SUPER BOWL XIX
The Niners are the true champions of the NFL (The Niners Were Never Finer, Jan. 28). I was among the doubters as they plowed their way through a marshmallow schedule and two underwhelming opponents in the NFC playoffs. But their mastery of a good Dolphin team ranks as one of the best performances in Super Bowl history.
I do, however, think that talk of a San Francisco dynasty is a bit premature. After all, this is essentially the same team that folded following its 1981 championship. The 49ers' running game is considerably better, but their defense is pretty much the same. Everyone can agree that it takes a very special team to repeat as champion. So far, only Vince Lombardi's Packers, Don Shula's Dolphins and Chuck Noll's Steelers have been able to do it. Bill Walsh can join their ranks by keeping soreheads like Ronnie Lott in line in 1985.
No wonder San Francisco won the Super Bowl. In EXTRA POINTS (Oct. 15) you took note of 49er owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr.'s audience with the Pope, who blessed a copy of the San Francisco schedule. It seems the Niners had some outside help.
Mason City, Pa.
In reading your article The Niners Were Never Finer, I noticed the No. 20 on the back of Dan Marino's helmet. The other Dolphins also had that number on their helmets. Why?
New Berlin, Wis.
•The Dolphins dedicated last season to the memory of David Overstreet, the running back who died in an automobile accident on June 24, 1984. His number was 20.—ED.
Thank you for the terrific article on Bert Blyleven. Despite his injuries he has been one of the most consistent pitchers in baseball. I sure hope the Cleveland management doesn't let him go as it did other guys who "weren't good enough to pitch for the Indians": John Denny (National League Cy Young Award winner in 1983) and Rick Sutcliffe (same honor in '84).
I commend Curry Kirkpatrick for his insightful article A Dukeout That Left Carolina Blue (Jan. 28), but I take exception to one point he made. The story makes it seem as if Duke was consistently mediocre between the Vic Bubas—era of the mid-1960s and the present team. How can one forget the Blue Devils' powerhouses of the late 1970s, most of all the squad that was the runner-up in the 1978 NCAA tournament and had three players who ended up in the NBA. I was there the evening North Carolina stalled against Duke for the entire first half and trailed 7-0 at the midway point of a 47-40 loss. That's one way to admit an opponent's overwhelming power, isn't it?
N. Miami, Fla.
Perhaps Duke fans need to be thankful Coach didn't follow Vic Bubas's advice and "worry about anybody else or their program."
The North Carolina basketball program will always be a standard by which others can only hope to be measured. The proof: In the last 18 years the Tar Heels have won the ACC championship nine times and finished second the other seven years. In the past 10 years North Carolina has been the only school in the nation to field a team in every NCAA tourney.
Now you can see why some say, "It's hard to find a humble Tar Heel."
I noticed that the covers of your Jan. 14 (right) and Jan. 21 (left) issues had Dan Marino on them. I also noticed that both photographs were taken by Walter Iooss Jr. and that in them Marino's left hand was in the same position and his right thigh pad had a grass stain on it.
I bet my brother that the photos were taken during the same play of the same game. Would you please settle this for us?
North Andover, Mass.
•It is the same play. Iooss shot the two pictures less than a second apart—perhaps as little as one-fourteenth of a second apart—on Jan. 6 in Miami during the AFC championship game between the Dolphins and Steelers.—ED.
Letters should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and be addressed to The Editor, SHORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.