I appreciated your story on the Cincinnati Bengals and Paul Brown (No One's Holding These Tigers, Sept. 27). This may not be a Super Bowl year for the Bengals but, certainly, that will come in time.
As for Paul Brown, I listen to his evening sports show on radio as I drive home from work. I hate the drive but I actually look forward to getting in the car and turning on his program. Too bad it is only five minutes long. Brown continually emphasizes two points: 1) that he seeks people who not only possess football skills but who also are clean cut; and 2) that he is dedicated to excellence on the football field, even down to the smallest details.
It's very gratifying to me, especially in this day and age, to hear from someone who has these qualities and is not afraid to reveal them.
Thank you for the fine article, but your picture of Paul Brown told the whole story of the Bengals. Brown has taken mostly unknown kids, backed them up with experienced veterans and put together a winning team. Other teams will have to be more respectful of the Bengals this year.
There is another interesting point about our Bengals. Many people thought that a professional football franchise in Cincinnati could not survive. After last season, though, there should be no doubt. The Bengals drew an average crowd of more than 58,000 (Riverfront Stadium has a normal seating capacity of 56,200) and a total attendance of 407,757 for the seven home games. This is one of the higher attendance marks for the NFL in 1970.
The 1971 season is even more promising. The Bengals have drawn capacity crowds for their three preseason games, and tickets for the regular-season games have been sold out for nearly two months.
We Cincinnatians have an incurable case of Bengal fever—and boy do we love it!
Congratulations are in store again for Dan Jenkins (A Cheerleader Could Run the Team, Sept. 27). He is beginning to cover Notre Dame as if he were inspired from above. I thought only Fighting Irish fanatics like myself knew of our glory days over the Almas and Haskells. Now if we can eliminate Purdue, Michigan State and USC from our schedule, we can play all of our games by ourselves and never suffer another defeat.
Santa Cruz, Calif.
BADGE OF CONFUSION
While I am enormously flattered to be identified in your Oct. 4 issue (She Does a Lot for a Little) as August A. Busch Jr., chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Anheuser-Busch, I feel that those of your readers who might happen to know that Mr. Busch was not near Dallas during the hydroplane race may be somewhat confused.
I am in fact advertising manager of Budweiser beer and Budweiser Malt Liquor. I arrived at the race unexpectedly, and in the absence of August Busch III, our executive vice-president, I was given his pit pass to wear, allowing me to circulate freely in that area while we were shooting a commercial. Your photographer caught me in a moment of deep concentration. If I had known my picture was being taken, I would have assumed a much more pleasant expression, which would be more typical of the real Gussie Busch.
Thanks for a fine article on Miss Budweiser. However, I believe it is a fact that August A. Busch Jr. sees more of the Cardinals than he does of the boat races.
E. F. SCHMIDT
•Obviously it was a case of a birdie in the bush. SI's camera mistook Mr. Schmidt, wearing his honorably borrowed Busch badge, for a Cardinal in hand.—ED.
I congratulate Mark Kram on his interview with Edward Villella (Encounter with an Athlete, Sept. 27). As a rugby footballer I shared Kram's attitude toward the ballet until I married a dancer and began to realize just how close dancing comes to the ultimate in athleticism. Kram has brought this out in painful detail. I hope his article will encourage others to forget their preconceived ideas and to go and see the incredible feats of Villella and the other superathletes of the profession. Be warned, though. Tickets for the ballet are harder to get than tickets for the Super Bowl.
Encounter with an Athlete was one of the best articles SI has ever produced. It's about time a real athlete like Edward Villella was recognized by the sports world. There is more to athletics than massive globs of beef cracking heads on Sundays or out-of-shape baseball players pulling a hamstring muscle on the way to first base.
THOMAS E. BARNES
Royal Oak, Mich.
Your article on Bruno Sammartino (A Little Agony, a Little Ecstasy, Sept. 27) was a million laughs, but aren't you afraid someone might take it seriously? Anyone who has ever witnessed a legitimate, amateur wrestling match soon realizes that the pro version is nothing but a well-rehearsed gymnastics exhibition with a touch of slapstick comedy. The only way one of those jumbo meatheads ever really gets hurt is when he forgets his script and takes a clumsy pratfall or gets a nosebleed when his dancing partner forgets to pull a punch.
WALTER E. STAYROOK JR.
Congratulations and thank you for the article about Bruno Sammartino. It's about time people began to realize that pro wrestlers are athletes. In my opinion, Bruno is the No. 1 athlete.
Like, wow! You have finally gotten to the man so many people in the Pittsburgh area have come to revere and, to a great degree, love—Bruno Sammartino.
Although I am no longer a resident of that area, I still follow the big fellow whenever possible, glad to see a slight glint of honesty come smiling through an otherwise tainted sport. I am sure you could not find a more honest person than Bruno.
Lee Alan Gutkind has done just a little more than write an article.
I read Tex Maule's article Bigger and Better than Ever (Sept. 20) regarding the 1951 Rams vs. the 1971 Cowboys with considerable interest and nostalgia. I must say Maule's description of me aroused my competitive instincts. I am certainly glad he allowed me a baseball bat to use on Bob Lilly, because I carry the biggest bat in the country!
Maule takes many literary liberties in his article. I am sure the Cowboys of 1971 could beat the Rams of 1951 without any trouble. It is also quite likely that very few players of the 1951 era could make the 1971 NFL teams. But the evolution of man since World War II has been supersensational. I don't know if Maule can figure or not, but 20 years is considered a generation. I can recall when I made grandiose statements at service club and high school banquets that Red Grange couldn't even make the Rams' second team in 1951. The fact that Grange had played 20 years earlier and didn't have the advantage of the current-day nutrition, coaching, etc., didn't even enter my mind.
We had a lot of fun in the early '50s, and the memories are wonderful. I remember a slim, aquiline-faced old man named Sammy Baugh who beat the stuffing out of the 1951 Rams in Washington. Bullet Bill Dudley, with broken nose (no face guard) and bloodied, came busting into the middle of the line with direct hand-offs from Baugh. I remember Bones Taylor, 6'4", 190 pounds, catching passes from Baugh. Bulldog Turner, Marion Motley, Len Ford, Lou Creekmur and Doak Walker at 173 pounds broke up so many games I hate to think about it.
Humility, I am sure, is a state of mind that we are apt to achieve with age. However, I think the record will show that the 1950 and '51 Ram teams still hold scoring records. The '51 team gained almost 1,000 yards against the New York Yankee football team.
Los Angeles Rams
The 1951 Ram team had two qualities the Dallas team never has had and will not have in the near future: a topnotch quarterback and team play. In short, Mr. Maule would have reached a more receptive audience had he sent his article to the editors of Letters to Laugh-In.
Tex Maule certainly leads your staff in controversial football articles. This time, though, he has something. I was an avid rooter for the '51 Rams, as I am for the '71 Cowboys, and the data he cites cannot be gain-said. Nevertheless, there is a further important factor in the no-dilution equation: the population/education explosion. A little research on the number of people in the pro football age group in 1971 vis-√†-vis 1951, and the college-attending population of those same periods reveals that there are more than twice as many of these bigger, faster, better-educated kids available for the pros to choose from.
It should be a consolation to any old-timer—and rooters for oldtimers—that progress would have worked for their idols, too. If Andy Robustelli had been born in the '40s instead of the '20s, he would be 6'4" and 255 pounds with one-tenth of a second more speed in the 40.
Griffiss AFB, N.Y.
Please remind Tex Maule that the Dallas Cowboys still don't win the big ones.
TIGHTENING THE REINS
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED hardly told the whole story when only one paragraph (SCORECARD, Sept. 20) was devoted to the investigation of irregularities at Pocono Downs by the Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission. By mentioning only the single 30-day suspension handed to Gaston Guindon you have created the impression that this is all that the Pennsylvania commission has done. This is far from the truth. As the executive secretary of the commission, I have filed criminal charges against three horsemen involved in the irregularities. They have been charged with conspiracy to commit bribery in athletic contests—a charge that carries a penalty of 10 years in jail and a fine of $10,000. I expect to file similar charges against two other people in the near future. In addition, one driver, Clement Poisson, has received a one-year suspension, and 10 other horsemen have received indefinite suspensions. Many of these people will never race again. As for Guindon, he asked for a grant of immunity in return for testifying before the Pennsylvania Crime Commission. Since it was felt that his evidence was necessary and that he was a minor figure in the irregularities, this immunity was granted. He since has made three trips into Pennsylvania to aid the commission in its investigation. He stands ready to testify for us in criminal prosecutions.
JOHN P. COWAN
•The Pennsylvania commission's vigilance is to be applauded. Its plan to ask for criminal prosecution of guilty drivers may stop the scandalous fixing of races at Pocono Downs.—ED.
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