In answer to a question in your Dec. 22 article, A Game Within a Game: no, I don't believe an AFL all-star team on which Daryle Lamonica didn't get a single vote. How could a quarterback possibly have a better year than Lamonica had?
Among other accomplishments Lamonica threw 34 touchdown passes during the season and, as he had done earlier in the Buffalo game, he threw six touchdown passes in the vital playoff game against Houston! Isn't that the name of the game?
If this evaluation of ability is indicative of the coaching skills of the assistant coaches who voted in this poll, then it is small wonder that the players whom they coached are not headed for the Super Bowl.
How could those assistant coaches overlook quarterbacks like Joe Kapp and the AFL's great rookie, Greg Cook? Kapp led his Vikings to the best record in the NFL and he deserves some credit for Gene Washington's shining achievements.
And how, by all the laws of sanity, can they leave Cook off? He led an expansion team to a fine season. He led Big Mouth Joe in passing and Joe has a better all-round team behind him. I demand a recount.
I am bewildered! Roman Gabriel your choice as the NFL's best quarterback! Is this the very same Roman Gabriel who, though protected by a line that led the league in protecting its passer, could finish no better than fourth place in passing and whose entire offensive unit finished a pathetic 12th in total offense? Is this the same Roman Gabriel, who, in a recent game against the Redskins, threw on first and second downs from the Skins' one-yard line in what Pat Summerall described sympathetically as "unusual" play selection? Since when does anyone need to pass against the Redskins to move the ball one yard in four tries?
Unless Gabe can take credit for the Ram defensive unit, I and several local writers are dumfounded by his support. Will those who supported Gabriel for MVP versus the likes of Carl Eller, Deacon Jones or even a Paul Warfield and those who placed him in front of Sonny Jurgensen for All-League please stand up and be heard?
RICHARD J. GEORGE Jr.
Palm Beach, Fla.
MR. ROBBIE'S FRIENDS
I want to introduce myself as a new partner of the Miami Dolphins. I joined with Joe Robbie in May of this year.
I just read the article This Man Fired Flipper (Dec. 15) by Mark Kram, and I find it the most distasteful reporting I have ever read in your magazine. This article is a onesided defamation of a man's character as represented by people who have had disagreements with Mr. Robbie, and in no way was there an attempt to even the score by printing the comments of those who know and are willing to talk about the positives of this man.
H. EARL SMALLEY
Chairman and President
A small "nonactionable" demurrer is hereby entered to a section of Mark Kram's story.
I advanced approximately $1,000—not $11,000—to cover player per-diem expenses for the Miami Dolphins' trip to San Diego in August of 1966.
A pardonable error, but, if uncorrected, the suspicion remains that Joe Robbie will consider it additional evidence of the "conspiracy" against him.
Buffalo Trotting Association
After reading Mark Kram's article I find myself pleased that Mr. Kram did not choose to become a judge in a court of law. If this article is any indication, looking fairly at both sides of a situation is not one of Mr. Kram's strong points.
Joe Robbie, as seen by Harry Q. Dolphin-fan, is many things. "An unheeled prairie lawyer," though, is hardly a fit description.
Not always the stablest franchise, the Miami Dolphins have always met their bills. How can Mr. Kram call the Dolphins' franchise "the cheapest in sports history" when in 1966, the first year of operation (and when still at war with the NFL), the Dolphins signed Kentucky's quarterback, Rick Norton, for $300,000 and Tennessee's linebacker, Frank Emanuel, for $400,000?
In an article in the Miami Herald on Dec. 13 Joe Robbie is quoted as saying, "I spoke to those people [from SI] in good faith. I even supplied them with the picture of Flipper and Danny Thomas that they used to illustrate the story. They told me an altogether different version of their story than it turned out to be. As it turned out, their product is irresponsible, inaccurate and totally unfair."
To hold Mr. Robbie responsible for everything from the young Dolphins' growing pains to the fact that he is Lebanese is ridiculous, and it shows that to print this article SI has to be bush.
According to the Herald article, your reporters interviewed Head Coach George Wilson and Quarterbacks Rick Norton and Bob Griese extensively, yet printed none of this. Mr. Robbie's good qualities, contrary to what you would think after reading the article, are many. The absence of any mention of them, on top of everything else, indeed, makes for an "irresponsible, inaccurate and totally unfair" article.
I would like to express my personal thanks to Mr. Robbie for giving Miami professional football. I'm sure many others share my sentiment. This man has stuck with the Dolphins through defeat after defeat. And he always has a fresh attitude toward each game. He isn't a loser. Miami wants a winner, and in a few years we will have one. Then whom will we have to thank for it? Joseph Robbie, that's who!
For Joe Robbie to leave little Sisseton, S. Dak. and become owner of the Miami Dolphins is incredible; for him to be castigated in a SPORTS ILLUSTRATED article is remarkable; for Mark Kram to write that biting article is regrettable.
My heartiest congratulations to you and Clive Gammon for the timely and extremely well-written article on the Danes' scourge of the Atlantic salmon (The Danes Scourge the Seas, Dec. 15).
As you know, the subject matter of this article is really not news to anyone who, for some time, has been interested in the fate of the Atlantic salmon. What is most important, however, is that you and Mr. Gammon have now very ably presented the case to the vast majority of the reading sportsmen of this country and, hopefully, to the reading and thinking sportsmen of the entire world. Hopefully this will result in an aroused public opinion that will force the Danes to abandon what can only be described as a most selfish policy. Such does not really seem to be their nature, but now is the time for them to publicly display a great deal more statesmanship in this matter than has heretofore been observed.
It may be of interest to you to know that I have fished the Alta River in Norway for the past two summers. The take there has been down from that of previous years and, almost without exception, the salmon taken by us evidenced, in varying degrees, successful encounters with the nets. It makes one wonder just how many of these great fish were not so successful.
I greatly applaud Clive Gammon. He has brought to light one of the worst conservation scandals, one that rivals the mass slaughter of ducks and geese by market hunters in the early part of this century.
Although the Danes seem very self-righteous, they are still destroying one of the best game fish known and don't seem to care as long as they make a profit. It seems they will go on doing this indefinitely, since no real pressure will be brought to bear. After all, the only country in the world that listens to protests and keeps its agreements is the United States.
JOHN S. ZIELINSKI
SEE NO EVIL
You had an excellent article in the Dec. 22 issue on the effects of television on sports (TV Made It All a New Game). I was particularly interested in your views on boxing. Although I am not old enough to remember the days of saturation telecasting of boxing, I realize how intense coverage could kill the sport. However, I don't agree that a fight of the week should not be televised now.
In televised fights only the top fighters are seen. Your theory is that this would cause people to avoid going to see local fighters of lesser stature, and thus the talent pools for boxing would dry up. But has television done this to other sports? College football and basketball draw huge crowds. Most teams play seasons close to .500, yet people still go to their games, even though games like Arkansas-Texas or UCLA-Purdue are televised. Saturation coverage of pro football has certainly not hurt attendance at any level.
My point is that seeing the best play on television has enhanced, not hurt, the popularity of those sports. A fan in Los Angeles is familiar with most of the players on the East Coast, yet this does not stop him from supporting his home teams. Yet in boxing, where usually only the top heavyweights are seen on television, the average sports fan can probably name only a handful of the present champions, if any.
A sport is hurt at all levels when its best players are kept from the public.
Your end-of-the-decade issue (Dec. 22) recalled many truly memorable events in the sports world and also some of the light-hearted moments, but the real knee-slapping belly laugh was not in the picture section but in your quote of John Fetzer that today's young pro football fans are going to turn to baseball when they get a little older because baseball is more of a thinking man's game.
That remark has kept me in good humor all week long and is certainly deserving of some sort of award for the decade's outstanding example of pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking.
When I began reading the article on John DeLorean (New Kind of Wheel at GM, Dec. 15), I was at first impressed that here at last was someone who realized the problems of the consumer and could coordinate them with the automobile industry. But when I got to the part where he said that he wanted to "build a new product that will lure the customer out of his old car long before it's worn out," I saw that he has the same philosophy as the man in the "old high-top leather shoes" whom he replaced.
If DeLorean has the feeling for social problems that he indicates, he fails to mention the biggest problem created by the automobile—air pollution. Ralph Nader has stated that if automakers cut out the annual style changes they could reduce prices by at least $700 per car. This would more than cover the amount that Henry Ford If claims would have to be added to new car prices if they were equipped with the antipollution devices that have already been developed.
If, as DeLorean says, "American business has eliminated more suffering than all of the government programs ever conceived...," then let him prove it by eliminating the share of air pollution that comes from his high-performance engines, and not trying to push new models on those who have not even finished paying for their fume-belching old ones.
Corona del Mar, Calif.
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