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Eagles Fans catch a break: counting down the list of all-time Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover winners…

Changing pace after the previous football-heavy blurb, we deserve a break… the annual Sports Illustrated “Swimsuit Model” edition has been revealed:

Kate Upton gets the nod as the 2012 SI Swimsuit Cover Girl… a 19-year-old Victoria’s Secret model from Florida via Michigan, Kate joins an impressive list of previous winners roughly equivalent to our own “First Poster” list of heroes…

I always thought the annual SI Swimsuit Issue was somewhat frivolous, an obvious attempt by Madison Avenue to fill in the void of pro sports between the Super Bowl and the Opening Day of major league baseball…

Now I see it differently… it is an annual event celebrating Renewal… the advent of a new NFL football season! Today the SI Swimsuit Issue dovetails beautifully with the NFL Scouting Combine which has become a religious retreat of sorts for serious NFL and Eagles fans… and the publication also foreshadows the Free Agency signing season, too.

It wasn’t always like that.

The swimsuit issue was invented by Sports Illustrated editor Andre Laguerre in 1963 to fill the winter months, a typically slow point in the sporting calendar then. He asked fashion reporter Jule Campbell to go on a shoot to fill space, including the cover, with a beautiful model. The first issue, released in 1964, entailed a cover featuring Babette March and a five-page layout. Jule Campbell soon became a powerful figure in the modeling industry and molded the issue into a media phenomenon by featuring “bigger and healthier” California women and printing the names of the models with their photos, beginning a new supermodel era.

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Babette March, the very first “first poster” in 1964…

To many, the magazine is an acceptable exhibition of female health and sexuality not out of place on a coffee table. Recent editions have mixed the modeling with a tribute to sportsmen and sportswomen. The swimsuit edition is controversial with both moralists who subscribe for sports news content as well as those who feel that the focus on fashion and swimsuit modeling is inappropriate for a sports magazine. Also feminists have expressed that “the Swimsuit Issue promotes the harmful and dehumanizing concept that women are a product for male consumption.” Subscriptions have been canceled by some subscribers when it arrives. The 1978 edition, remembered for its fishnet bathing suit made famous by Cheryl Tiegs, resulted in 340 cancellations. Sports Illustrated itself makes the controversy a form of entertainment, with the issue two weeks after the swimsuit edition packed with complainants such as shocked parents and troubled librarians. Recently, the number of cancellations has declined. Nonetheless, to avoid controversy, Sports Illustrated has, since 2007, offered its subscribers the option of skipping the swimsuit edition for a one issue credit to extend their subscription by a week.

But of course, as an Eagles fan (who is somewhat obsessive-compulsive by nature—“Yeah, this is the year, gonna do it this year, it’s a 1949 Buick Roadmaster… Straight 8… Fireball 8… Only 8,985 production models… Dad lets me drive slow on the driveway… But not on Monday, definitely not on Monday…”), I am more concerned with how many “first posts” these gals have racked up.

Getting the SI cover shot is like the ultimate “first comment post” on any Eagles blurb, whether it be here or on Dave Spadaro’s “On The Inside” or on any of the top-rated Eagles fan sites.  It’s a great way to establish your brand on current events and to be remembered for the time period being commented upon…

So I thought it would be fitting to list the most prolific “first posters” or home-run hitters of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue legacy:

Most covers by model…

Model Number of covers: issues
Elle Macpherson 5: 1986, 1987, 1988, 1994, 2006
Christie Brinkley 3: 1979, 1980, 1981
Kathy Ireland 3: 1989, 1992, 1994
Cheryl Tiegs 3: 1970, 1975, 1983
Daniela Pestova 3: 1995, 2000, 2006
Paulina Porizkova 2: 1984, 1985
Tyra Banks 2: 1996, 1997
Rachel Hunter 2: 1994, 2006
Rebecca Romijn 2: 1999, 2006
Elsa Benitez 2: 2001, 2006
Yamila Diaz-Rahi 2: 2002, 2006
Veronica Varekova 2: 2004, 2006
Carolyn Murphy 2: 2005, 2006

The chronological list of “first post” cover model “home run hitters”…

Interesting to note, Beyonce Knowles was on the cover but a mere 5 years ago!— I had already forgotten that! And look at the multiple consecutive year reigns of gals like Elle Macpherson, Paulina Porizkova and Christie Brinkley! Kinda reminds you of the posting dynasties of guys like Brizer, JB99, and DDD, doesn’t it?

Eagles trivia note: Who was the Eagles QB the year when the first SI Swimsuit Cover Issue was released?
                         Answer:  In 1964, it was Norm Snead—he completed 138 of 283 pass attempts for 1,906 yards, 14 TD’s and
                                      12 INT’s…a 48.8% completion percentage…Eagles finished 6-8…Head coach was Joe Kuharich…
                                      Total Home attendance at Franklin Field was 420,061…

Thomas Jackson

About Thomas Jackson

Jax Sports Media has been reporting on NFL teams in the mid-Atlantic region since 2006. Thomas Jackson is its senior writer. Tom started covering the Philadelphia Eagles for the MVN Network in 2007. In 2009 he joined the Bloguin Network. He now also covers the Baltimore Ravens.

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