Pulse: What was best in the SportsCenter Era?

Welcome to The Pulse, the place to find out what the sports world is thinking. Every day on ESPN.com, SportsNation registers its opinion on a wide range of topics by casting votes and offering opinions. We'll collect the daily highlights and create a running file throughout the week to measure The Pulse of SportsNation on a wide variety of issues. Check this page every day for an update of what the 'Nation is saying.

Friday's Big Question

1. What were your favorites of the ESPN era?

His Airness soars far above any other athlete.SportsCenter will air its 30,000th show Sunday, February 11 at 11 P.M.

That's 30,000 shows chock full of highlights, exclusive interviews, expert analysis, and not a little humor. We've asked SportsNation to come up with their top athletes, plays, moments, games, and teams of the SportsCenter Era (which we've so helpfully defined as "that which falls between 1979 and 2007").

SportsNation celebrated the best of an era with Michael Jordan, Texas football, the Miracle on Ice, and the band coming out on the field.

Who is the best athlete of the SportsCenter era?
69% Michael Jordan
11% Lance Armstrong
9% Wayne Gretzky
9% Tiger Woods
1% Barry Bonds

Which team had the best single season during the SportsCenter era?
60% 1995-96 Chicago Bulls
14% 1985 Chicago Bears
13% 1998 New York Yankees
7% 1983-84 Edmonton Oilers
6% 1995 Nebraska football

Which was the best game of the SportsCenter era?
53% 2006 Rose Bowl - Texas vs. USC
16% 1991 World Series Game 7 - Braves vs. Twins
13% Super Bowl XXV - Giants vs. Bills
12% 1985 National Championship - Villanova vs. Georgetown
6% 1999 Women's World Cup - USA vs. China

Which was the most memorable sports moment of the SportsCenter era?
65% 1980 - Miracle on Ice: USA vs. USSR
11% 1990 - Buster Douglas knocks out Tyson
10% 1995- Cal Ripken's 2131st straight game
7% 1997 - Tiger Woods' first Masters win
7% 1996 - Muhammad Ali torch ceremony

Which was the most memorable play of the SportsCenter era?
32% 1982 Cal-Stanford - The Play
20% 1984 BC vs. Miami - Flutie Hail Mary
19% 1988 World Series Game 1 - Kirk Gibson home run
18% 1992 East Regional - Laettner Shot
11% 1999 Bills vs. Titans - Music City Miracle

Thursday's Big Question

1. Should the Cowboys have hired Wade Phillips?

Wade Phillips will coach Dallas in 2007.The Cowboys' search for a replacement for Bill Parcells has ended.

Wade Phillips, former defensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers and seven-year head coaching veteran, is expected to be named as the Cowboys' head coach within the next few days. Phillips is 48-39 in the regular season, but 0-3 in the playoffs. Phillips' hiring comes as a surprise, as several other high-profile candidates were also interviewed for the job, including former Dallas coach Norv Turner.

SportsNation was surprised at the selection and unsure as to how Phillips will ultimately perform.

Are you surprised by the Cowboys' choice of Wade Phillips for the head coaching job?
68% Yes
32% No

Which of these candidates was the best man for the job?

35% Ron Rivera
35% Norv Turner
25% Wade Phillips
5% Jason Garrett

What kind of relationship will Terrell Owens have with his new head coach?

41% It won't take long for the relationship to turn sour and stay that way
32% Things will be fine at first, but will decline over time
27% There will be hiccups, but it will be fine overall

The Cowboys finished 13th in yards allowed and 20th in points allowed last season. What effect will Phillips have on the defense in 2007?

57% He will greatly improve the defense
38% The defense will perform roughly the same
5% The defense will be worse

Will the Cowboys make the playoffs in 2007?

68% Yes
32% No

Phillips is 48-39 in the regular season as a head coach, but 0-3 in the playoffs. Will Phillips win a playoff game in his first two seasons with the Cowboys?
57% Yes
43% No

From KC Joyner's Thursday chat:
KC, What do you make of Wade Phillips to Big D? Do you hate it as much as Gene Wojo does?

No as much as Wojo, but, no, I'm not sold on the move. Phillips has a track record that says he can make the playoffs and lose in the first round. Football head coaches don't typically tend to do better in their 2nd/3rd jobs than they did in their first (with Belichick being the key exception in that). If that holds, Phillips won't be an improvement over what Dallas already had.
KC Joyner

I think that anyone who hires Wade Phillips or Norv Turner as Head Coaches are "Crazy". They both have proven that they don't make very good decisions. Have we forgotten about what Phillips did to Flutie when he coached the Bills? Some people are better off as coordinaters than head coaches. What is Dallas thinking?


Damien, I think that Dallas sees Phillips as more of a part of the organization than the head of it. Maybe a good analogy would be that he would be to say that Phillips is a VP to Jerry Jones's CEO. That how Dallas seems to want to structure their organization and Phillips is a good fit in that sense.
KC Joyner

Wednesday's Big Question

1. What do you think of National Signing Day?

RB Joe McKnight has committed to play for the USC Trojans.It's the time of year when kids who haven't even graduated from high school yet can determine the future of a program.

Across the country, super-talented high school players will be committing to the most popular and competitive programs in the NCAA. Certain teams will have an inherent advantage in attracting these future stars; whether it's location, program success, or the personality of a famous coach. Some of these players will fade into obscurity, while others may make the Hall of Fame.

Parts of SportsNation followed the proceedings very closely, although others couldn't care less.

If you were a star recruit, which factor would be most important to you in choosing your school?
47% Success of the program
31% How soon I could play
12% Location, location, location
11% Academic offerings

How closely do you follow your favorite college team's recruiting efforts?
42% I don't follow recruiting
36% I start to follow after players sign
22% I know every recruit before they sign

From Florida recruit Carlos Dunlap's Wednesday chat:
Hey Carlos, does Florida winning the National Championship this year do anything to sway your decision to go there?
Miami, FL

Yes and no. It did have a little effect, knowing that they won the national championship. What I like about Florida was Florida itself; its environment and the school.
Carlos Dunlap

Carlos, Redshirt or play right away? Glad you're a GATOR!

I would like to play right away. If I come in and work hard, I think I can play right away.
Carlos Dunlap

Carlos, isn't it great to be a Florida Gator? Do you feel there is a lot of pressure having to replace Jarvis Moss?

Filling Jarvis Moss's shoes won't be a big thing. I'll just have to come in and work hard.
Carlos Dunlap

Carlos, how does it feel to have the whole recruiting process over with and have the ability to focus on the rest of your senior year and preparing for the fall?
Birmingham, AL

It's a relief. Knowing that I'm going to be spending my next four years at a good school and getting an education is an honor, knowing my hard work has paid off.
Carlos Dunlap

From Texas recruit Tray Allen's Wednesday chat:

Tray, Welcome to the 40 acres! You were a fairly early commitment. Would you like to see an early signing period to give guys the chance to avoid some of the hassle from other schools?

Not for the early signing, because that would take away the fun of the hype leading up to signing day. But if kids know where they want to go early, they should go there.
Tray Allen

Hey Tray, what was the one thing about Texas that was better than everywhere else?

Just the atmosphere. The players. The coaches. The great football at Texas. That sold me right away.
Tray Allen

How does it feel to play in your home state and that you will be playing the Sooners in the Red River Rivarly in Dallas every year the next four years?
Dallas, TX

Playing in my home state...if I went to USC, I wouldn't have the fans that I would have in Texas. no one would know me. To have my home fans is an overwhelming experience. I've been to the Red Rivalry game the last few years. It's an exciting game every year.
Tray Allen

Tray, did you ever waver on your Horns decision after your senior season or were you locked in the whole time?
St. Peter, MN

I second guessed myself once or twice. Every time I did, I talked to my friends and they reassured me. In being around a good group of guys will make for a fun environment.
Tray Allen

Tuesday's Big Question

1. Are you excited for college basketball?

At least one of these players will be chosen No. 1 in the upcoming draft.Some people start watching college basketball as soon as the season starts. Others wait until conference play begins. Still others take the end of football season as a sign that college basketball has officially begun.

Regardless, college basketball will dominate sports talk for the next two months. Baseball hasn't started yet, and the NBA is still working through its regular season kinks. March Madness is closer than you think.

With the Super Bowl fading into the background, it's time to consider what lies ahead for college basketball.

If they all declare, who should be the No. 1 pick in the 2007 NBA draft?
54% Kevin Durant, Texas freshman F
33% Greg Oden, Ohio State freshman C
14% Joakim Noah, Florida junior F

How would you rank the top teams in college basketball?
1. Florida
3. Wisconsin
4. North Carolina
5. Ohio State
6. Texas A&M
7. Pittsburgh
8. Kansas
9. Butler
10. Memphis
11. Marquette
12. Nevada
13. Oregon
14. Washington State
15. Air Force
16. Duke
17. Oklahoma State
18. Kentucky
19. Texas
20. USC
21. Alabama
22. Southern Illinois
23. Indiana
24. Georgetown
25. Notre Dame

From UCLA guard Arron Afflalo's Tuesday chat:

UCLA and Florida look to potentially be on a collision course for a rematch in the Final Four this year. UCLA is known for its stifling team defense. How did Florida break down that defense in the final last year? What have you learned from that experience, and if the rematch happens, what will UCLA do differently to stop Florida?
Rob Erzen
Aliso Viejo, CA

Well, last year's team was very good on defense, but had trouble scoring at times. With this year's team we have a lot of go-to guys who can make plays. Last year Florida had so many weapons and their big guys did a great job passing the ball. But I don't know, this year we may have to play a little one-on-one and hope for the best.

Arron Afflalo

The real greatest rivalry in college sports if you are objective is UCLA - USC. It covers all sports, mens and womens. Two schools with the most TEAM national championships. Two large schools in the 2nd-largest city in the USA, not the backwoods. Arron, do you think the rivalry gets the respect it deserves on the east coast? If we were talking about being in NYC do you think it would be talked about more?

Adam Zutler
San Diego, CA

That's a good question. I think the respect level for our rivalry has gone down in basketball, because of UCLA's strong basketball program. But the tradition as a whole is very large. I don't know about the east coast respect factor, but I do think that the basketball side of it will start to get much more attention.
Arron Afflalo

What's up Arron? How crazy was the UCLA campus after the football team beat SC to knock them out of the championship game?
Norwalk, CA

It was very crazy around here. The team was not around campus, but the whole area was very excited. The football team came out and played so hard, and it was a great promotion for our school.
Arron Afflalo

What Bruin player would give you the hardest competition in a one-on-one game?
Bill Shepson
Moreno Valley, CA

All-time, probably Kareem because he's seven feet. Right now it would probably be Darren Collison because he is so quick and can shoot, but Josh has a lot of tools, and so does Luke. So one of them. Actually to get ready for Oregon I had to guard Darren all week, and it was no easy task.
Arron Afflalo

Monday's Big Question

1. What did you think of the Super Bowl?

Peyton Manning hoists a long-awaited Vince Lombardi trophy.It might not have been the greatest Super Bowl ever, but it was enough to cement the legacies of several players.

Tony Dungy becomes the first African-American coach to win a Super Bowl. Peyton Manning finally removes all doubt of his place in the all-time QB pantheon. Adam Vinatieri proves that it helps to have him on your team, even if he didn't win the game with his leg this time. Rex Grossman proves all his doubters absolutely...correct.

As the pageantry of the Super Bowl fades into the Miami sunset, SportsNation gave its two cents on a truly hectic week.

SportsNation XLI Map

Where do the Colts rank among the best Super Bowl winners of all time?
1. '85 Chicago Bears
2. '89 San Francisco 49ers
3. '72 Miami Dolphins
4. '78 Pittsburgh Steelers
5. '88 San Francisco 49ers
6. '94 San Francisco 49ers
7. '93 Dallas Cowboys
8. '75 Pittsburgh Steelers
9. '92 Dallas Cowboys
10. '66 Green Bay Packers
11. '79 Pittsburgh Steelers
12. '98 Denver Broncos
13. '84 San Francisco
14. '67 Green Bay Packers
15. '06 Indianapolis Colts

Which was better?

85% The game
15% The commercials

Do you think the better team won?

93% Yes
7% No

Who was the MVP?

43% Peyton Manning (25-38, 247 yds., TD, INT)
33% Dominic Rhodes (21 rushes, 113 yards, TD)
15% Joseph Addai (77 yds. rushing, 66 yds. receiving)
8% Bob Sanders (INT, forced fumble)

1% Adam Vinatieri (11 points: 3-4 FG, 2-2 XP)

In his pregame chat, John Clayton said if the Colts win, Peyton Manning would vault into the Top 5 quarterbacks of all time. Do you agree?

71% Yes
29% No

Will Manning win another Super Bowl in his career?

59% Yes, one more
22% No
19% Yes, several more

What -- or whom -- should Chicago fans be blaming for the loss?

62% Rex Grossman
33% The defense
5% The weather

Will the Chicago Bears get back to the Super Bowl in the next five years?

52% No
48% Yes

Will the Colts repeat next season?

71% No
29% Yes

What was your take on the rain?

55% Good - made the game more unpredictable and exciting
45% Bad - made the game sloppy and didn't allow players to play their best

What grade would you give Billy Joel's performance of the national anthem?
31% I didn't see it
24% B
21% C
11% A
8% D
5% F

What was your reaction to Prince's halftime performance?

24% Better than I expected
23% Not impressed
21% I didn't watch it
17% It was OK
15% Awesome!

Overall, how would you rank Super Bowl XLI?

47% In the top half
25% In the bottom half
15% In the top 10
7% One of the worst
6% One of the best Super Bowls ever

From Gary Horton's Super Bowl XLI Live Chat:

Hey Gary, is it me or do the Bears not have a gameplan?
Collin Ebel
Columbus, OH

It doesn't look like there's any flow offensively to their game. I thought early in the game until Benson got hurt that they were going to try to run it up the middle. Rex is not making plays on third down.
Gary Horton

The turnovers in this game are ridiculous. The Bears have to put points on the board eventually or they won't be able to keep up with Manning, no matter how many turnovers the Colts have!
Atlanta, GA

I think the Bears are lucky to be in the game for not playing well offensively right now. They need to become more explosive because if this gets into any kind of shootout, Manning is obviously superior.
Gary Horton

Do you think that the Colts' defense will be able to keep the lead?

Yeah, I think they're playing pretty well. Bob Sanders is doing a great job of stepping up and tackling. Without Benson, the Bears are missing a tough inside run game.
Gary Horton

Manning isn't having a bad game. Do you think he can keep up the good work the entire game?
Joe Smith
New York

He's made some throws that he probably shouldn't make. I think he'll get in a flow in the second half. The Bears are actually blitzing off the edge more than I thought they would.
Gary Horton

The Bear's D has got to be dead tired. Chicago seems to really be trying to prevent Rex from losing it for them at the expense of their defense.

Ironically, I'm watching the game with Ron Jaworski and we both say that the Bears' defense is spending a lot of time on the field. The Colts are running the ball right at them and trying to tire them out. They did that against the Pats and I think it's happening now.
Gary Horton

As the clock wound down:

Congrats to Dungy and the Colts.

Benson's injury did not affect the game. The Bears didn't run enough plays to utilitze even one running back.
Athens, OH

The Colts entertained me but not the Bears.
Tuscaloosa, AL


Peyton's first championship in any level of football, congrats!
Hershey, PA

Congrats to the Colts from a Bears fan! You deserved to win!
Quanzhou, China

Will people remember this was Manning's first year without Edgerrin James? This was one of his worst teams.
Nashville, TN

Boy, if there was ever a city that needed this win it, was Indy. WOOOOOT! RIOT TONIGHT!

Indianapolis, IN

2. What did you think of the Super Bowl commercials?

Despite the fact that this man has an axe, SportsNation found him hilarious.Super Bowl commercials are almost as heavily anticipated as the game itself.

Certain commercials take a place in our collective unconscious--the Budweiser frogs, Reebok's Terry Tate: Office Linebacker, Bird and Jordan playing a cosmic game of HORSE. Others simply come and go, forgotten in the media blitz.

SportsNation wasn't unanimous on this year's crop, but still found reasons to smile.

How much longer did you watch the game because of the commercials?
91% I watched the whole game
3% A quarter
3% About three quarters
2% A half
1% I only watched for the commercials

Which was the funniest commercial?

28% Bud Light - Hitchiker
14% Bud Light - Rock, Paper, Scissors
10% Blockbuster - Drag the mouse
7% Snickers - Guy kiss
7% Nationwide - Kevin Federline
6% Bud Light - Language class
6% Bud Light - Slap happy
3% Sierra Mist Free - Beard comb-over
3% Emerald Nuts - Robert Goulet
3% Careerbuilder.com - Survive the workweek
3% Bud Light - Auction wedding
2% Doritos - Checkout girl
2% General Motors - Parts machine without a job
1% Taco Bell - Lions chat
1% FedEx - Funny names
1% Bud Light - Monkey business
1% Sprint - Connectile Dysfunction
1% GoDaddy.com - Marketing
1% ETrade - One finger

Which commercial made the best use of a celebrity?

59% Nationwide - Kevin Federline
17% Budweiser - Don Shula and Jay-Z
16% Emerald Nuts - Robert Goulet
4% Foot Locker - Kevin Garnett
4% Revlon - Sheryl Crow

Which commercial made the best use of an animal?

40% Budweiser - Dalmation
35% Blockbuster - Drag the mouse
13% Taco Bell - Lions
12% Bud Light - Gorillas

Which movie trailer piqued your interest the most?

42% Hannibal Rising
18% Wild Hogs
14% Ghost Rider
12% Meet The Robinsons
7% Pride
7% Norbit

Which non-comedic commercial was the best?

52% NFL - Hard to say goodbye
16% Coke - Video game
9% Coke - Vending machine adventure
8% Toyota Tundra - Demonstration
8% Coke - Black history timeline
7% Beatyourrisk.com - Heart

What grade would you give this year's crop of Super Bowl commercials?

48% B
30% C
14% D

5% F
4% A

Which was the best overall commercial?

27% General Motors - Parts machine without a job
14% Bud Light - Rock, paper, scissors
11% Blockbuster - Drag the mouse
7% Snickers - Guy kiss
7% Nationwide - Kevin Federline
6% Bud Light - Language class
6% Bud Light - Slap happy
5% Careerbuilder.com - Survive the workweek
4% Budweiser - Dalmation
4% Sierra Mist Free - Beard comb-over
3% Coke - Video game
3% NFL - Hard to say goodbye
2% Coke - Vending machine adventure
1% GoDaddy.com - Marketing
1% ETrade - One finger

From Monday's Super Bowl Commercial Buzz chat:

The slapping one, not sure what was being sold, made me laugh so hard! That's another thing, funny how we see a commercial and sometimes forget what's being sold.
Dallas, TX

Other than the Blockbuster mouse and the fist bump ads, Rex Grossman throwing a football was easily the funniest thing during the Superbowl.
Boston, MA

Congratulations, you're funnier than any of the ''amateur'' ads last night.

Buzz, I think there used to be about 2-3 no-doubter awesome commercials a year. Now we maybe get one if we're lucky.
Peoria, IL

They used to be much more creative. Apparently finding an original idea for ad agencies is becoming more and more difficult. Plus, it's hard to top Cindy Crawford in those cut-off shorts.


No, it used to be all good ones for the first half. I think they made it through the first commercial break, and that was it.
Cleveland, OH

I definitely miss the Bud Bowl.