Finally you came through (Black and Gold Soul with Italian Legs, Dec. 11)! All season I have been waiting for an article on the exciting new Pittsburgh Steelers and their tremendous runner, Franco Harris.
I was also glad to see your recognition of the Pittsburgh fans. During the season these enthusiastic people have definitely aided the Steelers in their seven home games. On a recent Monday night Howard Cosell, Don Meredith and Frank Gifford repeatedly referred to Miami's "great" fans. I couldn't help but laugh. What city wouldn't support a winner? The Steelers have been losers for 40 years but still the people have turned out. These are great fans in every sense of the word.
Miami has gone undefeated in regular-season play because of its weak division, but wait until the AFC championship game. This is the Pittsburgh Steelers' year and there's no stopping them now.
Slippery Rock, Pa.
Thank you for the article. Larry Csonka, John Brockington, Larry Brown and O.J. Simpson are all great runners, but they're going to have to take a back seat to Franco Harris, the best runner to come along since Jimmy Brown—a fair comparison, since he has already tied Brown's record of six 100-yard games in a row. This is truly remarkable considering that he didn't become a regular starter until the sixth game. Also remarkable is his average gain per carry (5.6 yards), the best in the American Conference. Brown averaged 5.2 yards a try. Franco will run away with Rookie-of-the-Year honors, but he also gets my vote for Most Valuable Player. He deserves it.
Ellwood City, Pa.
Re Ron Reid's comment, "Would you believe the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl?": in one word, no!
JAMES H. GREENWOOD
I enjoyed your article on Franco Harris and the Pittsburgh Steelers very much, but I question your statement calling Harris "the certain Rookie of the Year." I suggest Chester Marcol, the star kicker of the Green Bay Packers. He has made the Packers tick.
"To put it in a kit bag, all the Packers can do this year is smile, smile, smile" (SI, Sept. 18, page 57).
Now that the Pack has destroyed the Detroit Lions and the Minnesota Vikings to win another division championship, you had better believe we will smile, smile, smile here in Green Bay.
Better luck to your forecasters in the 1973 season!
Thank you for mentioning my election to the Minnesota House of Representatives (PEOPLE, Dec. 4). Your report, however, had me supporting "regional government as opposed to the purely municipal variety." Actually, my position is the reverse. I believe that the government closest to the people is, in most instances, the best.
I have been an avid reader of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED since its inception. I appreciate the fine coverage you accorded my father during his time with the Green Bay Packers and Washington Redskins.
VINCENT H. LOMBARDI
St. Louis Park, Minn.
BIGGEST OF THE BIG TEN
Your article on Big Ten basketball (Up, Up and Away in the Big Ten, Dec. 11) was good except for one thing. Must you constantly refer to what happened last Jan. 25 in the game between Ohio State and Minnesota? The only reason the incident is destined to continue to stay with the Gophers is that guys like your Curry Kirkpatrick refuse to let it die.
The Gophers are the best team in college basketball and they can prove it on the court. The Gopher fans are also the best in the world and they can prove it in Williams Arena. If you don't believe it, just come and see.
Bravo and hats off to Don DeLillo for his all-encompassing article about CJ (Total Loss Weekend, Nov. 27). He must have been looking into my living room for the past 15 years. However, he left out three elements vital to football viewing: a third TV set (the use of which is too complicated to explain here), a lucky green golf cap to be worn only when a field goal is needed late in the game to beat the points, and the secret for determining which team is going in which direction on which TV set.
Keep up the good work.
I truly hope that nongambling SI readers were able to appreciate CJ's total-loss weekend as much as the reading members of the gambling fraternity. Don DeLillo's underlying thesis, also employed frequently by Ernest Hemingway, is that without a negative, positive doesn't exist. One must feel loss at some time in order to savor victory at another.
The part about how CJ stopped smoking was hilarious. And DeLillo's style fed it to his eager audience in perfect mouthfuls. Thank you for an amusing reflection on the "action" man's weekend.
CJ lost only his money, I lost my freedom on a wager. Some years ago the underdog Vikings were in an almost impossible situation with little time left. Certain that I couldn't win, I told my girl Edna that if I won the bet, I would marry her. Not only did they win by the points, they won the whole game.
On my wedding day, my bookie wired me: "Congratulations—you picked two winners today, the Celtics and your wife." At least he mentioned the Celtics first.
I found the article very interesting. It shows the foolishness of betting and the lack of self-control. It might just help people with betting problems.
One of the most enjoyable articles I have ever read. Anyone who has ever played the weekly football cards (for fun and amusement only, of course) must have felt sympathy for the luckless gambler described by Don DeLillo. One wonders, though, if modern-day coaches won't soon be preaching the following words of advice to their athletes before the big game: "Remember...it's not whether you win or lose, but whether you beat the point spread."
HULL, HAIR AND THE WHA
In regard to Mark Mulvoy's article The Golden Jet Is Earning His Gold (Nov. 27), he did a good job of making me hate Bobby Hull. Just because Hull has trouble keeping hair on his head doesn't mean he has to take it out on his fellow Jets by telling them he wants no longhairs on the team. What influence does hair have on the player's ability in this sport? Some of hockey's greatest stars have long hair: Derek Sanderson, for one, and even the greatest, Bobby Orr, is growing his hair. Bobby Hull used to be my favorite sports figure (I even liked him better than Joe Namath), but now he can go jump in a lake of hair-growing tonic for all I care.
Bobby Hull is a great, great hockey player, but the WHA is something else again. I have seen a couple of games and also watched some on TV. There are several good Massachusetts high school teams, like Norwood, Lexington, Maiden Catholic or Arlington that could spot the opposition several goals and beat any team in the WHA. Talk about over-the-hill gangs!
EUGENE H. CLAPP
Wellesley Hills, Mass.
Regarding your item in SCORECARD, "Langwidge in Action" (Nov. 27), I believe you slipped. The Worshenen Senniners are now obsolete. Don't you remember? They became the Tegzuz Renjes.
In the many years since I became a charter subscriber to SI, I have often felt compelled to write to you, either to commend you for something I liked very much or to castigate you for arousing my vehement anger. Until now my congenital laziness has prevailed, and you have therefore been deprived of or spared my comments.
Thomas McGuane, with his deliciously delightful story about Molly (Gundog Molly, Folly and Me, Dec. 4), has succeeded where all others have failed. I just had to let you and Mr. McGuane know how thankful I am for this rare gem of writing. My 2-year-old German shorthaired pointer sat in wonderment while I laughed out loud at the exploits of his soul mate Molly. My dog has been known to masterfully point a hypnotized rabbit and later sit down to rest not live feet from a pheasant—and not bat an eye when the bird flushed.
For anyone who has ever tried to train his own bird dog, Mr. McGuane has turned all the frustration and despair into joyful hilarity.
RICHARD C. SLAMA
ONE MAN'S MEAT...
It invariably happens. Whenever you feature articles pertaining to little-known or perhaps controversial subjects, irate readers write to demand immediate subscription cancellations. The most recent examples came in the Dec. 4 issue in answer to your article on the coon hunt (Yo Yo Yo, Rowa Uh Rowa, Hru Hru, Nov. 13). More often, luscious young beauties attired in the latest scanty swimsuits enrage your readers. If any subject is offensive to a reader, so be it—each individual is entitled to an opinion. But shouldn't any repulsion, anger or dissatisfaction be directed at the act itself, rather than at its disclosure?
Censorship is a dominant force in our society; I'm not sure we need another dose in your magazine. Please continue to report on the sporting world as it is and, if you wish, how you think it should be. I won't like everything you publish, but then I don't think you insist I do.
S.R. CROUCH JR.
I congratulate you for the article on coon hunting. It was a fine portrayal of a fine sport. May I set those so-called humanitarians straight? If we don't hunt and kill a few raccoons, they will overpopulate and overrun America. If they don't raid the cornfields when they overpopulate, they will starve. If they do raid the cornfields, well, there won't be much corn. Then how will those who think of themselves as humanitarians feel?
In the meantime this sport, while being enjoyed, is keeping the raccoon population down, although a lot of the time, at least in my case, we let the raccoons go after they are treed. So don't knock this fine sport. And by the way, the money people pay for hunting permits is used for the animal's welfare, and I'll bet this doubles the money those self-righteous humanitarians raise.
JOHN CLATTERBUCK JR.
By now the Baltimore City Council may be regretting its suggestion to place "speed bumps" on its residential streets to reduce speed and prevent drag racing (SCORECARD, Nov. 27). I know of two places where this panacea was tried, and the authorities responsible have yet to live it down. In one, the bumps were finally removed in the face of overwhelming local hostility.
Speed bumps are another case of punishing the majority for the misdeeds of a few. Just try driving over one of them at the usually safe speed of 20 mph. The next time you will find it necessary to stop, put the car into first and ease over the barrier at perhaps three mph. If your house happens to be on a street equipped with speed bumps, you will soon discover shaky mufflers, chipped teeth and hemorrhoids developing. As for cycling enthusiasts, they had better get off their bikes and walk over.
West Linn, Ore.
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