Where was the great spirit of old Notre Dame when Ara settled for that tie (An Upside-clown Game, Nov. 28)? My opinion of the school, its spirit, and Coach Parseghian is infinitely lower after "the game of the decade."
This certainly doesn't exemplify a national champion to me. I feel Michigan State, which played a tougher schedule, deserves the award. If the sportswriters of America feel only a perfect record is permissible, then even Bear Bryant's Alabama is a better choice.
So Duffy Daugherty thinks Michigan State and Notre Dame ought to be 1 and 1A. Well, Michigan State clearly isn't No. 1, since the Spartans couldn't beat Notre Dame even when half of the Irish first-string backfield was not playing. As for Notre Dame's (or at least its coach's) deplorable lack of nerve in the last minute when they ran out the clock instead of trying for victory, the less said the better. More appropriate labels for the teams would be 2 and 4F. Alabama is No. 1!
CHARLES S. REES
Dan Jenkins' article on the Notre Dame-Michigan State game was quite accurate, and I am sure it reflected the feelings of many football fans across the country, but the write-up seemed a little too idealistic. This was not the old game of football where chances are taken and the spirit and enjoyment of the players overrules the odds of the game. It was the practical business of staying on top, where, if one has no pass receivers and the odds are high that the other team will intercept the ball and go all the way for a touchdown, one doesn't pass.
Notre Dame, Ind.
One hates to let his Irish temper flare, but it is all too obvious that the blame for the football world's dissatisfaction with an inconclusive tie score in The Game has unjustly fallen on Ara Parseghian. It is a damn shame that the score was not decisive, but that feeling of emptiness in the nation's football heart that Saturday cannot be filled by a postgame plea for stupid football. Coach Parseghian cannot serve as a psychological outlet! Without an extra period or a sudden death playoff granted by the NCAA, any reasonable football fan has to realize that The Game was only one game in a season of 10, and the national championship will have to be decided in view of that entire season, not by an emotional attack on 90 seconds of strategic football.
Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned from those last six plays and the players who executed them. I suggest a new cover title: SPARTAN DEFENSE HOLDS IRISH SECOND STRING TO ONLY 10 POINTS. In this way you will have placed the right light on Ara Parseghian's decision.
To Dan Jenkins, my only advice is to stay away from Notre Dame for a while. Otherwise he may find out just how "loud and loyal" that student body really is. I sure would hate to see him get hit with one of those national-championship trophies.
JAMES E. MACKIN
Notre Dame, Ind.
As a Notre Dame alumnus I blame the obsolete ruling in both college and pro football that permits ties. Coaches, teams and spectators are never satisfied with such an outcome. A sport as great as football should be played until one team wins. An overtime period of from six to 10 minutes should be played, and if there is still no winner, then a sudden-death period should take place.
The argument that it would put too much strain on the players no longer holds true, since, with the platoon system of substitution, players average only 30 minutes each game. Certainly an additional six to 10 minutes would not harm anyone.
HERMAN L. KRIEGSHAUSER
I think the boys from South Bend should now call themselves "The Tying Irish" and drop that old bit about "fighting."
W. A. CURRY
REALLY GREAT GREATEST
I would like to congratulate you on your excellent article concerning the Clay-Williams fight (The Massacre, Nov. 21). Cassius Clay (or Muhammad Ali) is without doubt the greatest fighter in the history of boxing.
All I hear is how Rocky Marciano would have killed Clay, but I cannot see how. Slowly but surely the American people will realize that Muhammad Ali is the greatest boxer ever to put on gloves.
With all due respect for Cleveland Williams, he has learned that it takes more than talk to defeat Muhammad Ali.
TERRY E. CHISSUS
Congratulations to Robert Cantwell for a fine article on the Canoe River (Riding Down a Dying River, Nov. 21). As an avid white-water canoeist, I am well aware of the fact that many of America's fine streams are being destroyed; but only through articles such as this can the true extent of the crime be shown. Few people realize the enjoyment that can be found by paddling down an unspoiled stream. I hope this article has created a few more supporters for the rapidly growing sport of white-water canoeing.
State College, Pa.
I, too, spent last summer paddling down a magnificent Canadian river which may someday be "damned" by a hydroelectric project. This was the Rupert River in Quebec. Unlike the Canoe River, the Rupert has been an historic route of trappers and traders from way back. At its mouth on the eastern shore of James Bay still stands Rupert House, the oldest Hudson's Bay Company post, established in 1668. The Rupert's course from Lake Mistassini is 300 handsome, wilderness miles of canoeable rapids and spectacular chutes and falls. Along its valley the beaver, once near extinction, were nursed back to healthy numbers by the Cree Indians, many of whom still trap there for a living. I have been taking canoe trips for 25 years and have never found one to match the Rupert.
I write because what is happening to the Canoe and the Rupert needs to be publicized. I have been told that within the next decade or two atomic production of electricity will be as economical as hydroelectric power. If this is true, some of our most picturesque and historic rivers are perhaps being needlessly destroyed.
ABBOTT T. FENN
The other day here in Geneva I picked up a newsstand copy of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and the first article that caught my eye was one entitled "Down with Mary Poppins" (SCORECARD, Oct. 24). My first thought was why should an article of this nature appear in a sports magazine? After I read it, I was convinced that it did not belong there, because it tried to compare Mary Poppins with a couple of professional ballplayers. Using your own sports terminology—Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays do not belong in the same league with Mary.
We have taken our little granddaughter to see the Poppins movie on two different occasions, and I can tell you that she and all the other children who attended left the theater with a happy feeling in their hearts and a memory of Mary Poppins that would not soon be forgotten. I hate to think of the impression these same children would gain by attending a game at the ball park in which Mantle or Mays or any other ballplayer of fame, for that matter, was a participant. The Mantles and Mayses come and go. They build up quite a fortune and reputation for themselves, but I hardly think they will ever influence the lives of children. The Poppins legend, on the other hand, and many others like it are cherished by children during their tender years and exert an influence as they grow up. If you cannot understand this then you must not have any children.
You refer to the Mary Poppins statue as "junk art." I would say that term could be better applied to most of the sports junk you regularly publish in your magazine
WILLIAM A. Bucci
My congratulations on your fine article on Sherrill Headrick (A Stoic's Guide to Pro Football, Nov. 7). He is truly one of the top linebackers in the AFL, and his desire to stay in the ball game even though he is in pain is a good example of the spirit of pro football.
Kansas City, Mo.
Your article on Sherrill Headrick was very good. It brought out his determination and his wonderful sense of humor. I am sure Kansas City would not be as successful without the continuous service of a man who puts the game of football ahead of his own injuries.
SI has some of the finest articles about pro football and its players, but the article on Sherrill Headrick was rather disgusting. Headrick is a good linebacker and may be a pro in other respects, but a real pro is never ashamed to be sidelined because of an injury or an ailment. No man with any common sense would participate in a game with badly broken bones or other serious injuries.
Dan Jenkins' description of Texas A&M as simply a "grim-looking military school" (A Sane Conclusion in a Cockeyed Conference, Nov. 7) shows a lack of both investigation and intelligence on his part. To be sure, A&M is the greatest source of reserve officers in the nation, but Mr. Jenkins has overlooked several other rather significant factors. Located on the A&M campus are one of the nation's most modern nuclear reactors and the newest type of cyclotron yet developed. Also located here are NASA's research headquarters, the state's most efficient data-computer center, a school of architecture considered one of the best in the nation and a school of veterinary medicine deemed to be the finest in the South and Southwest.
Had Mr. Jenkins taken a closer look at the Aggie alums who attend A&M games, he would have discovered not only Texas county agents who have "crawled out of their offices" but executives of Gulf Oil, Texaco, Southwestern Bell, Texas" largest banks and power companies, the Texas Highway Department, numerous doctors and lawyers and several members of the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as an impressive number of military personnel.
DAVE E. GRAHAM
Perhaps it would be wise to have "General" Honor Fitzpatrick (LETTER FROM MIL PUBLISHER, NOV. 7) work with associate editors such as Dan Jenkins to encourage them to avoid being obnoxious in their writing and reporting. Texas A&M has a better physical plant, teaching staff and administration than the majority of universities in this country. Aggie jokes generally are told by non-Aggies who are envious of the Aggie spirit—a tangible and awe-inspiring thing not evident in any other university or college.
ALAN R. DUKE
Dan Jenkins' article insults A&M as an educational institution and it casts a reflection on its many distinguished graduates. The Aggies may have crawled out of the woodwork to go to College Station to see their football team soundly trounced by a fine Arkansas squad, but that night Dan Jenkins was the only termite in Kyle Field.