As usual, your College & Pro Football Spectacular (Sept. 4) had more than enough good reading for any dedicated pigskin fan: John Underwood's insights on the college game's metamorphosis, Paul Zimmerman's erudite pro picks, tasty new tidbits from Rick Reilly and Jill Lieber, and Curry Kirkpatrick's fresh perspective on the well-documented life of Joe Montana.
Unfortunately, it also included what has become your annual bozo Top 20 pick: Notre Dame, this year at No. 15. Allow me to remind you of your recent mistakes: In 1981 you had the Irish in fifth place; in 1982 you ranked them 16th; and you rated them 10th in '83 and '84. Yet in none of those four years did the Irish finish in either wire service's Top 20. I hope that your closing comment for this year—"If they don't [win eight or nine games], Faust is history"—will prove accurate. Irish football fans and SI pigskin pickers have suffered long enough.
THOMAS J. PRENDERGAST
St. Petersburg, Fla.
Curry Kirkpatrick's article You've Cot It Made, JoeMontana was the best I've ever read on the game's finest quarterback.
We in San Francisco have known how special Joe is for a long time, but it took Joe's demolition of Wonder Boy Dan Marino in Super Bowl XIX for the rest of the country to catch on. Joe may live in Southern California six months of the year, but when he puts on No. 16, he leaves no doubt where his real loyalties lie.
MARILYN B. POLACCI
September 8, 1985
Whatever you pay Curry Kirkpatrick, it's not enough! His article on Joe Montana—er, excuse me, JoeMontana—was great. I don't usually follow the 49ers or Montana, but I always follow Kirkpatrick. His ability to make any story interesting amazes me.
Great article on JoeMontana, except for one thing: Please tell Curry Kirkpatrick that nobody from San Francisco calls it Frisco.
THE GALLOPING GHOST
Three cheers for John Underwood for his article on Red Grange (Was He The Greatest Of All Time?). I learned so much about a man I never saw play that I feel I almost know him.
Grange's humble, quiet, yet strong outlook on football, sports in general and life should be a lesson to us all. Three cheers, and more, for Red, one of the greatest men ever to share his God-given talent with the rest of us.
For those who may not be able to fully comprehend Red Grange's feats, here are some more facts and figures.
Grange was indeed a high school standout. From 1918 through 1921, Grange averaged 19 points a game for Wheaton. In his junior year he scored 255 points in eight games, a 31.9 average. These are still Illinois prep football records, as is his career PAT total of 82. In one game against Naperville in his junior year, Grange scored eight touchdowns and had 11 PATs.
Of the 75 career touchdowns Grange scored, he got 36 of them his junior year. Unfortunately, rushing records weren't kept at the time, but you get the idea.
THE BYU APPROACH
As an avid BYU fan and former Mormon missionary, I enjoyed Gary Smith's excellent article on Cougar players now serving missions (A Season For Spreading The Faith). Smith's depiction of mission life was realistic and unbiased. I hope it dispels the myth that BYU "stashes away" players on missions to gain a competitive edge.
I served in Guatemala and saw poverty similar to that described. I experienced a culture shock much like Scott Peterson's and wondered at times if I had made the right decision. Eventually, however, the satisfaction of working with those who accepted our message more than offset the occasional homesickness.
I have always viewed my mission as one of my greatest experiences. Three years from now, I would love to see you do a follow-up article on the progress of the three players you profiled.
San Ramon, Calif.
The article skimmed over or completely overlooked some issues that concern the BYU athletic program. Not all missionaries live in conditions like those found in Bolivia. Many live in this country. The article treated only lightly the issue of the stockpiling of athletic talent.
The BYU athletic program has a reputation in the Western Athletic Conference for having good athletes and usually good teams but also some of the worst whiners and hotheads in the country. As a local Salt Lake City radio personality suggested at a LaVell Edwards celebrity roast last winter, Edwards should have a bronze figure made of the two items that were more important to BYU's undefeated record last year than Glen Kozlowski's hands or Robbie Bosco's arm. That would be the hands of a BYU offensive lineman firmly grasping a defensive lineman's jersey.
Objection! Objection! Is your special football preview a Mormon propaganda issue or an honest-to-goodness pure football issue? Gary Smith's article is out of place, irrelevant and immaterial in a football magazine.
MRS. CHARLES DOMOS
Your College & Pro Football Spectacular was indeed spectacular. N. Brooks Clark's article (...And Win Just One For The Gipper) on pep talks made me think of what Maryland's Bobby Ross must have told his Terps last year when they trailed Miami 31-0 at halftime. I am curious as to what Ross said because the Terps weathered the Hurricanes and won 42-40 in one of the greatest comebacks in history.
•Ross said at the time that he told them, "We are going to practice under the lights tonight as soon as we get back if we don't play harder. I don't care about the score, but we better play harder."—ED.
A ROSE FOR REILLY
Regarding Rick Reilly's story on Pete Rose (On Deck For The Big Knock, Aug. 19), I am not given to fan letters, but here's one to the author, not the subject. This is one of the most fluid, most creative examples of word imagery I've read since the halcyon days of Red Smith.
Reilly's metaphors and his choice of verbs and adjectives are masterful. If I were conducting a seminar on writing, I could use his article as my textbook.
MORTON H. ROTH
GOLF'S NEW GIRL
Congratulations to Barry McDermott for his article (The Lady Is A Scamp, Aug. 19) about Muffin Spencer-Devlin. I have known her personally and professionally since the day she started on the LPGA Tour and can honestly say she has more facets than Elizabeth Taylor's engagement rings.
But despite all the flimflammery and put-ons, Spencer-Devlin is one of the hardest workers on the women's tour. She devotes almost all her waking moments to improving her golf game. Youngsters reading the article should not be put off; it's the total devotion to her craft that made it possible for her to finally win her first tournament right after your story came out (the MasterCard International Pro-Am: $30,000 first-prize money). It was a triumph for the nicest hyphenate you'll ever meet.
ALLAN H. KALMUS
New York City
THE RAMS' RIFLE
Thank you for answering the question "Whatever happened to Ralph (now Dieter) Brock?" (A Rifle Wrapped In An Enigma, Aug. 19). When I was a student at Auburn I watched a freshman game in which Brock played. On one play he faded back to his own 20 and released a pass that looked as if it had been shot out of a cannon. The receiver caught the ball crossing the goal line. Everyone sat kind of stunned for a second or two and then cheered.
With that arm of his, I always wondered why Brock didn't play pro ball. Now I know that he did, and that he isn't through yet. Thanks.
ORVILLE E. BACH JR.
Yellowstone National Park
If you want to see a real star quarterback, one who could throw the ball 60 yards right into the receiver's hands six times a game, then look for a Notre Dame product named Tom Clements. He was the one who was traded from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for Dieter Brock. The Hamilton brass is still kicking itself for that trade.
In regard to Paul Zimmerman's scouting reports (College & Pro Football Spectacular) and the signing of 360-pound William (Refrigerator) Perry (below left) by the Chicago Bears, the sportscasters and sportswriters I'm familiar with report that Perry is the biggest player they've ever seen. However, wasn't there a lineman by the name of Don Bingaman who played for the Detroit Lions in the 1950s and weighed more than 400 pounds?
•You're thinking of Les Bingaman (below right). According to the Lions, his top playing weight (1948-54) was 335.—ED.
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