I have had it! All the sportswriters and sportscasters called the Super Bowl a comedy of errors. You called it the Blunder Bowl (Eleven Big Mistakes, Jan. 25). Admittedly both teams made mistakes, but it was the defenses that caused the mistakes. For anyone who likes defensive battles this one topped them all. I thought it was a great game.
Besides, who could ask for a more dramatic ending to a football game? Unless, of course, George Blanda plays for your favorite team.
Good defense always beats good offense. Correction, great defense. The Dallas running game, which destroyed San Francisco's much-publicized front four, was held to little more than 100 yards. Duane Thomas gained more than that himself against the 49ers.
CHARLES P. SCHEELER
I can't imagine why any knowledgeable fan, including your expert, can't give praise and justice where it belongs. The Baltimore defense is the greatest.
DR. R. JAMES VASSAR
February 8, 1971
Tex Maule has managed to overlook one of the finest defensive football games ever played—fine to the point of making both offensive teams completely ineffective—just to get his literary kicks.
JAMES A. RYLAND
Your article had the wrong title. It should have been named Twelve Big Mistakes. The 12th mistake was Tex Maule's article.
Tex Maule was justified in emphasizing the slapstick quality of the Super Bowl, but I think he failed to give positive credit where it was due. The Colts and Cowboys reached the Super Bowl primarily because of their defenses. Their offenses were average, at best. The mistakes were the natural outgrowth of these pairings.
I never thought I would see an NFL championship game in which neither team deserved to win. A football team that fumbles the ball away four times in a championship game and throws it away three times on interceptions does not deserve to win, and neither does a team that picks up only one touchdown from its opponents' seven miscues—and fumbles on the goal line.
I suppose this Stupor Bowl will be called "a great defensive battle," but to me it was more like two old ladies fighting feebly over an elastic girdle marked down in price.
I enjoyed Tex Maule's excellent article, but I must take issue with his reference to the two teams as "the pro game's finest." The best teams were watching on television because of the owners' money-hungry decision to break up the league into six divisions. Minnesota played one flat game. The Lions ran into one great day of Cowboy defense. The Rams, with a backbreaking schedule, paid the penalty of the owners' design. And so on.
Let's get rid of the six divisions, the "wild card" teams, the Mickey Mouse games. Two leagues are O.K., but let the teams with the best records play for the championship.
DAVID W. ELLIS
If any team in an NFL championship game in previous years had made the mistakes the Colts did, they would have lost by at least 30 points. And I cannot recall any team that was ever in the finals that was as offensively inept as Dallas.
P. WHITTINGTON WHITESIDE
No one has mentioned a second opportunity Baltimore had in the third quarter to kick a field goal. O'Brien missed a 52-yarder that was wide but almost long enough. Widby kicked out, and Gardin caught it on the Dallas 48 and tried to run with it. If he had signaled for a fair catch Baltimore could have elected to try a free kick. O'Brien would have had a 48-yard try with no worries or irritation. But rarely in modern football does a team take advantage of this provision in the rules for a free kick after a fair catch.
EDWARD J. (DOC) STOREY
Sandy Treadwell (Give Lefty a V, a V and..., Jan. 25) should bone up on his researching. He infers that Maryland has the best freshman team in the country this year. I'd put the UCLA freshman squad up against anybody. Maryland may have Tom McMillen, but UCLA has 6'10½" Bill Walton, a red-haired ball of fire with immense all-round ability.
Costa Mesa, Calif.
The outstanding freshman team is here at the University of Dayton. We have the best pair of freshman guards in the country in Donald Smith and Jack Kill.
THE FLOOR OF 500 NORTH
I was amazed at your foolish endorsement (SCORECARD, Jan. 18) of the suggestion to lengthen the time of National Basketball Association games to 60 minutes. It was stated that average games "run well under two hours" and that a longer game could produce "greater concession and radio-TV revenues." Do you honestly think that the average fan cares about the league picking up a few extra bucks? The delicate balance of an attractive sport should not be ruined just for television.
As for the argument that longer games would help the coaches and players because there would be more playing time for substitutes, this is the most ridiculous statement of all. NBA teams have lost much of their depth because of expansion and the conflict with the ABA. The high quality of NBA basketball would deteriorate if substitutes had to play more than they do now.
I say this idea may be fine for the television zombies who need only sit and watch as the players sweat it out for 12 minutes more than they are actually supposed to. It may also be good for the money-hungry radio and TV stations. But there are only so many players allowed on a team roster. Longer games mean greater chances for more players to get hurt. As it is, when a player is tired he is taken out and replaced, so it is still a team sport. Under the 60-minute rule a team that is behind will have to keep its starters in there longer than necessary. Then it will not be a team sport. This idea will only work with exceptional teams with strong benches, but the weaker teams won't have a chance.
I believe this type of modification would only be detrimental to the game of basketball.
In regard to your article We Have a Neurotic in the Backfield, Doctor (Jan. 18), I agree with Drs. Ogilvie and Tutko that adversaries cannot be friends while on the field, but I disagree with them about the character-building potential of sports. I believe sports can be very beneficial to a person's character if they are handled correctly.
The first thing that must be eliminated is the win-at-all-costs ethic. Winning is good, but not if by winning all you do is over-inflate the already inflated egos of the coach and the superior athletes while those on the bench suffer. You have to form a balance where all players on the team develop a sense of camaraderie and teamwork. In this way you make the inferior athlete feel like he is contributing to the team and also somewhat suppress the overinflated ego of the superior athlete. The only way to achieve this balance is to allow all players to participate in games regardless of talent.
I realize that this would not be practical in professional sports, but I think that on a college or high school level and below, this would not only be practical but desirable.
JOHN L.J. HORVATH
Joe Jares' article about the psychological hang-ups of athletes was absolutely outstanding. I am a high school swimmer, and I often get depressed when I do not attain my goals. I continually dream of athletic stardom, and I always try to analyze my psyche to see if I am in the right state of mind for practices and meets. After reading Jares' article I would like to turn my case over to "The Shrinks." Please send me the address.
Please extend my heartfelt sympathy to all the coaches and future coaches of America. If this movement takes any kind of a lead, we're all in big trouble. Is there no room left for creativity and individual thought?
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