Behold the power of media. Sports Illustrated has long been known as much for their covers as their content, and as the world exceedingly goes digital, the old relics of newspapers and magazines need more ways to be relevant.

I mean, come on, if not for newspapers, what would the New Yorkers have shredded up to toss out their skyscraper windows during the U.S. Soccer World Cup parade?

While SI has done a good job paddling as hard as possible the last few years in the sink-or-swim world of online media, the magazine still has cache, and the cover—curse or otherwise—still matters.

The cover matters so much SI created a fake one the day after the U.S. women won the World Cup, billing it a special “digital” cover that was simply an amazing photo of the trophy being hoisted with the SI logo on top of it.

These covers, however, are real. And they’re spectacular.

Here are some thoughts on the few that stand out the most when perusing the entire group of photos, posted at SI.com.

– The group shot includes Carli Lloyd, Hope Solo, Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach, Becky Sauerbrunn, Julie Johnston and Megan Rapinoe, seven of the most influential and popular players to come out of the FIFA World Cup tournament. Notice Sydney Leroux is not in the group shot, as she went from an absolute star on a team full of stars to a bench player as the tournament went along. No Leroux and two center backs? I did not see that coming.

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Via Sports Illustrated

– It’s also worth noting that Morgan Brian wasn’t asked to be in the shot. If not for her insertion into the lineup, Lloyd may not have been in position to become the great American hero she is, and we might not be staring at 25 different covers today.

– Is the rest of the team on the inside flap? Do magazines still have inside flaps? I haven’t read one in a while.

– Only two players—Leroux and Tobin Heath—were photographed kissing the trophy. How many players kissed it in shots that weren’t used? I bet most of them.

More importantly, has the trophy been sanitized lately? I imagine there have been a lot of kisses on that thing over the last week. Eh, alcohol probably kills any germs. Right?

– Jill Ellis, the much maligned manager who shut up the entire world with the U.S. victory in Canada, has her own cover. She should hold it up and point to it the next time one of us question her tactics.

– Abby Wambach is the only player on the team not looking at the camera. She’s probably checking out the playing surface, just in case a game breaks out.

– Most of the team is holding the trophy in one form or another that wonderfully echoes their personality. Kelley O’Hara is hugging the trophy tightly, Alex Morgan is laughing while carrying the trophy and Rapinoe is casually holding it with one hand like she’s about to serve it to an unsuspecting table of dinner guests. Best. Dinner. Party. Ever.

– Only two players are holding the trophy like something other than a trophy: Julie Johnston is playing it like a guitar and Christie Rampone is holding it like a baby. See, because she’s a mom.

– My favorite might be back-up keeper Alyssa Naeher who is holding the trophy like “I AM ALSO ON THIS TEAM LOOK I HAVE THE TROPHY IN MY HANDS WHAT DID YOU DO THIS SUMMER COUSIN JUDY WHO EVERYONE ALWAYS TALKS ABOUT AT CHRISTMAS, I BET YOU DID NOTHING.”

That’s totally how I’d hold the trophy too. JUDY.

– Last, on a totally serious note, I think it’s worth pointing out that SI has just released 25 covers featuring amazing women that everyone in America is talking about…and none of them are in body paint.

Congrats, SI. Print’s not dead after all.

About Dan Levy

Dan Levy has written a lot of words in a lot of places, most recently as the National Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. He was host of The Morning B/Reakaway on Sirius XM's Bleacher Report Radio for the past year, and previously worked at Sporting News and Rutgers University, with a concentration on sports, media and public relations.