Congratulations on Dan Jenkins' fine account of the Pittsburgh-Cincinnati battle (Smashing Through the Snow, Dec. 6). Walter Iooss Jr.'s photography was particularly impressive. The pictures on pages 30-31 and on page 32 were reminiscent of such famous battles as New York-Baltimore in 1958, when Alan Ameche scored in overtime, and Dallas-Green Bay in 1967, when Bart Starr plunged across in sub-zero weather.
I've come across some great pictures in your magazine, but none as good as the two-pager of the Steelers and the Bengals. Walter Iooss Jr. captured the whole game in one perfect photograph and Dan Jenkins did another fantastic job on the article. I've not seen or read better.
Your story omitted an important point. The reason for the blowing snow and poor football conditions was the starting time of 4 p.m. Why should the paying customers be forced to witness a game at an inconvenient time for the benefit of TV? If the game had started at the usual time of 1 p.m., it would have ended before the snow started.
JAMES L. WARNER
Brigham Young University fans appreciate the article by Joe Marshall on Rutgers University (Stuck in a Winning Rut, Dec. 6). Our area's teams and top players know what it is like to be caught in an identity crisis. But why did you pick on the Tangerine Bowl?
December 20, 1976
BYU (9-2) shared the WAC championship and won its final six games, scoring an average of 41 points while giving up an average of 17. The Cougars were first nationally in passing, sixth in total offense and eighth in scoring. The Tangerine Bowl has the top two candidates for next year's Heisman Trophy in BYU's Gifford Nielsen and Oklahoma State's Terry Miller.
An unbeaten team that is leading the country in defense probably does deserve to be in a bowl game, but there are other bowls no less guilty of bypassing Rutgers than the Tangerine. And there are other teams that make annual bowl appearances even when they have mediocre records. So don't point a finger at the Tangerine Bowl. You might find the Brigham Young-Oklahoma State matchup an "intriguing" one after all.
If Joe Marshall wants to match Rutgers in a bowl with a good Big Eight team, how about Iowa State? The NCAA ranks ISU second nationally in total offense and fourth in scoring (33.5 points per game). Iowa State failed to get a bowl berth despite an 8-3 record, including victories over Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas. Moreover, Iowa State's opposition compares favorably with that of bowl-bound Ohio State, USC, Texas A&M, UCLA, North Carolina, Kentucky, BYU and Wyoming. Rutgers may not be bowl-bound, but it is ranked nationally and has appeared on regional TV. Even these honors have eluded Iowa State.
Council Bluffs, Iowa
Your article on Rutgers failed to elicit much sympathy from Colgate fans. As a subsequent SCORECARD item (Dec. 13) related, a devastating miscall by an official may well have helped Rutgers maintain its precious winning streak. Rutgers should not feel snubbed that it is uninvited to a major bowl. Instead, the Scarlet Knights should be downright thankful they are undefeated.
JO CLARE HARTSIG
A TOUCH OF PRIDE
Hooray! It's good to read that sports can be played with intensity even when there is not much more at stake than pride. Your article on the National Touch Football League championship (They Won It Handily, Dec. 6) gave us a real insight into the admirable character of those who play the game.
ALEX MURASHKO JR.
I must take exception to Ron Reid's description of the national touch football champions, the Four Seasons Nursery team from Columbus, Ohio, as "a more elderly bunch." We consider ourselves "experienced," not elderly.
MARK A. DEVILLING
Frank Deford's story on Al McGuire (Welcome to His World, Nov. 29) is certainly one of the best pieces of sports reporting that I have read in SI or any other magazine. He has given us an in-depth picture of a truly honest, free-spirited man. Deford's suggestion that we put McGuire in a time capsule is particularly appropriate, because McGuire symbolizes what the people of this age admire and are searching for—freedom and individualism—yet he is also much like the rest of us in his insecurity.
Deford's observations about coaches, cars and women, along with McGuire's misadventures with his car, came at a time when I really needed a laugh, and I assure you I got a belly laugh. In many ways this is an enriching article about a man who has enriched the lives of many. Let's hope McGuire never settles down.
As a Marquette alumnus who arrived in Milwaukee with Al McGuire for the 1964-65 basketball season, I vividly remember his innovative Scrambled Eggs, a platoon that would relieve the starters en masse. I am ecstatic to find that success has not spoiled this crude gem of a man.
There is not another coach in basketball who could take a small. Catholic, middle-class university in Wisconsin and produce such a phenomenal winning record. Nor is there a writer alive who can do justice to this truly enigmatic figure. Thanks for your article, but Frank Deford merely "tokened it."
The article on my father was awful. It did not portray him as he really is.
Despite Frank Deford's effort to depict Al McGuire as an intriguing individual, I think my analysis would come closer to the reaction of the average fan/citizen. That is, McGuire is exactly as he appears in his notable performances in NCAA tournaments: infantile, insecure, selfish.
Bay Village, Ohio
Frank Deford's reflections in the article on Al McGuire and Marquette produced a good shooting average. We lack stripes on our uniforms but we strive to be the best institution of any stripe. Basketball revenues have not only retired a long-standing football debt, they also continue to generate surpluses that revert annually to the university's operating budget.
But the general description of Marquette as a producer of schoolteachers is an air ball! Our 46 elementary and secondary-education majors among the 1.500 degree recipients last May place Marquette's schoolteacher totals in sharp contrast with the national figures of about 300,000 education degrees (about 24%) among 1,260,000 degrees earned in 1975.
JAMES L. SANKOVITZ
Vice-President for University Relations
ANOTHER LLAMA LLOVER
What a pleasant surprise to read the outstanding article on llamas by Robert Cant-well (What a Llovely Beast Is a Llama, Nov. 22). Not too long ago I had the pleasure of visiting Kay and Dick Patterson at their Sisters. Ore. "Shangri-La" and became an immediate admirer of their beloved llamas. So much so that I purchased four of them to begin an operation of my own in Michigan that I call "Mama Llama." It has become the talk of animal-breeding circles in the state.
It must be stated, however, that as much as one will love and enjoy the llamas, a visit with the Pattersons introduced me to two of the most lovable human beings I have ever met. It is no wonder that the Pattersons and their staff have such remarkable success with their animals when they dedicate so much of themselves to them.
COLLEEN (Mrs. GORDIE) HOWE
MORE THAN ONE SPORT MAN
One of your readers (Nov. 22) said he could not consider Robbie Ftorek as a superstar because he played only one sport. You know of Ftorek's hockey exploits. No one to date has been able to fill Boston Garden the way he did in high school—every year. But in addition to playing hockey, Robbie was the star of the Needham (Mass.) High School soccer team, helping to bring division, Eastern Massachusetts and state titles to Needham. And he played baseball, both at Needham High and for the local American Legion team.
To the residents of Needham and to everyone who has ever thrilled to his performance in any of his sports, Robbie Ftorek will always be a star of the highest magnitude.
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