BEATING A DEAD BALL
It would certainly seem to me a magazine of your high caliber would check the facts before printing anything like your statement in FOOTBALL'S WEEK (Sept. 27) about the pass-and-pitch play executed by Kirby Moore, Pat Hodgson and Bob Taylor. If you think Bear Bryant is the kind of coach who wouldn't make himself heard if he thought such a play was illegal, your reporter hasn't learned his way around the SEC yet.
There never was any question of the play's legality, before or after the films were shown. Perhaps it was just too tough to print the facts after your previous week's article on the "unbeatable" Tide. At least be fair to a good Georgia team that is playing more on spirit and desire than real ability and give credit where it is so truly deserved.
JANE C. SCHWEERS
The pass play that won the game for Georgia should not have been dead on the 35. One of the officials, as shown in your sequence picture No. 4, was right on top of the play. He was quite able to detect what happened. He ruled correctly that Hodgson caught and flipped the ball back in one motion without ever having full possession. He did not, as you claim, have possession when his knees touched the ground.
The matter of Hodgson's knees touching the ground was completely irrelevant, since he never had possession of the ball, but deflected it (not a lateral) to Taylor, who went in for the touchdown.
WILLIAM T. DAWSON
Granted the No. 3 frame in your picture sequence gives the appearance that Hodgson is holding the ball, I believe if you look closely at a slow-motion showing of the game film, omitting no frames, you will see that in order to bat a pass it is necessary for both hands to make contact for an instant. This does not constitute possession of the ball.
•After a careful review of the pictures, we can only reaffirm our opinion that Hodgson had possession of the ball when his knee touched the ground and that the ball should have been dead on the 35-yard line.—ED.
Congratulations to Jack Olsen on his keen insight and masterful treatment of some of the many and often misrepresented facets of professional football (How Smart Is Too Smart?, Sept. 27). That the article is about Dr. Frank Ryan, one of the game's most deserving and most misunderstood players, makes it all the more a classic sports feature.
Ryan is truly a remarkable man in his chosen field. However, Olsen is even more broadly astute in his. The manner in which he weaved and threaded, checked and blocked all the way through to a fine conclusion without once maligning a single soul (even where obviously warranted) is the mark of a dedicated and sincere sports-writer.
Olsen's skill in oiling troubled waters with a pen should earn him a nomination for commissioner. Barring that, I certainly hope he continues to turn out enlightening articles on other outstanding NFLers.
ROBERT C. WEEKLY
A deft piece of writing. Mr. Olsen's ability to take a highly intricate subject—mathematics—and humanize it to a degree of easy, comfortable reading for the layman is to be commended.
IRA B. HARKEY III
Speaking of "brainy but immature" quarterbacks (that's how your Sept. 13 Scouting Report describes St. Louis Cardinal signal-caller Charley Johnson), I think it only fair to point out that recently Johnson hurled six TD passes, one shy of the NFL mark, to lead the Big Red to a smashing 49-13 rout of Dr. Frank Ryan and the defending champion Cleveland Browns. We Cardinal football fans trust that SI will now recognize "Chucking" Charley for his maturity as well as his brains.
If you are going to write about a pro quarterback, why not Bart Starr of the Packers? First you write a feature on Y.A. Tittle and now Frank Ryan. Starr is the most underrated quarterback in either league. Ask the best coach—Vince Lombardi.
"The Packers," you say, "came back in the second half for a 41-9 victory and underlined their rating as the best team in football" (Those Fearsome New Packers, Sept. 27). It may well be that this lopsided-conquest did more to establish Pittsburgh's rating as one of the worst teams in football.
Isn't it about time NFL supporters realize that a growing number of fans no longer accept a team's claim to national superiority merely because that team shows well in National League playgrounds? Let them prove their right to thrust their noses in the air by actually rubbing the noses of the AFL champs into the turf in gridiron battle.
DON J. HUMAN
I read with interest Tex Maule's article about the "fearsome" Packers. Since Maule and Lombardi are such vehement knockers of the AFL and the article emphasized the Packers' drafting programs, I would like to cite a few facts.
In 1964 the Packers drafted and failed to sign the following "top" players: Larry Elkins, drafted second, signed by Houston, and Alphonse Dotson, drafted third, signed by Kansas City. In 1963 the Packers lost three of their top choices to the AFL: Jon Morris, drafted second, signed by Boston; Ode Burrell, drafted third, signed by Houston; and Joe O'Donnell, drafted third (trade from Giants), signed by Buffalo.
And speaking of young quarterbacks with the "equipment," the Packers also drafted and failed to sign Daryle Lamonica of the Buffalo Bills.
For a league which Maule and Lombardi often criticize, the AFL seems to have acquired quite a few players that were highly regarded by Mr. Lombardi.
Lake Worth, Fla.
Your praises of Lloyd Cardwell as the college football "legend" of the Midwest (Scouting Reports, Sept. 20) fell on the very receptive ears of one who often spent his dollar to sit in the end zone of the University of Nebraska stadium and watch The Wild Hoss rampage back in the '30s. Although he could not do anything but run, there was no one else to match him in that. However, even though The Wild Hoss was a boyhood hero, I must reject your implication that Jay Berwanger owes his greater reputation to a better publicist. I was lucky enough to see that 1935 Chicago-Nebraska game and came away with the feeling that in Berwanger I had seen a real All-America. Despite the fact that his ineffectual teammates could neither block nor tackle with any degree of skill and even dropped perfectly executed passes thrown to wide-open receivers in the end zone, never once did he give less than 100% of himself and an equal amount of leadership to the other Chicago players. He was truly magnificent.
The Wild Hoss need apologize to no one, but Jay Berwanger was his peer.
KENNETH F. HANST JR.
Equally spectacular as "the block" was "the tackle" Harrison Stafford made on Cy Leland in the 1930 Texas-TCU game. Leland was the conference sprint champion, and the year before TCU had beaten us 15-12 on his kickoff return for a touchdown. In the 1930 game Texas was forced to punt early in the third quarter. Leland fielded the punt and took off. Stafford met him head on, and Leland was tossed in the air like a matador being tossed by a bull. Grover (Ox) Emerson (later a star pro guard) caught him in midair, and poor Cy had to be carried off the field on a stretcher.
Stafford said that Leland tried to sidestep just before they made contact, and it resulted in Stafford hitting with his head instead of his shoulder. That was the last thing Stafford remembered about the game, although he wasn't taken out and went on to score the winning touchdown in the fourth quarter. To hear Ernie Koy (senior) tell it, that wasn't the only time Stafford played by "instinct."
Eagle Lake, Texas
Your blend of the present with the past in the college football issue provided a sentimental journey for all of us who have followed the game down through the years.
The National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame
New Brunswick, N.J.
In connection with your story The Prince of Pittsburgh (Sept. 13), I know of a very big plus on Bob Prince's side which proves there really is something new in baseball. Bob provided the quarterbacking for The Hutchinson Foundation, an organization sponsored by the writers, radio and TV announcers on the major league beat. Bob's committee will 1) provide an annual $1,000 scholarship to a medical student in cancer research selected by Dr. William Hutchinson, brother of the late Fred Hutchinson—in whose memory the foundation was founded—and 2) select one major leaguer each season who best exemplifies Hutch's fighting spirit on the field of play. Bob and his committee (three baseball writers and one other announcer) already have raised enough money to underwrite the foundation's scholarship for the first three years.
One of your letters-to-the-editor writers has obviously misinterpreted Sailor Corny Shields's philosophy of boat racing (19TH HOLE, Sept. 20). Contrary to the opinion expressed by him, Corny has for many, many years been an ardent supporter of complete one-design classes, and the more of them, in his opinion, the better. Those that he has founded and the many dozens in which he has raced support this. He believes that one-design classes are the finest of all training grounds for skippers and crews, provided the boats are completely one-design and no tolerances or variances whatsoever are permitted. He believes, however, that helmsmen should not confine their activities to one class entirely but should, on occasion, seek opportunities to prove their talents in severe competition wherever and as often as they can. They should not be satisfied being big frogs in small ponds but endeavor to prove their abilities in larger ones. For that reason Shields has regularly expressed admiration for sailors like Bud Melges, Bobby Mosbacher and his own son, Corny Jr., all of whom are constantly willing to race in anything against anybody at any time.
As for Corny's suggestion that the America's Cup series be sailed in sizable one-design boats in order to eliminate fiascos like 1958 and 1964, Shields stated in his recent book that something practical and economical must be done to preserve and develop interest in this legendary series. He predicts that this change may come about in the relatively near future, and your letter writer may well see it, if not in one-design boats then probably through a creation built at the top of the present Cruising Club rule, with perhaps an addition in sail area. Such boats would be as fast and as glamorous as the 12s, and would, in Corny's opinion, excite sizable interest in new boat construction, because they would enjoy a good after-market for many years for cruising and offshore racing. At least they would not lie in sheds covered with dust as the 12s do after their brief period of glory and enormous cost.
ROBERT G. GARDNER