MONOPOLY IN THE AFTERNOON
According to you, college football now has a videotape gadget for instant discovery of "the opponent's defensive spacings and secondary adjustments" (SCORECARD, Oct. 11). Humph! I say. Humph! and harumph!
Wasn't it bad enough that we had binoculared little men sitting in the press box telephoning down to the bench, and coaches sending plays in by the shuttle system and shortwave, and team films that are studied and diagramed all week long, and innumerable other techniques for taking the game out of the hands of the natural athletes on the field and putting it into the hands of pot-bellied, bald-headed, 53-year-old coaches pushing buttons on the sidelines?
This videotape business should be thrown the hell out. What is going to happen to the little schools that can't afford $25,000 worth of electronic equipment? Will future scouting reports point out that "Dormant State U. opens strong but tends to bog down in the second half because of inferior video equipment"? Will RCA buy Fordham and make it No. 1 in the nation by overpowering the other teams in electronic know-how?
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED must continue to speak up against such absurdities on behalf of the millions of us squares who like our sport au naturel, minus gimmickry and gewgaws. We want the game returned to the athletes who take the knocks and the fractures. There is a popular argument to the effect that a superscientific age is inevitably going to be reflected in superscientific sport. But inevitability is no defense. Ketchup was inevitable, too, but I don't see your food editors recommending it.
College football's Establishment (i.e., its coaches and athletic directors) is trying to turn a rugged, graceful competition into a life-size Parker Brothers game in which each coach can roll the dice, pass Go, collect $200 and get an extra throw to prove his genius and manliness at the expense of the players. I say take their toys away from them; let them teach the game during the week and turn it over to the players on Saturday, the way the good Lord intended.
Congratulations on your insight into the Purdue-Notre Dame game (Oh, That Griese Kid Stuff! Oct. 4). You're right, it could just as easily have been 32-7 as 25-21. But c'mon, Dan Jenkins, some of us Boilermakers can walk, chew gum and proclaim "We're No. 1," all three at the same time. There are a few guys who can do the jerk and I even know of a guy here who had a date last Saturday with a girl! As far as needing a compass to find Chez Paul—aw, Mr. Jenkins, that one really hurt.
Nevertheless, we hereby humbly invite you to join us on the Theta Chi Fraternity Club Car to the Rose Bowl. We will leave the "dull-red buildings on the plain of West Lafayette, Ind." on the 27th day of December 1965. If Dan Jenkins can make it back to New York still thinking we're a bunch of engineers, well, I'll eat my slide rule.
West Lafayette, Ind.
After reading your beautifully written piece of satire concerning Purdue University, I wish to make sure that the rest of America interprets it correctly.
First of all, Purdue is uniquely a living demonstration that truly intellectual, down-to-earth people still exist in what has become a pseudointellectual world. If you will note, this is the 20th century. The study of science and technology has made a place for itself on an equal plane with philosophy.
Moreover, large industrial, urban areas such as Gary, Ind. would have fewer headaches if their young "adults" would stop doing the jerk (which you mentioned as one of the signs of "coolness" at Northwestern, Michigan, etc.) and transmit their energy to some good old-fashioned book-learning.
Since I am not a blonde, I could not qualify for Golden Girl, but I am a B-average political science major, date a Boilermaker, do the jerk and live on a farm. I am proud of it and of Purdue.
Miss Purdue 1965
West Lafayette, Ind.
Speaking of the jerk, I think Dan Jenkins should receive the All-American Jerk-of-the-Week Award. I'll bet he can't even chew gum, let alone "chew gum and walk at the same time."
West Lafayette, Ind.
A campus of dull-red brick buildings? Dan Jenkins should have stuck around for the Victory Varieties after the game and seen our 6,000-plus-seat Hall of Music with the perfect acoustics, set off at night by a lighted fountain near the entrance.
He should have tried a tour of the marble-walled, spacious Memorial Center with its libraries, art work, auditoriums and theaters. He missed the modern new Krannert Building and the Graduate House housing boys and girls under the same roof. How's that for "cooled out"?
At old Purdue, it's first class all the way. Our kids are schooled as well as cooled. I'm proud just being the town half of this town-and-gown community.
Darn it though, I did miss the Golden Girl. Even us hay shakers go for that.
West Lafayette, Ind.
That Saturday, Purdue engineered an end to Ara's era at Notre Dame, and that was no social mistake!
West Lafayette, Ind.
In 1899 I was a quarterback on Purdue's varsity. Since then I have followed the team—always trusting each year that we would have a team that would top them all.
As a subscriber to your magazine ever since it was first published I have sometimes thought your eastern sportswriters could not see over the Alleghenies, but now, after reading Oh, That Griese Kid Stuff! I'll never have another such critical thought. Dan Jenkins should have a medal for his well-written and accurate account of the game.
FRED L. WATERMAN
Coles Phinizy's article about Dr. Eugenie Clark and her "fish friends" was fascinating (Lady with a Fishy Reputation, Oct. 4). I don't believe she will ever have to worry about sharks. She is so pretty they would just swim around her in pure admiration.
M vs. M
There have been many interesting articles in SI concerning the two best baseball players in the major leagues—Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays. I suppose one of the most controversial issues of today is which is the greater ballplayer. I would favor Mays. The quality of Willie Mays is not to be measured with steel tape or slide rule or statistics. Even though a statistical case could be set up for him, it is not in the numbers that you will find this man's greatness. It lies, rather, within him—in a quality of impending excitement, like Vesuvius just before she blows her top.
Willie Mays is never predictable. He may turn a game upside down with his bat, his glove, his arm or his legs. Even when we learn to anticipate all these talents, still he continues to amaze and confound us. To me he is the most exciting player in the game of baseball.
MARC STEPHEN SILVERS
In his article The College Game Is Best (Sept. 20) John Underwood makes a particularly significant point when he says, "There is no such thing as a goal-line stand in pro football, because every team has a kicker." I have a recommendation that I believe would bring back the excitement of that last-ditch action in both the college and pro games.
If a team begins its series of four downs within the 10-yard line, it would be permitted to attempt a field goal only on the first down. If it begins a series between the 10- and 20-yard lines, it would be permitted to attempt a field goal only on first or second down. If the team begins between the 20- and 30-yard lines, it would be permitted to attempt a field goal only on first, second or third down.
The benefits are obvious: a team beginning a series of four downs within the 10-yard line would have to decide immediately whether it would go for the three points or not. The team would not be permitted to make three unsuccessful touchdown attempts and then partially recoup its failure with a fourth-down field goal. If a team chose not to attempt a field goal on first down, fans could enjoy the suspense of knowing that the offense had now committed itself to score a touchdown. They would witness either a brilliant goal-line stand or a touchdown, not three magnificent defensive efforts plus one anticlimactic, automatic field goal.
Each first down a team earned would renew the opportunity to go for a field goal. Thus, from the 20- to 30-yard lines a team would have two plays in which to move the ball forward before attempting a field goal. If the team moved the ball forward (or advanced by penalty) to a first down between the 10- and 20-yard lines, it would once again have the opportunity to attempt a field goal, but this time only on first or second down.
It is good that innovations in the game come slowly, but we have waited too long for a revision in the field-goal rules. For instance, critics of the game have long advocated a rule change that would return the ball to the original line of scrimmage after a missed field-goal attempt. I agree, and I believe such a change, together with my recommendation, would result in a better game.
RICHARD N. DEGUNTHER