CALL THEM NO. 1
Had I not attended the Sugar Bowl game, your article The Ball Bounces Georgia's Way (Jan. 12) would lead me to believe that the University of Georgia was playing a game of chance in Las Vegas rather than a football game for the national championship in New Orleans. Everybody's talk of Georgia's being lucky—not good—reminds me of what golfer Hubie Green reportedly had to say about luck: "The harder I practice, the luckier I seem to get."
You can call the Dogs lucky and you can call them slow, but until September you can also call them No. 1.
In the spirit of fair play, there are a couple more quotes from Notre Dame participants in the Sugar Bowl, other than those used in your story, which should be aired:
Split End Tony Hunter stated, "A lot of people have said they [the Georgia Bulldogs] are lucky, but after playing them, I believe they force their breaks and find a way to win. That's what it's all about."
January 26, 1981
All-America Defensive End Scott Zettek said, "No, I don't think we beat Georgia. It wasn't bad officiating or bad breaks. The game ended and they won."
And Coach Dan Devine put it this way: "Statistics are for losers.... They [the Bulldogs] are by far the best team—I emphasize the word 'team'—we've played this year."
With all due respect to Douglas S. Looney, this is also what was said in New Orleans and is what we at Georgia will continue to believe.
PERRY McINTYRE JR.
The Georgia Bulldog
If the thought of the Georgia Bulldogs backing into the national championship this year doesn't prompt the NCAA to devise a playoff system, then the case is hopeless. Would Georgia have even been able to reach the finals of a playoff system?
Douglas S. Looney described Georgia's football team exactly: lucky! Of the eight teams that played on New Year's Day, the Bulldogs were by far the most inept. However, Herschel Walker was an absolute battering ram. He's terrific!
While I'm on the subject, what happened to the Orange Bowl, the Cotton Bowl and the Rose Bowl? You let all of your readers down by confining them to FOR THE RECORD (Jan. 12). I, for one, feel you owe Baylor, Washington, Oklahoma, Florida State, Alabama and Michigan an apology.
TERRY P. VANDERBERG
WINFIELD'S MILLIONS (CONT.)
One thing that was overlooked in the articles concerning Dave Winfield's sudden success (The Winfield Bonanza, Jan. 5) is the state of professional baseball in San Diego. For the fan here the proverbial bubble has burst. Not only have the Padres lost Winfield, the franchise's best player, but also Ballard Smith and his cohorts have traded away the popular Cy Young Award winner Randy Jones, Reliever Rollie Fingers and one of the team's best pitchers in 1980, Bob Shirley.
As a former Padre season-ticket holder, I say hooray for the Yankees. They got a polished gem in Winfield. Go get 'em, Dave. I'll never boo you.
WILLIAM G. HILL
I have read about what a great guy Dave Winfield is. Sure, he helps underprivileged kids, and I feel that more ballplayers should become more like him in that respect. However, I'll bet that if you asked Mark Wagar, Luke Witte or any of the other members of the 1971-72 Ohio State basketball team how great a guy Winfield is, their response wouldn't be kind.
Has everyone already forgotten about that time when Minnesota basketball players and fans brutally attacked the Buckeyes during the final seconds of a tight game? Your magazine felt that the riot, in which Winfield played a prominent role, was serious enough to warrant a four-page article (An Ugly Affair in Minneapolis, Feb. 7, 1972). The subhead of the article said, "...the entire sport emerged with a black eye," which is a pretty powerful statement about something that isn't even talked about now.
I have nothing against Winfield for the money he's making. If the Yankees are willing to pay it, why shouldn't he take it? What I feel is unjust is that Ron LeFlore will always be labeled an ex-con and Darrell Porter a onetime alcoholic and drug addict while nobody even mentions this incident involving Winfield.
MERLIN & STRANGE CO.
That was an interesting article about Merlin Olsen and his recent endeavors as a TV color man and, now, as a character actor (Tackling a New Career, Jan. 19). But, to borrow an expression from Olsen, what in the world was he doing in your opening photograph with all those great big football players dolled up in sweet little dresses and curly-top wigs? Were the seven giants by any chance trying to play Shirley Temple?
New York City
•Yes, and for a good cause. For the past seven years Olsen has served on the board of the Southern California chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and, with his wife, Susan, co-chaired and helped organize an annual fund-raising event called Champions vs. MS. The dinner affair features celebrities from the entertainment world and members of local pro teams—the Rams, Dodgers, Angels, Lakers and Aztecs—all of whom volunteer to perform in various skits. SI's photographer caught Olsen & Co. backstage at last fall's show, just before the Shirley Temple Rams went on to sing and dance "special versions" of Animal Crackers in My Soup and On the Good Ship Lollipop.—ED.
SI and Paul Zimmerman really called the Super Bowl in the article on this season's first Raider-Eagle game (Preview of Super Bowl XV? Dec. 1). Considering teams like the San Diego Chargers with Dan Fouts, the Cleveland Browns with Brian Sipe, the Houston Oilers with Ken Stabler and the Buffalo Bills with Joe Ferguson, who else would have thought that the Oakland Raiders and Jim Plunkett could go to New Orleans?
I commend Paul Zimmerman for his foresight. At the time, your readers agreed that the Eagles might go to Super Bowl XV, but the Raiders? No. Shame on those Oakland detractors. However, now they can sit back and enjoy one of the best Super Bowls of all time.
STEVEN A. BATZ
St. Ann, Mo.
I wonder if Paul Zimmerman can tell us in advance who's going to win.
MIGUEL ENGUIDANOS III
•See page 16.—ED.
"Dr. Z's" All-Pro team was pretty good overall (Auditioning for the Eternal Highlight Film. Jan. 5), but Los Angeles Rams Cornerback Pat Thomas "gets a slight edge over Kansas City's Gary Green"? I think K.C.'s Gary Barbaro is one of the best cornerbacks in the league. And Paul Zimmerman should remember Seattle Linebacker Michael Jackson for next year's All-Pro team.
Walla Walla, Wash.
Pat Thomas at cornerback? I suggest you try Lemar Parrish.
South Bend. Ind.
Picking Pat Tilley over James Lofton at wide receiver was a mistake. In terms of number of yards gained on receptions. Lofton led the NFC with 1,226 on 71 catches and was the third-leading receiver in the league.
MICHAEL DeBONIS JR.
How can Paul Zimmerman pick Rich Saul over Mike Webster? I've been watching football for more than 17 years, and Mike Webster is clearly the best center ever to step on a football field.
Bethel Park. Pa.
Paul Zimmerman picked Bruce Laird of the Baltimore Colts as his All-Pro strong safety. I couldn't agree more!
MARC B. SINGER
Who else besides Billy Sims for Rookie of the Year? Buffalo's Joe Cribbs. He did more for the Bills than Sims did for the Lions. Also the Bills had a better record and made the playoffs.
St. Augustine, Fla.
I can tell you who else for Rookie of the Year: David Woodley of the Miami Dolphins. A part-timer at LSU in his senior year, he came to the Dolphins and took over for the injured regular quarterback and beat out the second-string quarterback. Woodley started the final 10 games, led the Dolphins to a 35-14 rout of the Rams, took the Chargers into overtime and appears to be a savior for the talented Dolphin receivers, who crave more balls thrown their way.
I can't believe you left out Russ Francis of the New England Patriots. He is All-World. He also blocks better than Kellen Winslow or Dave Casper, a must for a tight end.
How could Paul Zimmerman pick Dave Jennings over Oakland's Ray Guy for his All-Pro punter? Also, shouldn't he at least have mentioned the Raiders' Tom Flores for Coach of the Year? I guess his choices aren't all that outrageous when one considers he predicted that Buffalo. Atlanta and Oakland would finish at the bottom of their divisions and that the Washington Redskins would win the NFC East (Paul Zimmerman's Scouting Reports, Sept. 8).
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