Wham! Bam! The famed SI whammy strikes again. It never ceases to amaze me. How can you run feature articles on teams like Notre Dame (Right Man in the Right Place, Sept. 30) and Oklahoma State (Those Other Bullies in Oklahoma), and then have them both be defeated by such powerhouses as Purdue and Baylor? As a stouthearted University of Oklahoma football fan, I beg you to steer your typewriters and cameras away from Norman for the remainder of the football season.
I may start my own magazine, and put you on the cover.
O. D. STUTZMAN
Chula Vista, Calif.
As long as you are discussing the Heisman Trophy, I will, too. Tom Clements may win the trophy but he will win on reputation, not ability, as might Anthony Davis, Pat Haden, David Humm or others. But the man who really deserves to win the coveted award probably will not. The man I am speaking of is Sonny Collins of the University of Kentucky. In 1973 Collins gained 1,213 yards rushing on 224 carries, but when the All-America selections came out, you didn't hear about Collins. Stories are written about players with a reputation and not the ones with true ability like Collins!
It was only fitting. Notre Dame, the 1973 national champions—and fourth-best team in the Midwest (after Ohio State, Michigan and Oklahoma)—followed another of its old traditions, losing to Purdue. The loss could hardly be construed as unexpected. Purdue, coming off a 7-7 tie with Miami of Ohio and a 28-14 loss to Wisconsin, would have to be one of the Irish's most formidable opponents. Take heart Irish fans. If your team can manage to beat a couple of second-rate teams by more than 40 points the sports media undoubtedly will say that this year's team ranks right up there with all of the great "Tying Irish" teams of the past. They'd probably be right.
October 13, 1974
Wasn't it SPORTS ILLUSTRATED that picked General Custer over Sitting Bull for the Heisman Trophy? Why don't you do the country a favor and do an article on the Arab oil nations. Please do Notre Dame a favor and let "tradition" take care of itself.
MICHAEL J. OBRINGER
I would like to ask Frank Deford (Heirs of Judge Landis, Sept. 30) a question concerning his bed fashions.
Mr. Deford, do you sleep in the raw?
East Lansing, Mich.
•Nude in the summer, nightshirt in winter, pajamas on the road.—ED.
RAGS TO RICHES
In his story (Out One Hand and in the Other, Sept. 30) Dan Jenkins refers to the Patriots as the "New England Peasants." He states that the Dolphins were "preoccupied" that sunny Sunday. Having had the pleasure of being one of the 50,000 Pat fans at Schaefer Stadium who witnessed the beating the world champs took, and also being in attendance when the "Peasants" defeated the L.A. Rams, I can truthfully say that the New Englanders outplayed their opponents in both games.
I suggest that when speaking of the New England Patriots in the future Jenkins should use words like "superb" and "tremendous." And—at the very least—admit that we have vastly improved.
Granted, three big wins—and now four, with last week's victory over the Colts—do not mean that the Patriots are Super Bowl contenders, but they are our team and we don't appreciate cute, derogatory comments.
Hope springs eternal in any sports fan, especially in Boston where we have suffered through the Patriots' rebuilding years. Now we have a potentially good team, and it's no fun to see them knocked.
If Mr. Jenkins intends to continue to cover the NFL in 1974, I suggest he forget about last year's press clippings and standings. This is a new year and the Patriots are on top.
Tex Maule may be gone from the playing fields of pro football, but according to your Sept. 30 issue his spirit lives on under the name of Dan Jenkins.
I'm trying to figure out if, over the past two seasons, the Pats have won any football games. It seems that after every win some excuse arises about the losing team—Mercury Morris didn't play, Bob Griese had an ingrown toenail, lack of imagination by the Giants was the reason for their inability to score from the three-yard line, etc.
In reference to the interception and fumble referred to in Jenkins' article, Sam Hunt is very sorry that he got caught stealing Griese's pass and says he'll return it if you want him to. We're also sorry we hit Charlie Leigh so hard, causing him to drop the ball.
It should not come as so much of a surprise to Dan Jenkins or to anyone that the Miami Dolphins lost at New England. It is not that unusual. Don Shula's Miami teams, which have won at least 10 games every year, have lost to the Patriots there in three of their five visits. New England always gives Miami fits at home, but more important is the fact that this year the Pats are a greatly improved team.
THE LONGEST SEASON
In William Leggett's article on football broadcasting (Welcome to the 1,000-Hour Season, Sept. 16) he said that some of the networks were concerned because there has been a drop in the TV audience. The reason is not a proliferation of games. If the networks really want to keep their audiences, all they have to do is get rid of their directors, producers and broadcasters and get some new ones who know something about the game of football. Get rid of the people they pass off as color commentators. Personally, I have not watched a whole college game in years. I get disgusted with the everlasting panning around the stands during the game to show pretty girls. This year ABC has a new wrinkle, a couple of clowns running around with microphones interviewing cheerleaders and band members when there is action on the field.
THOMAS C. GRAHAM
PAY FOR PLAY (CONT.)
Big tears of heartfelt sympathy welled in my eyes when I read of the plight of the poor college football players who could no longer make ends meet (Everybody's Doing It, SCORECARD, Sept. 16). The pains of humiliation, as well as those of hunger, must be excruciating to the gridiron giants who can muster only enough change for one meager meal a day—a 29¢ McDonald's hamburger and a Coke.
Such stories of financial deprivation, as told by UCLA's Charlie Schuhmann in your magazine, are ludicrous. In case our Saturday afternoon heroes do not realize it, there happen to be thousands of college students in this nation going through school without the benefit of full-ride scholarships, free books, free tutors and free training-table meals, to say nothing of favors by alumni—job opportunities, dinner invitations and other fringe benefits that so easily accrue to college athletes.
It might also come as a shock to Mr. Schuhmann that some families have to live on less than the cash equivalent of a college athlete's yearly education expenses, which are paid for him by the school.
Nobody doubts that the dollar does not go as far as it once did, but in forming the relief line, let college athletes stand near the end.
JOHN F. SHIREY
Monterey Park, Calif.
In reference to professional football's new fifth-quarter rule, what use is the extra quarter if the game can still end in a tie? The sudden-death period should extend until one team breaks the tie. I, for one, would like to see the tie eliminated, not only in professional ball but in college and high school games as well.
I have just finished Dan Levin's article on Gerry Walin's most unfortunate accident while attempting to break the world speed record for outboard-powered craft (Grim Climax to a Thunderous Run, Sept. 23). Having long followed all aspects of motor racing, I am always saddened by the death or serious injury of a driver. I've seen many powerboat wrecks, and the pattern is always the same. A flip, the driver ejects and is hurt. Why don't they wake up and realize that a parachute pack and a prayer won't save anybody's neck? Perhaps a self-contained ejectible pod with a life-support system, some flotation devices and a parachute would. Sure, this might prove to be heavy, sophisticated and costly, but how much is a good pilot's life worth?
DANIEL LUIS VIGNOLI
Thank you for the article Today Is Joy to Their World (Sept. 23). It is refreshing to know that the Indian nations are holding on to their culture. Unfortunately, publicity may prove harmful to the rodeo by starting an influx of tourists. It should remain an Indian celebration. As William Eastlake says, it is "not a sport that destroys, but a ceremony that creates, in the style of the Indian." Something the white man hasn't yet learned.
Today will be "joy to our world" if writers like William Eastlake keep on producing features on Indian sports activities. His article brought smiles and giggles as he presented some of the Indian humor. Watch out, they'll have him dancing next year or mugging in the wild-horse race. Really enjoyable reading.
Incidentally, Dugan LeBeaux also placed in the final money in bull riding this year at the Pendleton Roundup.
LEAH J. CONNER
Warm Springs, Ore.
Finally, Nolan Ryan has gotten some recognition (Speed Trap for an Angel, Sept. 16). With this season nearly over, Ryan has 22 victories, 367 strikeouts and a 100-mph fastball, not to mention his two no-hitters, 383 strikeouts, 21 victories and 2.87 ERA of last year. If Ryan were with Cincinnati, Los Angeles or Oakland, he'd no doubt have 25 or 30 wins right now.
In mentioning the best fastball pitchers of all time you failed to include Don Newcombe. Nolan Ryan is fast, but they claim Newcombe was as fast as a speeding bullet.
ONE FOR BOBBY
The article Lesson for the Home Pro in your Sept. 16 issue was one of the finest I have read during my 15 years as a subscriber. Sarah Pileggi obviously did her homework, as she accurately portrays Bobby Nichols.
My friendship with Bobby spans 17 years. He is not only an outstanding athlete but an unassuming man of character and integrity. There are none finer.
RALPH J. TREMAGLIO JR.
Reminiscent of the story Bill Travis told about his officiating debut in a high school football game (SCORECARD, Sept. 23) is an incident one of my colleagues swears happened.
His basketball officiating partner, a neophyte who was positioned near midcourt, alertly raced downcourt with the visiting team's guard as that player intercepted a pass and drove for an uncontested basket. But as the guard went up for the layup, the official leaped high and pinned the ball beautifully against the board. The visiting coach took the startling move quite well, that is to say he didn't die of apoplexy, though surely only my colleague's quick signaling of two points—goaltending—prevented this. Afterward, the official could only mutter dazedly about his "natural instincts."
North Platte, Neb.
WAIT AND SEE
Having been a devoted track fan for nearly 20 years, I read with great interest the article concerning Britain's latest distance-running find, Brendan Foster (Foster Is No Impostor, Sept. 23). I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Foster's running credentials. He has proven in the two years since Munich that he has the talent to become one of the alltime greats.
I also have a great deal of respect for Writer Chris Brasher's running ability. As for his analyzing abilities, I believe the jury is still out. How he can possibly rank Foster as one of the top five distance men in the last 25 years is beyond my imagination. Without too much scratching, two names from Down Under step to the starting line, Murray Halberg and Ron Clarke. These two must certainly rank ahead of Foster at this time.
Halberg won the gold medal in the 5,000 meters at the 1960 Olympics and later held both the two-and three-mile records at the same time. Clarke once simultaneously held six world records at different distances, although he never won an Olympic gold medal. Clarke set most of his records during the European summer, which was off-season for a Southern Hemisphere runner.
Perhaps Mr. Brasher is merely dazzled by Foster's racing tactics, which were used long ago by Vladimir Kuts and Clarke. Nearly two full years lie ahead before we again come to the major testing grounds: the Olympic Games. A great many things can happen in that time.
THOMAS W. FRANCK
You guys really blew it! Eddy Merckx won the World Cycling Championship professional road race in Montreal a few weeks ago and your magazine barely mentioned it in passing. Doesn't the fact that 200,000 North Americans turned out for the two weeks of the championships indicate that bicycle racing is the sleeping giant of American sports?
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