Thank you very much for the excellent article on the Baltimore Colts (Everyone Can't Be First String, Dec. 18). George Plimpton did an outstanding job of reporting the facts of the new operating procedure. Being an avid Baltimore supporter, I was very much surprised by the replacement of Don McCafferty as head coach of this superior ball club. I do not approve of this maneuver. However, I very much support the benching of John Unitas. He is, in my opinion, not as able to produce as he once was. Marty Domres is a coming star, and I feel he will rekindle the flame in the Baltimore area. As for John Sandusky, no way. The Colt organization must come up with a better replacement for Mac. Don't count the Colts out. After all, if the Packers can do it, so can the Colts.
Thank you for George Plimpton's report. Perhaps new ownership and impersonal management can build a new Colt dynasty, but Mr. Plimpton's article reflects something else—the spirit of support and almost maniacal enthusiasm that tens of thousands of us had in Baltimore. We had it because we loved Johnny Unitas, were enthralled by Gino Marchetti, waited breathlessly for Raymond Berry to string himself over the sidelines or Jimmy Orr to make the impossible catch. Maybe a new, cold, unemotional front office can produce a great team—a Green Bay type—but for wildly enthusiastic fan support and excitement of a type we're not likely to sec again, let us all give recognition to Johnny U. and the Colts that were. It was an era we Baltimoreans will never forget.
FRANK W. DAVIS JR., M.D.
I read with interest the excellent and revealing article by George Plimpton regarding the Colts' decline. But the statement by Joe Thomas that fans don't care who the quarterback is "as long as he wins" displays his low opinion of football fans and disrespect for his players.
John Unitas is one of the few remaining genuine heroes in sport. As a Colt fan, I have never felt more satisfaction and pride than when Unitas went into the Buffalo game in Baltimore to a standing ovation and threw a touchdown pass to Eddie Hinton. As I watched the fans say goodby to the man they love so much, I could not help but think what a fink Joe Thomas is.
Thomas also said fans don't pay to see the coach. That may be true. However, many football fans would pay a good deal just to see John Unitas walk into a stadium. Who would pay two cents to see Joe Thomas? The next time he picks up his paycheck he should think about that.
If Robert Irsay and Joe Thomas want the Colts to start winning, then why don't they just quit? Bring back Unitas!
R. P. KING
I thoroughly enjoyed The Net-Ripping, Backboard-Shaking, Mind-Blowing Dr. J. (Dec. 11). It's about time Julius Erving got his deserved recognition. His fans, who watched his unbelievable performances in the Cage at the University of Massachusetts, have known all along that he was the greatest. I think he has moves up his sleeves he hasn't used yet, if that is possible. I would? like to have seen that 360° job.
I urge everybody to see Dr. J. at least once. You haven't lived until you have!
Thank you so much for the article. Julius Erving fully deserves to be compared with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Artis Gilmore and Bill Walton, as Peter Carry pointed out. Virginia is proud of Dr. J.
ROSE MARIE LOCKE
They call him Dr. J.? Dr. Super seems more appropriate.
Your article on Chuck Ealey (Champion and Still Winner, Dec. 11) just adds more light to the manner in which the NFL handles black players who are attempting to play quarterback, that taboo position. It would be nice to see the men who own, manage and coach the NFL teams let ability instead of color be the determining factor, as it should be. I honestly believe that most fans couldn't care less about the color of a quarterback as long as he is giving them a winning season.
It's just a shame that a Canadian team had to show that a black quarterback can lead a professional team to a championship before an American team could get one, and there are many established as starters. One seldom gets a chance to see the players of the Canadian League who were stars in American colleges and universities as Chuck Ealey was. Thanks to Joe Marshall for a fine article on a truly talented quarterback.
Fort Benning, Ga.
I was glad to see Chuck Ealey on TV last summer when some early-season Canadian games were broadcast to the States. It was good to know that at least in Canada his quarterbacking abilities were appreciated.
Black quarterbacking talent in the NFL is languishing on benches and taxi squads or relegated to such positions as split end, wide receiver and cornerback for lack of quarterbacking opportunities. With black quarterbacks increasing in number at the larger, predominantly white schools, not to mention the continuing stream from the predominantly black schools, their talents will have to be considered along with those of the Bradshaws, Grieses, Phippses, Hanrattys, Shaws, Mannings, Pastorinis and Reaveses.
Congratulations to Joe Marshall on his fine article on Chuck Ealey. I've wanted to scream "Look at him!" to the NFL all year long. Maybe they will realize what a fine player they passed up. Bad arm? Ha!
MARGARET S. MATTHEWS
A TASTE OF ICE
The expansion program of the NHL has long received a great deal of criticism and very little praise, but Mark Mulvoy's fine presentation on the Atlanta Flames (A New Southern Rising, Dec. 4) has turned the tide. The enthusiasm of Atlanta hockey fans was never realized by anyone involved until Mulvoy penned his findings, which are only too evident now. Look at Buffalo, one of the game's most exciting young clubs. Without Perreault, Martin, Robert & Co. the NHL would be minus a real attraction. It is young stars like these who bring extra excitement to the circuit and keep it well above opposing organizations. And without these expansion clubs many of the coveted youngsters would never get a chance to actively participate in regular shifts. What good would it do them to sit on the bench while their veteran teammates get the ice time? We all must agree it is a far superior idea to let them play on a new team, where they can start fresh and play readily, developing their skills and giving all of North America's hockey nuts a good show.
May I congratulate whoever on your staff chose Mark Mulvoy to write for your magazine? Mulvoy has shown keen insight in writing about the teams of the future, the Atlanta Flames and the Buffalo Sabres. He has recognized good teams built on youth, and when all the Phil Espositos and Ed Giacomins have turned coach, or whatever happens to old hockey players, the Gil Perreaults and Phil Myres will have taken over. Indeed, when in the not too distant future Atlanta and Buffalo are the finalists in the Stanley Cup playoffs, Mark Mulvoy and SI will have called it first.
I read the article with much appreciation. Atlanta has welcomed and supported the Flames with great enthusiasm. With the exception of the Falcons, I have never seen such acceptance of a major league sport in the 15 years I have lived in Atlanta (I was transplanted from the North). I say Bravo, Atlanta, for welcoming a "Yankee" sport, and also thanks to the Igloo for persevering over the years and giving Atlantans a taste of ice!
Re Sarah Pileggi's article on Lanny Wadkins (Lanny Was Super, Just as Lanny Predicted, Dec. 11), we here in western New York know about the great golf Lanny can play because we have watched his superb execution in the Porter Cup at the Niagara Falls Country Club.
So Sarah wrote a great article, but why in heck did she have to blow a winter of anticipation as to the winner of the CBS Classic (page 84, third paragraph)?
ALVIN E. KATZ
You rat finks! You have mentioned the unmentionable, and in so doing you have ruined the suspense and enjoyment of the winter solace for golfers. Someone is being a real smart aleck to publish the results of the CBS Golf Classic in your Dec. 11 issue.
If Sarah Pileggi is the Scrooge in this dastardly deed, then I say Fie upon her. I only hope that SI does not think such a gratuitous revelation aids your sports-minded readers in enjoying what should be one of the best golf programs on television.
BEN C. BYRNSIDE
Whispering Pines, N.C.
•SI sympathizes, but the cat was already out of the bag.—ED.
STOP AND GO
In regard to Al Huber and his opinion of the Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Race (Scorecard, Dec. 11), don't you think it is about time the Federal Government realized that some drivers in some cars can travel safely at speeds well over the posted limit? A fact in point is that the initial winners of the Cannonball Baker-Dan Gurney (you've heard of him, Mr. Huber) and Brock Yates—made a flawless trip from New York to California in their Ferrari Daytona.
It is certainly true that everyone wants safer cars, safer highways and, most important, safer drivers, and we believe that the Cannonball Baker is an excellent example of how above-average drivers in adequate cars can safely handle speeds beyond those set for average drivers.
There are many people presently involved with trying to get a Master Driver Licensing program passed through federal legislation. Drivers who qualify for this license would then be eligible for reduced insurance premiums and higher speed limits after they have proved their superior driving ability. Perhaps passage of such a plan would result in more Dan Gurneys.
Hats off to Mr. Al Huber of the Indiana Traffic Safety Council. It would appear that Brock Yates has organized an event that makes it obligatory to violate the nation's traffic laws. In so doing, the man is deliberately endangering the lives of every man, woman and child who uses the public thoroughfares. With Yahoos like Yates around, it is small wonder that Americans kill each other on the highways at a rate 10 times faster than the Viet Cong have done in a shooting war.
RICHARD L. GROSSMANN
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