John Underwood's article Dolphins, by a Nose (Jan. 17) predicting the outcome of the Super Bowl was extremely articulate, perceptive and stimulating. Fortunately for the Dallas Cowboys, the only attribute it lacked was accuracy. I'd suggest that Mr. Underwood join the redoubtable Ron Fimrite (A Birdbath for the Pirates, Oct. 18) and send in his crystal ball for repairs.
Tex Maule called the shot (Cowboys, in a Walk) in his unprovoking, straight-shooting article on the true, inevitable champions.
WILLIAM T. OCEL
Long a 49er fan, I instantly became a Cowboy backer after reading John Underwood's ridiculous preview of the Super Bowl. Rather than predict the Dolphins would win on their own merits, Underwood instead belittled a fine Dallas team with preposterous statements. He suggested the Cowboys could not win because 1) both of Miami's playoff opponents could easily handle Dallas, 2) Duane Thomas wears a stocking cap on post-game trips and 3) Buffalo scored 37 points against the Cowboys four months earlier. If "it does so count," as Mr. Underwood persistently insists, then the Buffalo offense is about 12 times stronger than Miami's.
After watching one of the most one-sided Super Bowl games ever, I suspect that Mr. Underwood is wearing a stocking cap pulled down over his face.
The law of averages? Phooey! The Cowboys won. The Cowboys stomped Miami because they are the best team in pro football. Who is John Underwood?
Little Rock, Ark.
I agree with John Underwood's conclusion. It would be fitting for the Cowboys to award the game ball to Tex Maule.
I hereby nominate Tex Maule for the title "Dallas Cowboys' Most Loyal Fan." Mr. Maule has been picking the Cowboys to win the NFL championship ever since they came into existence. Now his loyalty has been rewarded. Way to go, Tex.
Lest Tex Maule get overconfident, please have him put this ancient Chinese proverb over his desk: "Even a blind pig finds an acorn now and then."
END OF A STREAK
My thanks to Peter Carry for a sparkling article on the Milwaukee victory over the Los Angeles Lakers (Derailing the Laker Express, Jan. 17). If any team had to stop the Lakers' winning streak, who else should it have been but the world champions?
Kings Park, N.Y.
Milwaukee Coach Larry Costello said, "We're still the champions, and we will be until somebody beats us, which they haven't yet when it's counted." He is right.
Although the Bucks won this game, they have not yet successfully defended their crown. Indeed, on a similar Sunday in Los Angeles, the Lakers beat the Bucks 112-105. That victory was the 11th in their record-breaking streak.
This game was different, however. The Bucks were out to end the Laker streak that had broken their record of the previous year. They also wanted to avenge their earlier loss to the Lakers. So Milwaukee won the game—but the championship is definitely still at stake.
It was bad enough that you failed to put a picture of the Milwaukee Bucks or the Marquette Warriors on the cover of the Jan. 17 issue, but to go and waste the cover and five more pages on a fashion show of high-priced women's swimwear (It May Be Nautical but It's Not the Navy) was ridiculous. Please remember that the name of your magazine is not Vogue or Harpers Bazaar.
Jerry Kirshenbaum's story about California's Marina del Rey (Nothing Like Having Your Boat Downtown, Jan. 17) was an excellent piece of literature deserving nothing but the highest praise. What really attracted my eye, though, were the new nautical "uniforms" for women.
SI does it again—another fantastic display of female sports enthusiasts.
JOHN G. BRIMMER
The next time I subscribe to a sports magazine for my young sports-minded son, you can be sure your magazine will not even be considered.
Since I know you will probably be swamped with "shame on you, my son looks at your magazine, cancel my subscription!" letters, I would just like to say thanks for a fine issue and some wonderful pictures. It is features like "City Life on the Water" and An African Journal (Dec. 20 et seq.) by Ernest Hemingway that separate your magazine from the other sports publications.
Who are you trying to kid? In your College Basketball Issue (Nov. 29), you rated UCLA fourth in the country. In the article Court Trial for UCLA's New Gang (Jan. 10), you suggest that we fans thought UCLA's dynasty was over. No we didn't, SI did.
I feel that Ohio State's Allan Hornyak and Mark Minor were done an injustice. Although "poor Allan Hornyak was not able to get so much as a single field goal past Bibby's tenacious defense," it was not mentioned that Hornyak has been hampered by a heel bruise and had played only parts of three games prior to this one. Nor was it mentioned that Mark Minor held Henry Bibby to a mere 10 points.
Other than that, it was a very interesting article. UCLA proved that it is No. 1.
You have presented your readers with a very interesting contrast between the basketball programs at UCLA and the University of Maryland (Sweating Through the Dreads, Jan. 3). Not that it makes any difference, but on what possible basis does Lefty Driesell refer to his team as "the UCLA of the East"? The two have nothing whatsoever in common. No, that's not quite true. Each school has a 6'11" sophomore center who was a high school All-America.
Let us hope that the Bruins and the Terps meet in the NCAA finals in March. Usually teams like Maryland fail to get through the regionals. If they do, their fate may be the same as Elvin Hayes and Houston suffered five years ago. The Cougars were humiliated by what may very well have been the greatest exhibition ever of collegiate basketball. The Bill Walton-Tom McMillen confrontation will be even more interesting. If Loyola's Ed Butler stripped McMillen bare, then when Walton finishes with him, the charge will be indecent exposure.
What did Ed Butler of Loyola do to deserve to be earmarked "ex-convict" by Curry Kirkpatrick? Never having met Butler, I admire him for making a new start in life by enrolling in an accredited university and participating in organized athletics. I am sure he can do without this kind of publicity.
RICHARD F. WHITEMAN
Gwilym S. Brown's article (Another No. 1 Is Settled in the Orange Bowl, Jan. 10) on the NCAA soccer championship was excellent. It certainly did justice to the world's No. 1 sport as it is played in this country. It is interesting to note that two national collegiate football championships were decided in the Orange Bowl two days apart: a mythical title in American football, and a real title in real football.
R. B. SPANO
University Park, Pa.
As one of the handful of spectators in the Orange Bowl to witness the NCAA soccer playoffs, I can only express wonder at the scorn expressed by St. Louis Coach Harry Keough and your writer Gwilym Brown for the play of Howard and Harvard in the semifinals. Though hardly an expert, I have seen good soccer played and have coached the game at the prep level. Both Howard and Harvard seemed far from inept to me. Rather, it was the skilled and tenacious play by both teams' fullbacks and goalies that kept the exceptionally quick forwards from scoring. By contrast, the St. Louis-San Francisco semifinal game seemed relatively slow and, yes, inept, and both teams made occasional novice errors in trying to control and pass the ball. When it came time for the finals I really thought Howard would win more decisively. And, for my money, Harvard, not St. Louis, is No. 2.
My congratulations to Howard University for winning the NCAA soccer championship and to Mr. Brown and SPORTS ILLUSTRATED for making it known.
As the goalie for San Diego State College, I noticed that most of the teams play the hard European style with a rough defense and fast break. Wait till I convince my Scottish coach to play the Latin way, then we will meet Howard up there in the finals.
JOE F. BARAJAS
Imperial Beach, Calif.
Robert Cantwell's article on the Bridge Match of the Century between Italy's Blue Team and the Aces (Blues in the Night for the Aces, Jan. 3) was an interesting account. He overlooked a few factors that showed the dominance of the Italians was even stronger than the final outcome indicated. The winners forsook their usual bidding system to use a completely different one. They also abandoned defensive signals, yet seemed always to make the correct decision.
The entire match was exciting. We applauded the brilliant play and strategy of the Italians, who provided very few dull moments of bridge. The Las Vegas Hilton was a winner to host such a magnificent event.
Associate Professor of Mathematics
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
I have come to the conclusion, after much thought and verbal exchange of ideas, that bridge and chess are not sports in the true sense of the word. Granted, each possesses a degree of organization and universality, but neither involves the essential physical element that differentiates a game from a sport. Horseshoe pitching, table tennis, marbles, etc. involve a degree of physical coordination and therefore are sports; bridge and chess involve purely mental activity and therefore are only games, as are Stratego and Monopoly.
GARR M. KLUENDER
The Des Moines Register
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