Bravo to Tex Maule. I have read with avid interest each year your pro football forecast, and I feel that in the past you have been a bit hasty and sometimes careless in your generalization of each of the divisions. But this year's Pro Football Issue (Sept. 22) was great.
West Hartford, Conn.
I am ashamed of you. Last year Tex Maule's predictions for the Super Bowl were atrocious. This year you are still letting him forecast pro football outcomes. Why don't you let him write on some subject like ostrich racing?
Johnson City, Tenn.
With the possible exception of some of Tex Maule's football predictions, The Last of the Titans (Sept. 22) by Alex Kroll is the funniest piece I've read in years.
JAMES G. CHRISTENSON
There once was a center, Al Kroll
Selected by an All-American poll;
But his talent was later
Found to be greater
As a writer quite artfully droll.
October 5, 1969
TOO MANY KICKS
Professional football has attained a tremendous following and there are always suggestions to improve the game. Field goals have come to play a more important role year after year (A Lot of Kicks Coming, Sept. 22). Green Bay suffered in the past two years with poor field-goal kicking. It is dull to witness a game where there are five field goals and only one touchdown.
My suggestion would be to allow only field-goal attempts in the last two minutes of the second quarter and the final four minutes of the fourth quarter. It is said today that it is a "game of third downs." let's put more excitement into the game and make it a game of third and fourth downs!
GILBERT A. HAGGART
A system should be devised whereby only four completed field goals would be permitted per game. Each would originate from one of four separate zones: 10-20 yards, 20-30, 30-40 and 40-50. The possibilities that would ensue are boundless.
A POINT FOR ACADEME
I have read with anger and growing impatience The Desperate Coach (Aug. 25 et seq.). To put it most kindly, John Underwood seems woefully ill-equipped to deal with what is a very complex subject.
I would question the statement that Underwood quotes from one coach, and that he seems to support—namely, that it is impossible to rate professors because they exist only in their isolated offices, divorced from the "real" world, and indifferent to their students, afraid of life's rougher demands. In short, the type of guy who wouldn't hit. On the other hand, the reader is left to assume that the coach is a hard worker, performing an invaluable task and placing his reputation, competence and manhood on the line every Saturday afternoon. This may or may not be the case, but since an equal number of coaches win and lose every week, it would seem that the most we can say for them is that they bat .500. College professors have to do considerably better. Let us say .800 or .850.
Whether Underwood knows it or not, professors are constantly evaluated both by their peers and by their students. After graduate school, which usually takes eight years to complete, and which weeds out the unqualified and untalented, the real competition lies ahead. One does not get to be a professor without work, integrity and intelligence. As a matter of fact, he doesn't even get tenure automatically, and he must renew his credentials periodically by publishing or giving speeches before learned societies. All of this in addition to his teaching and advisory responsibilities. It might surprise Underwood to learn that not all students run to the athletic staff with their problems. Some of them go to their English or sociology or history professor for advice and encouragement.
I cannot resist pointing out something quite ironic about Underwood's article. While he examines in detail the football situation at the University of Maryland, he fails to mention that the only sport for which the Terrapins are nationally prominent—the only sport in which they have won the national championship within the last 15 years—is lacrosse, and at Maryland the lacrosse coach is none other than John Howard, a well-respected member of the English faculty. If for no other reason than to improve his powers of written expression, Underwood should have consulted Professor-Coach Howard.
MICHAEL F. MEWSHAW
VOTE OF CONFIDENCE
We do not know what ABA owners you are referring to as being dissatisfied with our president, Jim Gardner, but, for sure, the Miami Floridians are certainly not dissatisfied. Jim Gardner is playing the game according to the NBA rules. They initiated this battle by stealing Connie Hawkins. Now that we have decided to fight back, they are hollering foul play.
We think Jim Gardner is doing an excellent job and we are 100% behind him. Jim is exciting, articulate and completely honest, and he can be counted on to keep his word. We are proud of him.
DR. THOMAS F. CARNEY
Thanks for the long overdue article on one of the great young drivers of our day (Hail to King Jackie! Sept. 22). Jackie Stewart represents the new birth of racing enthusiasm and your article was exceedingly timely with the World Championship Grand Prix season opening in this hemisphere.
American interest in motor racing is at an alltime high, especially here in Minnesota. Amateur sports car racing in the Twin Cities not long ago meant a few dozen cars going around pylons on the Met Stadium parking lot. It grew to a seldom-used runway and now, finally, to one of the finest road-racing facilities in the U.S. at Donnybrooke. In fact, another major road course is being planned for this area.
It is time for American road racing to be recognized as a major league sport.
Robert Cantwell's article on sport movies (Sport Was Box-Office Poison, Sept. 15) was somewhat misleading. He failed to mention the good and the excellent ones such as This Sporting Life (Rugby), Champion (Kirk Douglas' boxing movie), Requiem for a Heavyweight (Rod Serling), Body and Soul (John Garfield's classic), Angels in the Outfield (Paul Douglas' comedy), The Fighter, Jim Thorpe—All American (with Burt Lancaster) and the great British film Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. These movies were all better than those Cantwell mentioned because they used sport to gain insight into man's feelings, motivations and shortcomings and showed athletes as real people and not supermen.
If recollection serves me correctly, I fear the otherwise delightful article for both sports and movie bull's by Robert Cantwell was marred by at least one factual error. Mr. Cantwell writes that Lou Gehrig made only one film, called Hawaiian Buckaroo. What about a little gem called Rawhide, in which he cleaned up the local rustlers by picking them off one by one with billiard balls? Maybe Hawaiian Buckaroo became Rawhide before it got to the suburbs.
I am surprised that Mr. Cantwell missed a chance to discuss treatment of sports and crime in such colossal epics as Rackety Rax and 70,000 Witnesses.
A. SPENCER BRAHAM
Falls Church, Va.
NOT SO FAST
In his article on college football (The First 100 Years, Sept. 15) Dan Jenkins says, "There is a saying today that pro football has become the national game, one insinuation being that baseball no longer is...." What is all this talk about baseball being dead? It is true that main of the magic names are gone. The names that meant baseball: Ruth, Gehrig, Cobb, Alexander and Johnson. This loss does not mean the game is dead. Who are they that insist baseball is dead?
They say the game is too long. Where are these people going in such a hurry, anyway? They scoff at the warmups of a relief pitcher, the strategy of manager against manager, the intentional walk. They compare football with baseball. The two games are about as similar as ice cream and onion soup. To say baseball is dead is akin to saving popcorn is out of style, hot dogs have lost their national appeal, the crack of the hat under a warm summer sun is not a satisfying sound and knothole gangs never existed. Maybe these kooks who insist baseball is dead would foster 12 months of football—then eventually kill that. Perhaps they could push bleacher seats to campus riots as an adequate substitute for the game.
What is wrong with being normal? Baseball is normal.
WILLIAM P. HALL
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