Chalk up another one. You've done it again! Amid all the talk of the Super Bowl and the NFL vs. the USFL, you've informed America about one of the best "quarterbacks"—if not the best—of a pregame show, Brent Musburger (Not Just Another Pretty Face, Jan. 16). William Taaffe not only portrayed Musburger as a true professional, but he also pointed out Brent's lighter side. The article was a pleasure to read.
MICHAEL E. FITZHARRIS
Thank you for the article on Brent Musburger. I've been a fan of his for some time. I enjoy the way he keeps viewers updated on football. Jimmy the Greek and Phyllis George have always bored me—I've picked the games better than Jimmy, and Phyllis' trivia disgusts me. I was raised in a football family—my uncle, the late Ray Morrison, was the first athletic director and football coach at SMU—and when I watch sports on TV, football news, scores and action are uppermost in my mind, not worthless predictions or irrelevant comments about such things as Tom Landry's hat or references to the sportscaster's personal life. Keep it up, Brent.
LUCY MORRISON STONEBERG
Yorba Linda, Calif.
So, an executive at a rival network faults Brent Musburger, a sports-journalism genius and a paragon of on-the-air cool, because "he's not even very interested in chasing women." Doesn't this executive know that Musburger has a wife and kids, or does he think that womanizing is an essential part of good living? It's little wonder that television is littered with trashy programming.
It is likely that I am one of the "poor saps" who are queuing up while Brent Musburger and NFL Today executive producer Ted Shaker are running the Greenwich, Conn, toll plaza. For SPORTS ILLUSTRATED to imply that it's simply an "outrageous stunt" to make a practice of "flooring it" through a restricted speed zone is to condone a dangerous practice. I know how long it takes to get from New York to Greenwich (about 45 to 50 minutes), and if Brent and Ted consume all the beer they take along with them, they just might be slightly high by the time they zoom past me. I think it's time we stopped celebrating those who "can't resist" such behavior and encouraged them to set more responsible examples.
REBECCA YOUNT LEWIS
January 30, 1984
Two to three cans of beer consumed in one hour could result in a blood-alcohol level of .04 to .06, enough to increase the risk of a crash. Every day in the U.S. some 70 people are killed and nearly 2,000 injured in alcohol-related auto accidents. Come on, Brent. No drinking and driving.
MIKE IRWIN, M.D.
Thanks for publishing Musburger's license-plate number. It will make it easier for others to avoid a potentially drinking driver with no regard for the law. No wonder he likes to keep his personal life private; he might lose the Mr. Goodperson title you gave him.
PAUL G. BASAMAN
Sylvan Lake, Mich.
How can you justify six pages of drivel on Brent Musburger? Who cares?
You have recently had fine stories on Howard Cosell and Brent Musburger. Now how about one on Dick Enberg, the best in the business.
Swartz Creek, Mich.
THE USFL VS. THE NFL
In response to William Oscar Johnson's article Can the USFL Cut the Mustard? (Jan. 16), I say, You bet it can!
I've been a pro football fan for more than 20 years and the NFL is boring, boring, boring! This season provided us with some pitiful TV games. For me to remain interested in pro football, I need some new rivalries, and that is what the USFL offers. The USFL also has better scoring rules—the two-point conversion, for example.
The USFL doesn't have to pay me to jump leagues. I already have!
The difference between the NFL and the USFL is that the NFL has a fat TV contract that, in effect, guarantees each team a profit. Therein lies the problem: An NFL owner has no motivation to produce a better product (team) because it won't bring him significant extra income; it will just cost him more for expensive new talent. He'll get his [1/28th] cut of the TV contract win, lose or draw.
The USFL, on the other hand, knows that it must create excitement and credibility through its teams. And that's exactly what fellows like Donald Trump, owner of the New Jersey Generals, are trying to do. As for me, I think they've succeeded. I can hardly wait to see the Generals' Herschel Walker take on the Pittsburgh Maulers' Mike Rozier this spring.
Eat your heart out. Pete Rozelle. Your game is no longer the only one in town. In fact, your game may not even be the most exciting.
ROBERT L. JOCHASIAN
As a pro-football addict since 1949, I can tell you this about the USFL: It stinks. I saw all the Los Angeles Express home games in person last year, and a lot of other games on television. I do not plan to see any more of the USFL, because there is no hard hitting and there are more passes thrown in USFL games than in flag football. Too many of those throws, it seems to me, fall incomplete. When USFL teams begin to play like the Redskins and the Raiders, then, and only then, will I be interested.
CHICAGO'S PARROTS (CONT.)
I congratulate Bil Gilbert on his interesting and descriptive story on Chicago's monk parakeets (Look What's Holed Up in Chicago, Jan. 9). Also. Carl Iwasaki deserves praise for the excellent photographs accompanying the article. But in light of Gilbert's and Iwasaki's work, I was a little concerned for the safety of these birds. Therefore I was much relieved, upon reading the last page of the story, to learn that Ronald Faulkner, the front-desk man for the apartment house across the street from the nest, says, "Nobody better mess around with them parrots." Sounds like he means it.
I thoroughly enjoyed the masterful writing and wonderful story by Bil Gilbert. Beautiful change-of-pace reading. The article should be preserved for posterity and become prescribed reading in all our high schools and universities. A real classic!
I really didn't subscribe to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED to read articles on parrots. I live in California's San Joaquin Valley, an agricultural area that specializes in growing grapes, peaches, citrus fruit, etc. A few years ago a couple of escaped monk parakeets began to nest in a palm tree not far from my home. Because these parakeets live on fruit and seeds and therefore are not welcome in our valley, they were quickly dispatched to bird heaven. Chicago may wish it didn't have them when summer rolls around.
Bravo! Bil Gilbert's article on parrots sure proves that jockstrap and shoulder-pad sports aren't the only interesting subject matter for your magazine.
ROGER D. WHITTEMORE JR.
A couple of thoughts on Boston College being voted the Lambert Trophy (FOR THE RECORD, Jan. 16):
The award is supposed to go to the best college football team in the East. I admit that there was no truly great team in that part of the country this season, but I was surprised to see BC beat out West Virginia in the Lambert voting. Each school played a rugged schedule and finished with a 9-3 record. (One of West Virginia's losses was to Miami, the eventual national champion.) However, Don Nehlen's Mountaineers finished ahead of the Eagles in all of the end-of-the-year polls that I have seen, and BC lost its Liberty Bowl game to Notre Dame 19-18, while West Virginia defeated Kentucky 20-16 in the Hall of Fame Bowl. Even more important, the Mountaineers beat the Eagles by 10 points in Boston on Sept. 24.
I'm sure Nehlen and his players are wondering about the criteria used in the Lambert voting process, just as Auburn is no doubt wondering about the voting for the national championship.
PICKING BOWL WINNERS
In regard to the observation made by SPORTS ILLUSTRATED correspondent Ted O'Leary concerning this year's bowl games (SCORECARD. Jan. 16), I believe I can offer an even greater constant. On Jan. 2 the team that won in all five games started the game going right-to-left on the television screen. I should know, I lost a total of 10 bets to my parents because I had left-to-right in our family wagers this year.
GARY M. WIESEL
I read Bil Gilbert's article Look What's Holed Up in Chicago with great interest. I am a painter currently concentrating on the Carolina parakeet. My plans include a large triptych entitled Threnody, which will show the birds in their natural habitat along with scenes depicting their extermination.
I have included a 35-mm slide (below) showing a preliminary work on this subject. The painting shows the Carolina parakeet in orthographic views. I thought the readers of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED might be interested in seeing a more complete image of our only native parrot. The photograph by Tom McHugh that accompanied your article was certainly eloquent in evoking the tragedy of the bird's demise. In the orthoraphic views I have shown a slightly more dispassionate image, because my study is really a series of personal notes. I feel my triptych will be far less dispassionate from an ecological point of view.
The study is based on examination of actual specimens in the collection of the Department of Ornithology of the American Museum of Natural History.
New York City
Letters should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center. New York, N.Y. 10020.