Publish date:

The Question: Otto Graham of the Cleveland Browns wrote in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED in October that football is getting too vicious. On the basis of the season's games, do you agree?

Former coach
"Yes. The 'pile-up' is where most players are injured. It's intentional and can be avoided. That's vicious football. Officials don't call this as often as they call 'clipping.' And it's a more dangerous practice. Players do as much piling up in college games as they do in pro football."

THEODORE R. McKELDIN, Annapolis, Md.
Governor of Maryland
"No. I like the hard brand of football that Army, Navy and the University of Maryland play. It's rough, but not vicious. I've been going to games for years. Seldom have I seen really 'vicious' playing. Football will always be rough. The boys are taught to hit hard. It's the test of a man."

OLLIE OLIPHANT, New Canaan, Conn.
West Point's greatest All-America halfback
"You have to be vicious to win football games. What's the use of kidding? Nice guys finish last. In the Army-Navy game, the Navy players used to hit me so hard that you'd think I had just kicked one of their mothers in the stomach. I didn't gripe like Graham. I hit just as hard."

REAR ADMIRAL W. F. BOONE, Annapolis. Md.
Supt. U.S. Naval Academy
"No. Football has never been a game for weaklings. The Naval Academy plays tough, rough football. Our opponents play the same kind of game. We like hard, contact sports and emphasize them. We know from long experience that they help in developing sportsmanship, character and leadership."

CHUCK CONERLY, Quarterback,
N.Y. Football Giants
"Yes, in a legal way. I was hurt in the Cleveland game when I got caught between three, men weighing a total of 746 pounds. But it was legal. Maybe a rule to protect the passer would be in order. Men like Y. A. Tittle, Bobby Layne and Otto Graham are each worth a million dollars to pro football."

CHARLES S. THOMAS, Los Angeles, Calif.
Secretary of the Navy
"No. I've seen many rough football games, but I've never seen rougher, tougher football than I saw in this year's Army-Navy classic. But it wasn't vicious. A game as hard fought might provoke viciousness, but there were few penalties. This is a true test of sportsmanship."

First vice pres. & gen. mgr. N.Y. Times
"No, not when teams play in their class. I'm a Princeton man. Yale played Army before playing us. Yale is not in Army's class. The players took a lot of punishment in a one-sided game. Conceivably this could have weakened the team for its annual game with Princeton which Yale lost 21-14."

RAY KROUSE, Co-Captain
N.Y. Football Giants
"No. It's rough, not vicious. After Graham's article in SI the only change was a tightening up by the officials. The Rams ruined us by knocking Gifford and Rote out in one play. But it wasn't dirty. If the rules prohibited getting up and running after being tackled, there'd be less piling on."