December 2021 Sports Illustrated Cover: Football: Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray (1) in action, making jump pass vs Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Cleveland, OH 10/17/2021. Photo by Erick W. Rasco/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

Inside the issue: The chaotic throwing styles quarterbacks use to carve up NFL defenses; Dirt Track Racing’s Dustin Sprouse and NBA G League’s 17-year-old Scoot Henderson; The true-crime rise and fall of crime boss Paul Massey; SI photographers zoom in on the biggest storylines of young NBA season; and more

(BUSINESS WIRE)–NFL quarterbacks are more athletic than ever, and those superpowers are changing the most elemental act of the position: throwing. Traditional passing mechanics are being replaced by jump throws, sidearm tosses and purposeful off-balance heaves that quarterbacks spend hours perfecting. Conor Orr’s In the Throws of Change takes us inside the carefully cultivated world and throwing style of quarterbacks like Kyler Murray, Lamar Jackson, and Patrick Mahomes in Sports Illustrated’s December issue, available online today and in stores on Nov. 18, with additional features below.

On the Cover

They’re not just a way to make highlight-reel throws – biomechanical adaptations for passing can also avoid injury in crowded pockets. Kyler Murray, and one of his signature both-feet-off-the-ground throws, is on the cover and part of a creative group of quarterbacks NFL coaches have grown to love and aim to replicate, according to Conor Orr.

December Issue Features

  • Younger Professional: Howard Beck introduces the latest basketball barrier breaker, Scoot Henderson, who at age 17 skipped his senior season of high school to sign a million-dollar deal with the NBA’s G League. As players look for ways to bypass college and get to the NBA faster, many more will follow Henderson’s path – if he succeeds.
  • The MLB 50: SI ranks the top free agents heading into baseball’s offseason. In a deep pool of MLB free agents, leading shortstop Carlos Correa got the nod for number 1.
  • Out on the Track: Few sports subcultures are more insular (and conservative) than top-level dirt track racing, where the competition is stiff and the cost of competing ($15 gas?) is high. Jon Wertheim profiles Dustin Sprouse as one of the sport’s most talented young drivers, whose rise on the circuit is complicated by a fact he does little to downplay: he’s gay. Add in a key crew member who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 and sponsors who shy away from him, and Sprouse’s push to make it is….complicated.
  • Manchester’s Mr. Big: When he was gunned down in broad daylight in 2015, Paul Massey was one of England’s most notorious crime bosses. In the gritty 1980s and 90s Manchester world of sports and music, he came of age, beginning his criminal career as a violent Manchester United hooligan group member. His life ended with a strange sports twist: his murderer, an avid cyclist, was arrested after being tracked by the fitness watch he was wearing, as reported by Reid Forgrave.

Also in this issue:

  • Ross Dellenger on the long history of the latest college football hot-button issue: playoff expansion.
  • Scottie Pippen’s new book, Unguarded, reviewed by Mark Bechtel.
  • Think Bigger: Michael Rosenberg on the case for WNBA expansion.
  • SI Eats: The Food Network star and chef Michael Symon’s advice on football snacking.
  • SI Full Frame: looking back at an underground SI NBA Preview cover with Grant Hill.
  • The Lakers’ record-setting 33-game win streak, 50 years later.
  • In honor of the cover story, looking back at the patron saint of unorthodox quarterbacks: Bernie Kosar.

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