The Sept. 13 Pro Football Issue was a treat. I enjoyed your innovative approach comparing quarterbacks, middle linebackers, offenses and defenses within each division. We all know that Minnesota, Los Angeles, Oakland, Pittsburgh, etc. are the best teams and that the Jets, San Diego and the expansionists will probably be the worst, but your unusual method showed us why.
DONALD E. PORTER
I feel that your Pro Football Issue format left a lot to be desired.
EYVEST J. JAMES JR.
My hat is off to Joe Marshall, who in analyzing the Eastern Division races was not intimidated by others who picked Dallas and Miami. He chose as winners two teams that could well face each other in Super Bowl XI: Baltimore and St. Louis.
Concerning Mark Donovan's scouting report on the NFC Central, the Detroit Lions are a better team than you think.
PAUL F. NORRIS
September 26, 1976
Regarding Ron Reid's analysis, I can't believe that San Francisco and those other Southern teams have improved enough to push Atlanta out in the NFC West.
Dan Jenkins suggests (Cracking the Language Barrier, Sept. 13) that ABC-TV should be up for a community-service award for keeping Cleveland, Detroit, Green Bay, New Orleans, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Seattle, Chicago and the New York Giants off Monday Night Football. It seems to me that the only good games last season were played by those so-called losers (e.g., Giants 17, Bills 14).
Mount Holly, N.J.
How could Dan Jenkins put Lou Saban on his list of "eight certified, guaranteed NFL head coaches," and leave out Chuck Knox of the Rams?
CHEERS FOR GRANT
I beg to differ with Robert F. Jones' description of Minnesota Viking Coach Bud Grant as "the least loved, the least extolled and the most underrated" of all NFL coaches (Getting Away from the Boo Birds, Sept. 13). As his otherwise excellent article points out, Grant is a many-dimensioned man, intelligent and sensitive, whose roots run deep here in the upper Midwest. My feeling is that fans in this region respect him for his quiet competence and consider him one of their own. Whether or not love enters into the equation is a moot point.
As for Jones' assertion that local fans boo Grant during the playoffs—nonsense!
MARK H. REED
We in Canada are very proud of our Canadian Football League where the game is just that—a game. We do not suffer from "win at any cost" philosophies, college recruiting, endorsements, etc. Anthony Davis (Running Through a Storm, Aug. 30) is a good football player, but not as good as his agent thinks he is. In a recent game A.D. carried the ball eight times for 11 yards. One on one, he could not even beat the Canadian defensive backs, who "play football about as well as the Americans play hockey." Davis may achieve the excellence of Leo Lewis, but never will he be another George Reed.
Your article on Anthony Davis was mistitled. It should have read: Just Another Spoiled Superstar.
CATCHING SOME PRAISE
Thank you for Larry Keith's excellent article on Thurman Munson (He's a Dish Only Behind the Plate, Sept. 13). It's about time he got credit as the best all-round catcher. Thurman typifies the kind of year the Yankees have had with his leadership and aggressive play.
I wish people would stop comparing Thurman Munson with other catchers. Munson has no peer.
Old Bridge, N.J.
Thanks to Kent Hannon for giving the New York Mets pitching staff the credit it so richly deserves (The Throes of Frustration, Sept. 13). Never before have I seen such a talented staff go to waste. When will the Mets front office wake up and realize that, despite 1969, a team cannot win a pennant on pitching alone?
I have always felt that had Tom Seaver been on a better run-producing team, he would by now have compiled one of the best won-lost records in baseball history. It is a tribute to his ability that he has accomplished so much (three Cy Young Awards, nine seasons in a row with 200 or more strikeouts, lifetime ERA under 2.50). Imagine what he might have done if he had been pitching for the Pirates or Reds all these years!
As a graduate of Texas Christian University (1-10 in 1975) and the University of Virginia (1-10) and as an instructor at the Air Force Academy (2-8-1), I thoroughly enjoyed and absolutely endorse John Underwood's ideas on bringing parity to college football (Tell You What You Do, Sept. 6). But a few additions need to be made to the plan: 1) Waive a school's "sphere of influence" (or expand it) when its team loses more than two-thirds of its games. TCU should be allowed to go to the South Sea islands to recruit, just like USC. 2) Penalize rules violators in the spring, not in the fall. Everyone is hurt when an Oklahoma is banished from TV. Why not cut a delinquent school's recruiting, both in sphere (don't let Barry Switzer out of Norman) and in numbers. Also, cancel that team's spring training. Better yet, cancel everyone's spring training. 3) Cancel all schedules after this year, and prevent teams from scheduling opponents so far in advance.
Colorado Springs, Colo.
John Underwood's Tell You What You Do is the best football article I've read since his Bell of the Ball Game (Sept. 10, 1973) about the DePauw-Wabash rivalry (I played at DePauw). The obvious string that runs through both articles is his very sane approach to college football—the way it could and should be in the so-called big time, and the way it is in the small-college game. It's refreshing to read a sportswriter who has his priorities straight. Whoever Underwood's mythical coach is, I sincerely hope he continues to Miltonize the football world.
JOHN A. KELLOG
Director of Admissions
Dakota Wesleyan University
Mitchell, S. Dak.
Three cheers for John Underwood's coach. Other good ideas would be: to have all bowl bids go out on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, on pain of heavy penalties; to have the Rose Bowl discontinue its ties with the Big Ten (thus allowing better matchups and games of greater national significance); and to have no playoffs as such. The controversy over who is No. 1 is good for the game.
DENNIS D. MCMAHON
BIG, SMALL, SMALLEST
Your college football edition (Sept. 6) wasn't as complete as I had expected. You ignored the Southland Conference, an NCAA Division I league composed of Arkansas State, Louisiana Tech, McNeese State, Southwestern Louisiana, Lamar University and Texas-Arlington. How could you overlook a conference that has turned out quality NFL players such as Bill Bergey, Terry Bradshaw, Steve Burks and Dexter Bussey?
You gave us roundups of major conferences and small colleges. Surely the Indians, Bulldogs, Cowboys, Ragin' Cajuns, Cardinals and Mavericks are worth mentioning too.
Batesville Daily Guard
You write about the NCAA Division III, yet you continue to ignore my alma mater, the University of Massachusetts, and the rest of the Yankee Conference teams.
PHILIP SABRA, M.D.
Since you are the authority on sports, I would assume that you know that the NCAA Division III is not the "smallest of the smalls," as you so inappropriately put it. You will find that the NAIA boasts a Division II, of which the Texas Lutheran College Bulldogs have claimed the title for the past two years—an unprecedented accomplishment in the NAIA. With an enrollment of about 1,100, TLC is the smallest four-year college in the state of Texas to field a football team.
MRS. ROY R. REICHENBACH
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