There are a lot ways in which we judge the greatness of the athletes we love. In football, we often look at yards, touchdowns and wins. But there are other more subjective ways as well. A pinnacle moment in the life of any athlete is to be on the cover of two of the most popular sports magazines, Sports Illustrated and ESPN.
The state of Mississippi took the country by storm on October 4. Mississippi State beat 6th ranked Texas A&M at Davis Wade Stadium in a complete drubbing of the Aggies. Ole Miss the topped the day off with their surprising victory over Alabama that afternoon. It was a great day for the state of Mississippi. The two heated rivals shared the day peacefully for one day. The unprecedented success by both schools on the same day brought the attention of Sports illustrated the following week.
Both schools were happy to see their schools on the cover of the popular magazine, but it was a little bittersweet to see that they had to share the cover. Mississippi State and Ole Miss had to do a lot of sharing over the course of the next week. They shared the magazine cover, they shared the #3 ranking in the polls, and they shared the headlines.
A big difference though in the two teams was that Mississippi State had a game the following week against the 2nd ranked Tigers of Auburn. The Bulldogs jumped out to an early lead and held on to beat Auburn and claimed the Number 1 ranking in the country. It was a ranking they would hold on to for the next five weeks of the season.
This brought more attention to the leader of the Bulldogs, Dak Prescott. The win over Auburn propelled Prescott to the top of the Heisman Trophy race. And it only made sense for Prescott to be on the following week’s cover of Sports Illustrated.
As the Bulldogs continued to wow the national audience at the top of the polls, more and more accolades came. Hunter S. Thompson, who grew up in Mississippi and went to Ole Miss, is a featured writer for ESPN. They asked him to return to get a pulse of the state as all of this football mania was taking place. When his story appeared, the magazine portion of the sports media giant decided to use Dak Prescott’s Touchdown celebratory pose as the cover of its own magazine.
The two images are favorites of Mississippi State fans. Many of them had both magazine covers framed and placed in their homes or offices. It was a great time to be a Bulldog fan, and we couldn’t have asked for a better representative than Dak Prescott.