It really warmed my heart to read Tex Maule's article Tomorrow's Generals (Feb. 15). I'm not a Cowboy fan, but it is evident that Gil Brandt, Maule's source, knows what he is talking about when it comes to evaluating pro material. Archie Manning is the best young pro prospect, and that's a fact.
Here in Mississippi we've known all along that Archie is good, but to have him made a Saint in our lifetime is enough to boggle the mind.
How dare Gil Brandt say that Archie Manning is a better quarterback than Jim Plunkett! Jim played 10 times tougher opponents for three years and came through without a scratch, while Archie played Puff State and the like and got hurt.
Mr. Brandt should be scouting girls' sewing circles—or else he needs glasses.
Santa Ana, Calif.
The order of the draft shows that Jim Plunkett is the No. 1 college quarterback.
ROBERT C. JOHNSON
Menlo Park, Calif.
All right, Tex Maule, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. I'll assume that the only reason Cleveland's Mike Phipps was left off the list of top young quarterbacks is because those who were listed are only "prospects" for stardom. Phipps is a certainty for stardom.
The only thing that will hold Mike Phipps out of the Cleveland backfield next year will be a "full" Nelson (and maybe not even that).
Fort Wayne, Ind.
Thank you for your recognition of Dennis Shaw, the NFL's Rookie of the Year and quarterback for the Buffalo Bills. Shaw truly possesses all the natural talent, confidence and leadership needed to become a superstar. We who have followed Dennis through his first professional season have little doubt that he will be tomorrow's general.
I fail to understand the emphasis placed on speed by Gil Brandt in rating quarterbacks when the best in the game today has trouble walking up stairs—Joe Namath.
JOSEPH M. BUCZ
The ridiculous thing about the whole article is that Tex Maule bases his statements on the judgment of Gil Brandt, chief scout of the Dallas Cowboys. As the old saying goes, "If you are so damn smart, why aren't you rich?" Of the 26 teams in the NFL, Dallas ranks about 26th, quarterbackwise.
PARTISANSHIP IN CALIFORNIA
As partisan Bruin alumni and basketball fanatics, we enjoyed reliving the UCLA-USC game via Joe Jares' article Camille Goes Under Again (Feb. 15). Sidney Wicks and Curtis Rowe were as devastating as you say, and John Wooden is the Man of the Year—any year!
MARVIN and JUDY MAIZLISH
Palos Verdes Peninsula, Calif.
A tip of the hat to Joe Jares on his excellent recap of the latest UCLA-USC set-to. I would be remiss, however, not to point out an omission. Kenny Booker, the Bruins' unsung fifth man, had the outstanding game of his career at UCLA. His timely outside shooting and fine overall defensive play were important and somewhat unexpected keys to the Bruin victory. You ran a full-page color shot of Sidney Wicks and another Bruin crashing the boards. That "other Bruin" is the oft-overlooked Kenny Booker.
San Luis Obispo, Calif.
I congratulate UCLA for its victory over USC. But I know that USC still has the best basketball team in the country. The rest of the world will find out when these two teams meet again on March 13.
PRIDE OF NEW YORK
Credit Larry Keith (Love Story on Rose Hill, Feb. 15) for an excellent feature on one of the finest and most unheralded college basketball teams in the nation today—the Fordham Rams. Led by Coach Dick Phelps and Tri-captains Charlie Yelverton, Bill Mainor and John Burik, the Rams, now 20-1, are one of the most exciting teams to come out of this section of the country in years. All of New York and the East are proud of them.
Bellows Falls, Vt.
Frank Deford's portrayal of San Francisco Warrior Owner Franklin Mieuli (Will Franklin Mieuli Spoil Success? Feb. 15) reveals not only an "erratic, bearded and bizarrely dressed madman," but also a person who is not afraid to believe. It is unfortunate that there is only one of him in the NBA because it wouldn't hurt the other owners to learn how to dream, too.
ROD N. EASON
You say that Mieuli lost $900,000 with the Warriors but that he is against expansion or merger. Before judging Mieuli, I think everyone should take a look at what expansion is doing to the NBA this season. As I write, Buffalo is 17-46 and 23 games out of the lead in the Atlantic Division; Cleveland is 11-53 and 25½ games back in the Central Division; and Portland is 21-39 and 15½ games back in the Pacific Division. These three teams have diluted the strength of the older teams and downgraded the quality of NBA play. Merger and a common draft with the ABA would be disastrous. The top talent would be so diluted that all pro-quality players would be gone by the second or third rounds. The NBA could become a collection of rinky-dink clubs.
Hats off to Mieuli for trying to preserve good play in the NBA.
My answer to your question is yes. Franklin Mieuli will spoil success if he is allowed to continue in the erratic, eccentric and illogical manner in which he conducts himself and his franchise. He is also liable to forfeit more than he has already lost.
SIXTY-MINUTE BASKETBALL (CONT.)
People who object (19TH HOLE, Feb. 8) to SCORECARD'S suggested 60-minute game do not realize how stereotyped pro basketball has become. It's run, run, run, deliberate foul, grab, push, shove and then a hook for two points by someone like Lew Alcindor. The critics claim that longer games would destroy the balance of the sport and starting players would be forced to play longer and thus be exposed to more chances for injury. I believe there are enough good players to fill 60 minutes. Many good pros do not get enough playing time today. Cazzie Russell and Dave Stallworth of the Knicks play only 10 or 20 minutes a game, and they are two of the most exciting players in the league. If everything works out next year, Seattle will have to find time for Spencer Haywood, Bob Rule, Don Kojis, Don Smith, Pete Cross, Tom Meschery and Tom Black. Most rookies do not get a real chance, and ride the bench while their games and confidence suffer.
What's more, the season could be shortened by 10 or 15 games. The roster could be increased. The 24-second clock could be a 36-second clock. The zone defense could be legalized. Strategy could be better employed. More angles of attack would be used. They should do something about Alcindor, too. When and if he gets that skyhook down, he'll shoot 90%, average 50 points a game, and the Bucks will win with Lew and their ball boys.
The 60-minute game plus other innovations could make pro ball an art form and not just 10 players running around on a court. It's worth a try.
La Crosse, Wis.
I was deeply distressed by your Feb. 8 TV TALK analysis of the networks' treatment of the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl Comedy Hour was intended to be a light-hearted spoof, and many of us who regrettably lack Frank Deford's sophistication managed to find it enjoyable. As to the actual game coverage: in my opinion Curt Gowdy and associates performed quite adequately. The broadcast was, after all, designed as entertainment for an international audience, not as a Monday morning coaches' critique of every player blunder or poor choice of strategy.
Everyone I talked to thought The Super Bowl Comedy Hour was one of the funniest shows they had seen this year. They did not think it "trite and witless." But the real criticism I have is for Mr. Deford's failure to comprehend a great documentary of a truly fantastic man, Vince Lombardi. I thought it was a real insight into Lombardi as a coach and as a man.
I hope in the future Mr. Deford covers something more in his line, like the national Ping-Pong championship.
Notre Dame, Ind.
Speaking of TV sports announcers, how could Frank Deford possibly call Al DeRogatis the "best football man NBC has"? On the contrary, I think he ranks as one of the alltime worst, rivaled only by John Sauer. Rather than giving the viewer the facts along with some interesting anecdotes, Al consistently bores the viewer with his predictions of the upcoming play.
It is high time that announcers stopped pretending that their knowledge of the game is vastly superior to that of the regular fan and started sticking to the facts. Let the fan analyze them for himself.
I enjoyed Tex Maule's incisive analysis of the old AFL and NFL teams (Goodby to the Alka-Seltzer and Aspirin Bowl, Feb. 1). It reminds me of another analysis he did before the 1969 Super Bowl between New York and Baltimore. As I recall, there was no way the Jets could possibly win that contest. According to Mr. Maule, the Colts were clearly and logically superior because the NFL was clearly and logically superior, just as his latest article shows that it is still far superior.
Tex Maule is right again. Only two old NFL representatives could have produced such a mediocre Super Bowl.
State College, Pa.
Tex Maule saw his beloved NFL decisively thrashed in two Super Bowls. Then he saw his beloved Cowboys dumped in the Super Bore. We AFL fans should have expected his NFL boasting after the Pro Bowl. After all of his heartbreaks, Tex is entitled to blow a little smoke.
Stevens Point, Wis.
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