Your Oct. 3 issue took the SI jinx to a whole new level. High-flying cover boy Ronnie Belliard and the Indians lost six of seven and missed the playoffs. And articles on Michigan State (A Spartan's Revenge), Minnesota (A Golden Gopher) and the Patriots (Brady Time) all preceded disappointing losses. How do you guys do it?
John Oelschlager, Alexandria, Va.
As a hockey player and fan, I am excited about the new NHL and its rule changes (NHL PREVIEW, Oct. 3). I am sorry, however, that the league did not, during this period of reinvention, do something about its fighting problem. Ice hockey is a game of speed, strategy and finesse. An ejection, suspension or fine should be added on top of the current five-minute fighting penalty.
Noah Breuer, Berkeley, Calif.
Hockey may be back, but the NHL still doesn't get it. While the new ultra-unbalanced schedule may save on travel costs and please coaches, it certainly isn't fan-friendly. Ask a season-ticket holder in Minnesota who has shelled out thousands to see Vancouver three times in October but this season will never see Sidney Crosby and the Penguins, Peter Forsberg and the Flyers or the Stanley Cup champion Lightning on the ice in St. Paul.
Peter Albrecht, Mobile
The Greatest One
In SI's scouting report on the Pittsburgh Penguins (Oct. 3), Kostya Kennedy writes that Mario Lemieux is "the dominant scorer in NHL history." Before this season started, Wayne Gretzky had 894 goals in his NHL career to Lemieux's 683. Gretzky had 1,963 assists to Lemieux's 1,018. That brings their total points to 2,857 for Gretzky and 1,701 for Lemieux. How does that make Lemieux the dominant scorer?
Richard Kerr, Greendale, Wis.
In your Oct. 3 issue you referred to Tom Brady as the best player in the NFL (Brady Time). In your season preview (Sept. 5) you rated him ninth among quarterbacks and No. 37 overall. As one who thinks the more recent reference is on the mark, my advice would be to reevaluate the criteria you use for your Player Value Rankings. Any system that concludes that Brady is less valuable than Trent Green, Marc Bulger, Kerry Collins, J.J. Arrington, Domanick Davis and Reggie Wayne is seriously flawed.
James Day, Silverton, Ore.
The best player in the NFL? That distinction belongs to the Indianapolis Colts' two-time NFL MVP, Peyton Manning, who has no equal.
Scott Seeley, Boardman, Ohio
You wrote enthusiastically about quarterback Drew Stanton and Michigan State's high-octane offense (A Spartan's Revenge, Oct. 3), but that offense accounted for exactly three second-half points against Michigan. In the overtime session Stanton had zero first downs and nearly threw two picks. After that performance the closest he will get to the Heisman Trophy is stopping by the football building in Ann Arbor and looking at trophies won by past Wolverines.
Scott Bunn, Grand Haven, Mich.
A Man in Full
Bobby Martin, the high school football player who was born with no legs, is an embodiment of sports excellence (LIFE OF REILLY, Oct. 3). He has the ability to elevate himself, against the odds, to be the best he can through sheer will and desire. Isn't it remarkable that a man with no legs can stand taller than everyone else around him?
Mike Williams, Liberty, N.Y.
As a middle school teacher the challenge is constant: How can I convey to kids the infinite and precious possibilities of their lives? On the wall of my seventh-grade classroom there now hangs the LEADING OFF (Oct. 3) picture of Bobby Martin with the caption: "Think you can't do it? Think again." I hope this young athlete knows how many he's inspired.
Sarah Doyle, Natick, Mass.
Martin's story is indeed inspirational, but I found it quite unnecessary, if not unprofessional, to publicly skewer crew chief Dennis Daly for ruling that Martin couldn't play because he wasn't wearing shoes, knee pads or thigh pads. While I, too, disagree with Daly's call to not permit Bobby to continue playing, I suspect that this "whistle-worshipping, self-important stiff" who is allegedly "without brains" was primarily concerned with ensuring Bobby's and the other athletes' safety. Unlike SI's readers, Daly was not privy to Bobby's life history. This story could have been told without making Daly appear to be a villain.
Thomas Higham, Charlottesville, Va.
SI's New Face
Congratulations: Your new look is clean and easy to read. Thanks for the improvement. Our magazine is fun again.
Le Roy A. Loder, Tucson
T for Two?
So Terrell Owens may marry Felisha Terrell (SCORECARD, Oct, 3). I assume he will adopt his wife's surname, because doing so would make his marriage, like his career, all about Terrell.
Gerry Swider, Sherman Oaks, Calif.
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