PRO FOOTBALL PREVIEW
From all indications, in your professional football scouting reports (Sept. 19) a team's schedule appears to be almost as important a factor as a team's talent in determining what its season record will be. Couldn't the NFL devise a system of scheduling that would give more weight to ability?
Granted, the better teams should not be unduly punished for their prowess by being forced to play only teams of equal strength, and the weaker teams should not play only equally weak teams. However, if a more equitable system were devised, we would not have a situation wherein virtually the same Cleveland Browns squad of 1976 (9-5) will be fortunate to achieve a 7-7 record this year. In addition, the hapless Atlanta Falcons have to play eight playoff contenders, while a strong New England team can almost sleep until the playoffs.
MARK W. RUPERT
I would like to thank the NFL players whom Dan Jenkins polled (A List of Naughty and Nice, Sept. 19) for awarding Green Bay first place in the "worst city to spend the night before a game or even to fly a holding pattern over and think about it" category. At least, the Packers will have won something this year.
Why is it that everybody takes cheap shots at the Philadelphia fans, as in Jenkins' poll in which they are rated the worst in the league? For years Philadelphia fans have been filling Veterans Stadium to watch the Eagles play football, even though they haven't been a winning team. Philadelphia fans are not the only ones around the league to boo their team. But when they do, at least there are 60,000 fans there booing.
MICHAEL A. MARROLETTI
Any pro quarterback that drives a pickup truck, drinks beer and listens to country music deserves the best. I hope Kenny Stabler (Gettin' Nowhere Fast, Sept. 19) makes it to another Super Bowl.
Steamboat Springs, Colo.
The entire article on Stabler, and in particular your choice of pictures, is offensive to me as a sports fan. As an educator of young men and women, I consider it a travesty. Telling the truth, hard work and dedication—that is the way to achieve one's goals, not abusing one's body with beer, cigarettes and loose living, as you have depicted Stabler doing.
Hannibal Central School
REBELS WITH CAUSE
From college scouting reports, Sept. 12: "Bad news: Mississippi lost its last three games (1976) by a combined score of 105-16. Worse news: almost everybody is back."
"Almost everybody" turned out to be too many for Notre Dame, your No. 1 pick. Ole Miss won 20-13, and you guys oughta be ashamed of yourselves!
Since Dan Devine took over in South Bend. Notre Dame football has taken several steps backward. In large part this is because of his very dull and predictable running offense, which is quite a switch from the explosive passing attacks Irish fans were used to for years.
If Notre Dame football is to stay at the top as it has year in and year out, it must replace its weak link.
Dan Devine must go.
Your story about Jack Thompson and the Washington State Cougars (Mowed Down By a Thompson, Sept. 19) was well done. Thompson was brilliant, as was the defense that had the Cornhuskers coughing up footballs as if they were allergic to them. Then I turned the page to look at Players of the Week. I was all set to read about Thompson again. But to the surprise of all Washington, you had Army's Leamon Hall! Heck, I can throw for 310 yards against the University of Massachusetts!
Check your statistics again (Year of the Lively Bat, Sept. 19). Willie Mays had seasons in which he hit more than 50 home runs: 1955 (51) and 1965 (52).
Haddon Heights, N.J.
Here in the midlands we are sick and tired of hearing about the following: Sonny & Cher, Farrah Fawcett-Majors, Fonzie, the Cincinnati Reds, the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox (not necessarily in that order). You guys must think we have an American Legion learn here or something.
Kansas City, Kans.
I am thoroughly disgusted that the American people would choose to cheer for an Argentinian over Jimmy Connors (Fantàstico, Guillermo, Sept. 19). This is not to say that Vilas should not have won, but to ask where our loyalties lie. In other countries you would never find the fans cheering for one of our players against one of theirs. Congratulations to all who participated, but mostly to Connors for being an outstanding U.S. representative as well as a gentleman who had to contend not only with Vilas but also with most of the fans at Forest Hills.
CHARLENE C. WHEELER
As an old tennis player I am ashamed and disgusted that such a poor sport as Jimmy Connors should represent the best we have in tennis. Never have I seen poorer sportsmanship than he evinced in his match with Corrado Barazzutti and after his defeat by vilas. He could not be a man and remain on the court to accept his loss and congratulate the winner.
I also am amazed that TV commentator Pat Summerall would state that he "can't blame him for that." What's happened to sportsmanship in America?
VIVE LE STADE
Montreal's Olympic Stadium is indeed being filled for the baseball Expos and the football Alouettes, but I take offense at Robert Boyle's statement (SCORECARD, Sept. 5) that because the Als are drawing such large crowds (well over 60,000) the NFL might take another look at Montreal. Who the heck needs the NFL in Canada? The Canadian Football League will do just fine, thank you.
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, New York, 10020.