DALLAS VS. L.A.
Because of injuries, Los Angeles played the whole game against Dallas without its top running back (Lawrence McCutcheon), three quarters without its No. 2 running back (John Cappelletti) and the last quarter without its quarterback (Pat Haden). Yet the focus of Dan Jenkins' article (Thundering Toward Miami, Jan. 15) appears to be Tom Landry's coaching skill. I think he missed something.
Walnut Creek, Calif.
In recent years the word on the Minnesota Vikings has been that they can't win the big games. My question is when are people going to start saying the same thing about the Rams? The Rams have won their division the last six seasons but have yet to gain a Super Bowl berth.
Parkers Prairie, Minn.
I'm sorry to see SI buttress a false standard of greatness by noting that this year's NFL champion becomes the first team to win three Super Bowls (Pouncing on a Championship, Jan. 15). So what? Has everyone forgotten that the NFL had a championship game for 34 years before the Super Bowl came along? Only when Dallas, Pittsburgh or any other team wins six titles in eight years, as Green Bay did from 1961 to 1968, will it reach the same level of greatness that those Packers achieved.
DAVID L. NICANDRI
The cover photograph ("Splashdown to the Super Bowl") of the Jan. 15 issue is fantastic. Even more fantastic are the photographs accompanying the two articles on the NFL playoff games.
Your double-page photograph of the Oilers and Steelers catches Pittsburgh's Mike Webster throwing one of the sweetest left crosses I've ever seen.
Lake Success, N.Y.
Question: Where would you find 50,000 chanting, pompon-waving, singing fans on a cold Sunday evening following a 34-5 loss? Answer: nowhere else but in the Houston Astrodome.
During the week before the AFC championship game between the Oilers and the Steelers, Houston had Oilermania. Cars were painted with GO, OILERS, GO signs and other slogans. Bank lobbies were decorated with Oiler pennants and balloons.
But, you say, all good things must come to an end, and after a devastating loss such as that one to Pittsburgh you would normally be right—except that Houston Oiler fans are not normal fans.
A local radio station, KILT, in cooperation with the Astrodome front office, decided to hold a pep rally for the Oilers upon their return from Pittsburgh, win or lose. It was to be the largest pep rally ever held, and it became a reality. The huge crowd waited for three hours to see the team enter the Dome at 11 p.m. that night, and then stayed another hour to honor Oiler players and coaches.
The city of Houston obviously has the most loyal fans in the country. I'm just wondering what would have happened if the Oilers had gone on to win the Super Bowl.
MARK D. NIEDERT
CHERRY AND THE RETREADS
I just don't understand how you can refer to the Boston Bruins' roster as "largely filled with retreads" (The Wrath of Grapes, Jan. 15). I agree that Coach Don Cherry has a talent for getting something extra out of every hockey player, but to call players like Jean Ratelle, Peter McNab and Wayne Cashman retreads is going too far.
HENRY WAGNER JR.
How could a team with a roster "largely filled with retreads" be in the finals with the Montreal Canadiens two years in a row? I did not see the New York Islanders, the Buffalo Sabres, the Toronto Maple Leafs or the Philadelphia Flyers there.
The Bruins have players who should be on any all-star team. I hope Bill Torrey and Scotty Bowman keep that fact in mind when they select the rest of the NHL squad for the Russian series.
Moreland Hills, Ohio
Don Cherry's endorsement of fighting as a hockey stratagem leads me to the inescapable conclusion that the Bruins aren't very good.
Television has found hockey to be a bomb, and I suspect that a major reason for this sport's decline is the belief that fighting is a part of the game. Cherry's condemnation of the intellectuals (those who insist upon the purity of hockey) is ironic. Frankly, I'd rather have his dog Blue.
When a man is against the wearing of helmets in a game such as ice hockey, he has to be some kind of nut. I am not impressed with Cherry's thinking.
STACY CAMPBELL JR.
Pompano Beach, Fla.
I have never enjoyed any article more than the one about Don Cherry. Jerry Kirshenbaum lets everyone in on the humor and wit of the Bruin coach. We here in New England see evidence of these qualities on the ice and in the news every week. Cherry is the reason for the Bruins' success. The front office would be foolish to let him go.
SI has said some outrageous things in its time, but the statement that Tony Esposito is not a first-team all-star tops them all (SCORECARD, Jan. 15). You could be right about the other five players, but not about Esposito. Just look at the box scores and see how many shots Esposito faces. Few teams have had as poor a defense as the Black Hawks for the past five years, but, in my opinion, no goaltender has been as steady as Esposito. That isn't to say that Ken Dryden or a few others aren't superb goaltenders, but look at the difference in strength of the teams they play for! If Esposito starts for the NHL against the Soviets next month, the world will see just how good he is.
BARRY M. ROZNER
You said that New York Rangers Pat Hickey, Ulf Nilsson, Anders Hedberg and Ron Greschner do not qualify as starters on the NHL all-star team. Although the "Swede 16" line hasn't been tearing up the league, it has been doing a fine job. Greschner is the second leading scorer for all defensemen in the league. And Nilsson and Hedberg have valuable experience in international play. When the series with the Russians comes along, I think the fans will be proved right in their selections.
BOBBY D & CO.
As a member of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, I take offense at Curry Kirkpatrick's remark that Norfolk State is "an obscure enough institution except for its celebrity in the vast reaches of the CIAA" (A Bullet of the Highest Caliber, Jan. 15). We may not have the publicity of the ACC or the Big Ten, but we are known in some circles for producing not only the Bullets' Bobby Dandridge but also Sam Jones, Al Attles, Earl Monroe, Curly Neal, Twiggy Saunders, Marvin Webster, Mike Gale, Mike Davis and others.
PHILIP J. BUSHER
Sports Information Director
Johnson C. Smith University
Bobby Dandridge the best small forward in pro basketball? Come on! He doesn't compare to Marques Johnson, and no one else does either.
JOHN T. LEVIN
Fifteen years ago, when I was a 17-year-old hot-rodding punk, Big Daddy Garlits was the ace of drag racing, and had been for years. So now I open the Jan. 15 issue of SI and discover that he is still the best in the world at what he loves to do (He Just Keeps Rollin' Along). It did my soul good.
I had to write after reading your article on The American Sportsman series (TV/RADIO, Jan. 8). I've watched this once truly fine show deteriorate over the years from 100% hunting and fishing to ballooning, bird-watching and sky diving. These activities are all right, but why deprive us avid sportsmen, who used to really look forward to this good show, of a program of our own?
STEVE (GOOSE) KAYLOR
I am offended by William Oscar Johnson's reference in his TV/RADIO column (Jan. 15) on college bowl game coverage to "a 30-foot bicycle pedaled by a dozen fez-wearing Shriners, who must have been sober." We Shriners may party but we never forget our foremost obligation to support Shriner hospitals for crippled or burned children. I am honored and happy to wear a fez.
C. F. MYERS
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