It is not the quarterbacks who are the problem in the NFL (A Wing and a Prayer, Nov. 04), it is the unimaginative coaches who are holding down scoring and the number of big plays. Something is wrong with a league that doesn't have room for a crowd-pleasing talent like Doug Flutie. Then he goes to Canada and breaks passing records. Who cares if his throws don't have a perfect spiral?
The NFL should adopt the larger dimensions of the Canadian Football League field. Who knows, maybe we could have a Super Bowl that equaled a good World Series game for drama and excitement.
Teams use high draft picks to acquire star quarterbacks and pay them megabucks. They then protect their investments with whatever linemen are left in the late rounds of the draft, or whatever castoffs come up on the waiver wire. Failure to provide a first-rate line to protect a team's lifeblood player strikes me as a case of penny-wise and pound-foolish.
LAWRENCE E. STARBUCK
Thank you for the wonderful article about Dan Marino of the Dolphins (His Time Is Passing, Nov. 4). The 1991 World Series should give every pro athlete hope that a turnaround season can be accomplished overnight. I hope Marino will have the opportunity to add "winning quarterback of a Super Bowl" to his achievements.
BETH E. CECIL
December 16, 1991
Marco Lokar's Decision
What alleged patriots did to Marco Lokar and his family was completely unreasonable (In Pursuit of Peace, Nov. 4). There was nothing wrong with Lokar's decision not to wear the U.S. flag during Operation Desert Storm when he was playing for Seton Hall. Something is wrong when we run people out of the country just because they won't wear a flag on a basketball jersey.
A man who follows the tenets of Jesus in a manner rarely found in this nation plays for a church-related school against another church-related school in a country that espouses individual freedom. He makes a rather low-key antiwar statement, and his wife receives death threats. Is there no courage at Seton Hall? Does moral teaching at St. John's stop at courtside? There is not much cause for pride in any of this.
RICHARD H. GROSS
Sullivans Island, S. C.
Last year, as a high school basketball coach, I dismissed a girl from my team for refusing to wear the American flag on her uniform during the gulf war. After reading the article on Lokar, I would like to apologize in print. I now see the error in my decision. I was confusing patriotism with blind faith. Thank you, Marco Lokar. You are truly a man to admire.
As a Seton Hall alumnus, I take issue with your suggestion that the students were not principled because they did not support Lokar's antiwar beliefs. When I attended Seton Hall from 1960 to '64, the school placed a great emphasis on Judeo-Christian ethics. It could be asserted that this atmosphere fostered a highly principled and religious young man like Lokar. Simply because the majority of students did not openly support his views docs not mean that they were any less principled—just that they held different beliefs.
G. CHRISTIAN VOLZ
Basking Ridge, N.J.
The Worst Teams?
I hope David Rothman's list of the 10 worst college football teams (SCORECARD, Nov. 11) gave your readers a good laugh. As a former player for Principia College (No. 672 on the list, sixth from the bottom), I don't appreciate your ridiculing the efforts of student-athletes who play the game for fun while actually getting an education. Perhaps Rothman should run some numbers on how my teammates fared in terms of graduation rate, advanced degrees earned and success in the workplace versus their counterparts at Oklahoma, Miami, Auburn etc.
Tribute to Tark
A photo on page 126 of your Nov. 11 issue caught my attention. It showed Larry Johnson of the Charlotte Hornets, and I noticed that his jersey number was 2. Earlier this year I saw the Atlanta Hawks play, and Stacey Augmon was wearing number 2. On another occasion I saw the New York Knicks play, and Greg Anthony, a third rookie out of UNLV, also wore number 2. Is there a story behind these former teammates' choosing number 2?
Newark Valley, N.Y.
•Johnson, Augmon and Anthony decided to wear the number in tribute to UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian, who has announced that this will be his last season with the Runnin' Rebels. The three players had heard that when Tarkanian played guard for Fresno State from 1953 to '55, he wore number 2. Tarkanian confirms that he used to wear that numeral, but says he wore others, too, which explains the photo above. "I was only a second string player," says Tark. "So on any given day they'd give me whatever number was available."—ED.
Letters to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and should be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020-1393.