A Matter of Higher Math 20
With only a weekend left in the NFL regular season, it would take an MIT Ph.D. to compute all of the potential playoff matchups
by Dan Jenkins

Trouble? Call the Bomb Squad 24
The 76ers had lost five straight to the Blazers, but last week they rushed their emergency unit in and defused Portland
by John Papanek

Setting Up a Showdown in Dallas 26
The bowl matchups are dandy this time despite PSP and the poker politics that determined the selections
by John Underwood

Sportsman of the Year 38
For Steve Cauthen it has been sweet 17: he became the finest rider in the land and racing's first $6 million man
by Frank Deford

Speaking of Youth 52
In and out of the saddle, young athletes turned in spectacular performances in 1977, among them speed-skater Eric Heiden
by Kenny Moore

Christmas Gift 62
A hospital encounter changes the life of a basketball superstar in this fictional tale of a holiday miracle
by Frank Deford

Joy in Hard Times 100
Despite bitter cold and reduced circumstances, the author's memory of a childhood Christmas in the Depression is a fond one
by Bil Gilbert

The Departments

Scorecard 15
TV/Radio 80
College Basketball 87
Bridge 92
Horses 95
For the Record 123
19th Hole 124

Credits on page 123

Cover photograph by Anthony Edgeworth

Next Issue

The countdown to Super Bowl XII in New Orleans begins with the NFL's divisional playoffs, four AFC teams squaring away the day before Christmas and four NFC teams playing Dec. 26. Dan Jenkins, Joe Marshall and Ron Reid report.

Mr. Tennis himself, Jack Kramer, in collaboration with Frank Deford, takes a long look back to the shamateurs and the early, hectic days of the pro tour, which he joined after winning at Forest Hills in 1947. The first of two parts.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)