on defense: Keep it simple, don't overthink. But is that a Super Bowl formula?
4 OAKLAND: Raiders
As a new era dawns for the Silver and Black, hopes hinge on whether Carson Palmer can find his franchise form of old
Scouting Reports NFC EAST
1 DALLAS: Cowboys
A young running back's bruising style may have inspired just the attitude adjustment the Boys need to get back to the playoffs
2 NEW YORK: Giants
The defending champs' roster is again stacked with versatile and experienced players—except at one critical position
The clock ticking on his Super Bowl quest, Michael Vick is vowing to carry the Birds on his wings this year. He's not dreaming
Scouting Reports NFC NORTH
1 CHICAGO: Bears
A new G.M. finally got this team up to speed with the rest of the league, but improvement doesn't come without a few risks
2 GREEN BAY: Packers
Everyone's playing catch-up with that record-setting offense—including the Pack's own younger, faster unit on the other side of the ball
3 DETROIT: Lions
Who will shut down Calvin Johnson? Nobody. But who will contain the opponents' receivers? Much better question
4 MINNESOTA: Vikings
Christian Ponder took his lumps in 2011. That's fine, as long as he follows the typical QB trajectory, especially the part about a big Year 2 leap
Scouting Reports NFC SOUTH
1 ATLANTA: Falcons
Persistent playoff failure has this talented team recharging its offense to get even more dynamic—and checking its heart
They're missing some key components but still have a bounty (yeah, we went there) of talent. So they'll just go out and play
3 CAROLINA: Panthers
Cam Newton could be even better in Year 2—a terrifying thought for the rest of the league—but it won't matter if the D can't hold a lead
Scouting Reports NFC WEST
2 SEATTLE: Seahawks
A physically intimidating secondary will play a primary role in determining where this franchise goes next under Pete Carroll
3 ARIZONA: Cardinals
While the offense tries to unravel the tangled web at quarterback, the defense looks to tackle a problem of its own: mastering the 3--4
4 ST. LOUIS: Rams
Steven Jackson leads the charge again. The difference? This time he has a coach with pedigree calling the shots
Lance Armstrong's decision not to contest the doping charges leveled against him ends a career and an era
The Post-Games Report
From the sublime (or at least prime time) to the ridiculous (the rid-Lochte-ous?)—from fulfilling dreams to inspiring memes—here's a look at what some 2012 Olympians have been up to since the torch was extinguished in London on Aug. 12
Extreme Makeover
The Dodgers emphatically tore up their roster by raiding the listless, top-heavy Red Sox. The trick now is to avoid becoming Boston
Racing's Short Fuse
After fireworks at Bristol, NASCAR nears its postseason with tempers on edge