If I remember correctly, Fran Tarkenton once said that passing to Homer Jones was like throwing to a "man on a motorcycle with a butterfly net." After reading Gridiron 2000 (Sept. 3), one has to wonder if by the year 2000 we really will be seeing some kind of gladiatorial biker speeding past defenders. (Of course the souped-up woman quarterback will be allowed to use this play only once a game.)
Although Byron Donzis' predictions of biomechanical devices and calculators for quarterbacks and power packs for running backs are quite mind-blowing, he nevertheless makes the point that football must change to adapt to the attitudes and preferences of the new generation. Also, the artwork of Tommy Soloski was superb.
I disagree with Byron Donzis' suggestion that 21st-century football players will be assisted by biomechanical devices. Future quarterbacks may be able to throw the ball 135 yards on a line and their receivers may be able to jump six feet in the air, but it will be as a result of conditioning, not of mechanical aids.
The science of biomechanics can determine, for example, exactly how an athlete could increase his vertical jump from two feet to six feet: how much weight to lift, how many repetitions, etc. The body will adapt if that training is gradual and progressive. There is no need for bionic parts.
MICHAEL P. KENNEDY
Sports Potential Realization
Frank Deford's Gridiron 2000 was very interesting. But speaking as an old 60-minute player (single-wing tailback, defensive halfback and punter), I feel football should be played by humans, not robots. If the innovations mentioned in Deford's article come to pass. I hope I am not around to witness them.
LANNY R. MIDDINGS
San Ramon, Calif.
You may be shocked when 21st-century football arrives, but I won't be. In October 2000 I'll stroll into Boston's Fenway Park and watch the most popular sport reach its annual climax. Hundreds of millions of other people and I will get extreme satisfaction in knowing that baseball will then have been played in the same manner on the same field for nearly 90 years.
As a high school football player, I found the sidebar Gridiron 1979, about the new and safer protective pads, very interesting. In my opinion, those pads should be put on the market as soon as possible, because if football becomes even safer, then it will also become the No. 1 sport in the world. I, for one, fully endorse Byron Donzis' new equipment.
The Seattle Seahawks fourth (Scouting Reports, Sept. 3)? Impossible! Why did you rate Seattle so low? You did the same thing last year, and look what happened!
BRENT VAN BEEK
When did the Seahawks become the team with the league's ugliest uniform? Two years ago, in a player poll, the Seahawks' uniform ranked as third best, behind the attire of Dallas and Los Angeles.
In the scouting report on Atlanta, Steve Bartkowski is quoted as saying, "I look around now and I see only one other guy on offense who has more years here than I do...." Jim Mitchell (tight end) and Jeff Van Note (center) were starters on offense while Peachtree Bart was still throwing for the California Golden Bears.
As for Atlanta's receivers, Alfred Jenkins is hardly "the only deep threat." Alfred Jackson, Wallace Francis and Billy Ryckman all caught touchdown passes of more than 50 yards last season, and Francis and Ryckman each had 45 receptions and averaged more than 15 yards per catch.
ASHE'S HEART ATTACK
To Arthur Ashe's list of professional athletes suffering heart attacks in their prime (It Couldn't Be a Heart Attack—But It Was, Sept. 3) should be added the name of one of the greatest bowlers of all time. Earl Anthony. Upon returning to the 1979 winter tour after having had a heart attack in '78, Earl won one tournament and had numerous second- and third-place finishes. His comeback continued throughout the summer tour.
I hope Ashe's recovery is as successful as Anthony's, because Ashe's fine demeanor and professionalism make him, like Anthony, one of the truly great men in sports today.
RICHARD E. GREENBERG
Thank you very much for the article explaining Arthur Ashe's recent heart attack. His condition was of great concern to me, because Ashe has long been one of my sports heroes and reports pertaining to his condition were sketchy at best.
The article shows a side of Ashe that best reflects why I admire him—his determination to come back after a misfortune that would have ended most players' careers. There are world-class athletes and world-class people. When the two come together in someone like Ashe, it is a rarity and inspiring.
I especially enjoyed the piece on Conway Twitty and minor league baseball in Nashville (Another Hit Sound in Music City U.S.A., Sept. 3), partly because I remember seeing Twitty when he was a young rock-'n'-roll (not country) singer in the early '60s, and partly because I've been a minor league buff since, as a 7-year-old, I saw my first Pacific Coast League game at Los Angeles' Wrigley Field in 1948.
It's great to hear that minor league ball is flourishing in Nashville, but I think a check of past attendance figures will show that the Hawaii Islanders' total of 467,800 in 1970, which you cite as the alltime record, actually is far short of what many PCL teams—notably L.A. and San Francisco—drew in the 1940s. The Angels and Seals both attracted more than 600,000 fans, I believe.
•Right. Minor league baseball did attract larger crowds in the years right after World War II, before TV and other factors brought about a decline in attendance. The Hawaii Islanders' 1970 record of 467,800 is the mark for recent years—or at least it was the record. During the 1979 regular season, Columbus of the Triple A International League drew 505,970, and Nashville 504,401.—ED.
As a Nashvillian who has never been to the Grand Ole Opry and who hasn't been to Opryland for many years, I would like to thank you for your article on the Sounds. It's about time someone recognized this city for something other than country music. Maybe we can change the familiar nickname of Music City U.S.A. to Baseball City U.S.A.
PLAYING BOTH SIDES
In BASEBALL'S WEEK (Sept. 3) Jim Kaplan mentioned that Mets Centerfielder Lee Mazzilli may be "the first big-leaguer to join the ranks of management while still a player." Harry Wright, one of the pioneers of organized professional baseball and a centerfielder for Cincinnati and Boston, was secretary pro tern for the National League at the time of its inception. Better yet, Bob Ferguson, an infielder with New York, Brooklyn and Hartford in the National Association, was president of the association for two of the five years it existed. Significantly, the association's full name was National Association of Professional Baseball Players (my italics); the full name of the National League has always been the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs. The distinct separation of labor (players) and capital (the clubs, or owners) was perhaps the most important event in pro sports in this country.
ROCK OF AGES
I really enjoyed the article about the 18-year-old racehorse Golden Arrow (Good Old Time for an Oldtimer, Sept. 3). He is indeed remarkable, but his dam, Rock Mart, is even more so. A foal of 1941, she has produced 13 offspring, four of which have raced more than 100 times: Market Out (103 races, 18 wins); Wellfleet (106 races, five wins); Happy Face (104 races, 21 wins); and, of course, Golden Arrow. Rock Mart has also produced Montenegrin (89 races, 11 wins) and Flawless Rock (59 races, six wins).
San Jose, Calif.
The item in SCORECARD (Sept. 3) really got to the heart of the Bobby Knight affair. Although I think the penalty imposed is wrong. I also feel that Knight was wrong in not going to the trial and that he is wrong now in not appearing before the judge to appeal the verdict. Coach Knight is hurting his own cause by being stubborn.
Regarding SI's view of the Bobby Knight incident, I couldn't disagree more. The sentence ($500 fine and six months in jail) is ludicrous, and any court that would issue such a sentence is not worth complying with. Nor is the offer of a suspended sentence by such a court to be trusted.
I don't blame Bobby Knight for not appearing in Puerto Rico, and I think there are few people who would appear if placed in his situation.
If Puerto Rican courts are not "drumhead institutions," then why would the case of Bobby Knight, with all of the eyewitness testimony in his behalf, even reach a trial? There should never even have been one.
And why does SI consider Knight's not showing up an insult to the court, when you state that pleading in absentia is perfectly "acceptable under Puerto Rican law"?
If Bobby Knight spends even one day in a Puerto Rican jail, it will be because the Puerto Ricans don't like him, not because he is guilty of any crime. And if not liking someone is the basis for sending one to jail, who amongst us would avoid serving time?
I have defended hundreds of people accused of crimes in my life, and the ones who were truly not guilty wanted to move heaven and earth to prove it. Congratulations on standing up for the values that keep our nation together.
CHARLES B. TIFFANY
Thank you for the recognition you gave Detective Don Patterson of our Cheyenne Police Department (SCORECARD, Aug. 20). We are extremely proud of our police officers, and they were doubly effective during our Frontier Days celebration.
Frontier Days is a great outdoor rodeo that is held annually during the last full week in July. We invite all your readers to the 1980 festivities; however, please advise them that Cheyenne is in the great state of Wyoming, not Colorado.
City of Cheyenne
In reading the 19TH HOLE in your Silver Anniversary Issue (Aug. 13), I noticed the first of the 1979 Sportsman of the Year nominations. Here is another, for a man who has always been one of my idols: Lou Brock.
Earl Weaver gets my vote.
KEITH D. SMITH JR.
For the ultimate in team effort, I nominate all of the Baltimore Orioles.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Webster's defines a sportsman as "a person who is fair and generous and a good loser and a graceful winner." As the football season comes and goes this year, I think you will find no man more deserving of the title Sportsman than Earl Campbell.
Kurt Thomas, for being the first American male since 1932 to win an international gymnastics event.
Bryan Allen did not break any world records, or win 30 games or bat .400. He did not ride a horse to the Triple Crown or lead his team to victory in the Super Bowl. He simply performed a feat no one had ever accomplished before: using only his own legs as a power source, he flew across the English Channel.
I know that Sir Roger Bannister was your first Sportsman of the Year and that Jack Nicklaus was your most recent, but who were the Sportsmen and Sportswomen in between? How about a listing?
I also nominate Sebastian Coe for your 1979 award. His remarkable performances in breaking the 800-meter, 1,500-meter and mile records definitely carry on the tradition established by your inaugural Sportsman.
South Gate, Calif.
•Here is the list.—ED.
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, New York, 10020.
John Wooden &