Oct. 03, 2011
Oct. 03, 2011

Table of Contents
Oct. 3, 2011

  • The Bills are a shocking 3--0—take that, Pats!—thanks to a Harvard-bred quarterback and a spirit of togetherness that reflects their city

  • One of the game's true icons, a player so esteemed that the NFL's Man of the Year Award bears his name, Walter Payton retired in 1988 as pro football's alltime leading rusher. But even to those closest to him, he had always been an enigma, and in his final years the mysteries deepened



I think we should call the Braves' relievers the Wagner Boys. In his one season in Atlanta, closer Billy Wagner helped develop Craig Kimbrel, Jonny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty into the nastiest bullpen in baseball, all while leading the Braves to the 2010 NL wild card and having one of the best seasons of his career. The impact Wagner had on these guys is immeasurable.

This is an article from the Oct. 3, 2011 issue

Eric Brown, Atlanta

I have the perfect nickname for Atlanta's impregnable bullpen trio (Good and Nasty, Sept. 12): the Bermuda Triangle. Batters who venture into their zone are seldom heard from again (or at least not until the next game).

Michael Boehm

Huntington Beach, Calif.

While the Braves' bullpen might be good and nasty, the Phillies' relievers have the best save percentage in baseball: 84.9%, or 16.5 points higher than Atlanta's. I guess that makes Philadelphia's bullpen just plain good.

Ted Harrison, New Hope, Pa.

Hoops Equality

I was pleased to see Kelli Anderson's story on Diana Taurasi (The Trials of Diana Taurasi, Sept. 12) and the struggles that she has overcome in recent years. I also enjoyed reading how in Russia, female basketball players receive the same star treatment as the male basketball players in this country. I look forward to the day when WNBA players get the same recognition as NBA players.

Eric King, Newnan, Ga.

Coach for the Ages

After reading S.L. Price's article on Gary Patterson (The House of Dream Chasers, Sept. 12) and then observing him on the TCU sideline over the past few weeks, I must say he is truly a class act. Following the Horned Frogs' 35--19 dismantling of Air Force in Colorado Springs, Patterson gathered his players and had them stand as the Air Force alma mater was sung, a show of respect generally accorded the Falcons only by other service academies.

Jerry Neuner, Colorado Springs

While I appreciate Patterson's success and the way in which he has revitalized the TCU football program, I was saddened to read about the impact his career has had on his previous marriages and children. If this level of commitment is what is required for a coach's success, it is a harsh indictment of a culture that demands winning at all costs.

Paul Smith, Matthews, N.C.

Football Speak

I thoroughly enjoyed Joe Posnanski's column on football prose (POINT AFTER, Sept. 12). However, there was one term he didn't mention that I often have trouble with: vertically down the field. Whenever I hear it I envision a quarterback throwing the ball straight up, catching it and then running downfield as if he were on fire.

Russell Mielbrecht, Dayton

Posnanski's column reminded me of a word I see frequently, but only in sports-related articles: penultimate, as in a team's "penultimate loss." The first time I saw it I was so puzzled I had to look it up in the dictionary.

Raymond Tardif

Biddeford, Maine

Fans of Posnanski's column might want to consult Don DeLillo's 1972 novel, End Zone, which dramatizes the complicated relationship between ordinary language and football jargon. For example, the term end zone also has geographic, social, political and military implications.

Robert E. Kelley, Iowa City




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Which NFL player gets your MVP award for his Week 3 performance?

Ron Williamson: My vote goes to Drew Brees, for tying Dan Marino for third alltime in touchdown passes in consecutive games (30) and for helping the Saints score 23 points in their fourth-quarter comeback over the Texans, breaking the New Orleans record for points in the fourth quarter.

Brian Prince: Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz! Did you see that 74-yard touchdown reception he had against the Eagles? Simply amazing.

Scott Kitchen: Ryan Fitzpatrick (page 56) gets my vote for helping the Bills come back and beat the Patriots for the first time in eight years.

Brad Benike (@BBeNike): Packers strong safety Morgan Burnett for his two interceptions of the Bears' Jay Cutler.

Aj Enno: Packers tight end Jermichael Finley for his three touchdowns against Chicago. So much for the so-called NFL experts who said he wasn't going to have a great year.