"One thing is certain: the tide has turned for Minnesota" (They're Purpling the Black and Blue, Oct. 8). Thanks for your words of wisdom. Not only have the Vikings defeated every team they have played so far in the 1973 season, they have defeated the jinx of the SI cover. You can sit back and relax for the rest of the year with the assurance that you can rely on Minnesota. Fran's fans are heading for the Super Bowl.
PHILLIP R. TROUT
As a faithful SI reader, I have been following with amusement and skepticism the continuing controversy over your so-called cover jinx. Sure enough, there it was: Danny Murtaugh and his Pirates faded, Miami's "rough and ready" Dolphins got roughed by the Raiders, the Texas Longhorns' No. 1 rating was blown away by the Hurricanes and the "best of the best," Anthony Davis, was tied up by a Sooner. Then, hoping against hope, I found Francis Tarkenton on the Oct. 8 cover. I respect Fran and his Purple Gang. They deserve all the publicity they get. But one week before they play my beloved Lions? I couldn't ask for anything more.
What happened to the jinx? Minnesota 23, Detroit 9! You guys must be slipping. But after 11 straight Viking victories over the Lions, we Detroit fans are willing to give you another chance. Before our next game against the Vikings, run a cover story on that defensive line of theirs. And put your heart into this one, will you please!
My compliments on your coverage of the Viking-Packer game. Our defense is back in form. Your jinx is just a coincidence. It is not going to make Chuck Foreman lie down and play dead. And you can put Alan Page on the cover anytime.
Little Falls, Minn.
I would like to contradict the jinx theory with another point. Your April 16 cover featured Earl Monroe of the Knicks. Need anyone be reminded where they ended up?
Your statement "The Vikings were clearly superior to the Pack" was absurd. If the Vikings were so superior, why didn't they score a touchdown? They scored only three field goals and a safety. If you ask me, neither team had a good game.
Allow me to add my congratulations to Tex Maule on his Sept. 17 article No Boo-Boos Makes for Ho-Hums. Pro football is not what it used to be. On Sunday, Sept. 30 I sat down to watch what I thought would be six hours of excitement. The first game was between the Giants and the Browns, one of the older NFL rivalries. The second matched the Raiders and the Chiefs. But the games were far from exciting. I saw two touchdowns all day and only one was scored by the offense. The Browns beat the Giants 12-10 on four field goals. The Chiefs used three Jan Stenerud field goals and an interception that was turned into a touchdown to overcome the Raiders' powerful offense, which had only George Blanda's field goal to boast about. Final score: Kansas City 16, Oakland 3.
Pro football should consider some of Maule's suggestions to help out the offense, and the first on the list should be a move to return the ball to the line of scrimmage after a missed field-goal attempt. Substitutions also should be reduced. Instead of watching Joe Namath throw a 70-yard bomb to Don Maynard, we now see Norm Snead throw an eight-yard flare-out to Ron Johnson. Instead of seeing the Jets stop Baltimore 38-35, we see the Vikings beat the Packers 11-3; no touchdowns, of course.
The only exciting thing I have seen this year occurred on a kickoff when two Jets took off after Chester Marcol of the Packers intending to demolish him. I dread the day when the owners start recruiting soccer superstars from Europe and South America to kick 70-yard field goals.
The answer to no-touchdown games in the NFL is to emphasize crossing the goal line. I would suggest the rules committee consider disallowing field goals in the last two minutes of each half. Imagine the ingenuity of the pass patterns that would be developed.
JOHN R. GAGNON
Beaver Dam, Wis.
How about constructing a second crossbar on the goalposts several feet above the present one? For a kick to score an extra point or a field goal the ball would have to pass within the rectangle rather than through an open-ended, three-sided figure. What I am proposing is something akin to the strike zone in baseball.
JOHN W. ALEXANDER
As a hard-core weight-lifting fanatic, I devoured your article on the world championships (Bulgars, Britons and Bombers, Oct. 8). But I resented Robert H. Boyle's saying that middleweight champion Nadeltcho Kolev's elasticity, speed and lithe musculature are "unusual among lifters." On the contrary, most international lifters are extremely quick and flexible, with impressively athletic physiques. A star like Kolev bursts on the scene from Europe each year. But not from America. Too many myths and obstacles cloud weight lifting today in the U.S., so kids just don't take up the sport. This is not unusual when one considers that our major "sport" is pro football.
As Dan Can tore says, "There is potential in the U.S.," but that potential will never be realized unless weight lifters become well known and admired. Think what would happen if a young man saw Kolev in action on your cover, the zenith of speed and power. The youth just might forget about Larry Csonka and start tossing iron in earnest.
As a member of the U.S. weight-lifting team that competed in Cuba I would like to air a few sentiments.
The group of four U.S. athletes who failed to total in the competition lost more than $1,300 in wages, spent a lot of time away from families and ruined every summer weekend in order to prepare for and take part in the world championships. I am sure that I speak for each "bomber" when I say that I am enraged at being referred to by Bob Hoffman as a "louse" and "bum"—categorically or otherwise—in reward for my efforts.
East Lansing, Mich.
Robert Boyle's coverage of the World Weightlifting Championships in Havana was excellent. I felt as if I had personally been at the meet. Of even more importance was the fact that Boyle put his finger on some of the problems our American lifters are facing. Maybe Bob Hoffman is attacking the wrong elements in our poor showing. Hoffman had better question his priorities—Jacob Stefan's long hair or better U.S. coaching and technology.
HARLAN L. STEINLE
Congratulations to Jerry Kirshenbaum on a fine article about Jerry Lucas (Eeginnprst Ejrry Aclsu, Oct. 8). Lucas has a style of his own—on and off the court. Last season my brothers and I counted as Luke hit 17 shots in a row in warmups before a game with the Bullets. The incredible thing is they all were in the 25- to 35-foot range. If I owned a franchise, Luke would be one of the first players I would try to get.
It koot em a ehilw ot efgiru it otu, btu I got it. Eht first dorw in Eeginnprst Ejrry Aclsu is "Presenting."
Aeerrstv City, Chim.
Dr. George Sheehan (SCORECARD, Oct. 1) takes issue with the "no second wind" theorists, and rightly so. Dr. Tom Cureton, physiologist at the University of Illinois and father of the Run for Your Life program, has explained exactly how it operates. The heart works to push blood through arteries to the meta-arterioles and capillary beds in the working muscles. The pressure against which the heart pushes is called "peripheral resistance." Once the body heats up thoroughly, and the adrenaline starts flowing, the capillaries and small vessels dilate, and it takes less work for the heart to push more blood along. The heart now does the same work with less effort, thus you have "second wind."
NO FISH (CONT.)
Thanks to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and in particular to Robert H. Boyle for his fine article At the Rate We're Going, Goodby Fish (Sept. 24). I can speak only for the section of the story with which I am intimately versed, and that is the California Water Project. But if all the material in Boyle's article is as accurate as his reporting on the California Water Project, then he deserves an award of merit.
This is the first time in my 10-year fight against the water project that I have seen a national magazine cover it with no holds barred, reporting the truth of what its ecological consequences already have been and will be.
And your story could not have been better timed. On Friday, Sept. 28, there was an article in the San Francisco Chronicle that fully substantiates Mr. Boyle's report.
Field Editor, West Coast
Field & Stream
San Bruno, Calif.
The impending ecological cataclysm of practically no fish left to catch was well described by Robert Boyle. We should take it for granted that one of the problems—giant foreign fishing fleets off our coast—will not magically go away. The Russians will never accept our State Department's international authority proposal; the Russians will never accept voluntary quotas. Probably the Japanese won't either. Maybe Peru, Ecuador and Iceland have the right idea in unilaterally extending their self-proclaimed private fishing rights to as much as 200 miles off their coasts. Congress should think about it.
D. B. OWEN
I can't imagine the University of Mississippi not reconciling itself to LSU's comeback victory over the Rebels last year (SCORECARD, Sept. 24). May I remind them that the Southern Mississippi press guide should read Southern Miss. 9, Ole Miss 6, Referees 7?
By the way, some well-meaning Tiger fan (or a sore Rebel fan) erected a sign near the Louisiana-Mississippi border on Interstate 55 at Kentwood. It reads: "You are now entering Louisiana. Set your watches back five seconds."
Ganbare is a much more appropriate name for the underdog yacht that Douglas Peterson built on a shoestring and raced with success against far more expensive boats in the 1973 World One Ton Cup championship than your translation of the name—"good luck"—would imply (Sardinia Sea Script: Viva Cinderella!, Sept. 24). In Japanese ganbare (pronounced gahm-bah-reh!) is an imperative—an exhortation—used to imbue those faced with a tough situation or long odds with the will to endure. It connotes a wish for good luck but clearly implies that more effort than luck is necessary. The current slang phrase "Hang in there" would be both a better translation of the boat's name and more descriptive of Peterson's efforts.
RICHARD A. ERICSON JR.
Director for Japanese Affairs
U.S. Department of State
When the Mets took the title in the National League East, Yogi Berra suddenly became a hero. Met fans who called him a bum only a few months ago are now saying he is a tactical genius. This misunderstood manager has taken enormous abuse without retaliation. He has simply performed. He did his job and he won. No matter what the Mets do from here on in, Yogi has proved himself superior to those who called for his downfall. I nominate him for Sportsman of the Year.
Your account of Tennessee's triumph over. Army (FOOTBALL'S WEEK, Oct. 1) was understandably brief but unforgivably unbalanced on the credit side of the ledger. There is no doubt that Quarterback Condredge Holloway was the main contributor to the Vols' victory, and as such should receive complimentary coverage. However, are not superlative efforts worthy of recognition even in defeat?
If only in passing (pun very definitely intended) you could have found space between all the "empty-handed" Army tacklers and nifty "tearaway jerseys" to mention the aerial exploits of Army Quarterback Kingsley Fink (300-plus yards) and the receiving of Barry Armstrong. Their achievements against Tennessee placed them first in the nation in those categories that week.
R. G. STILWELL
West Point, N.Y.
To one who graduated from a Big Eight football mill, your Sept. 10 article Goodbye Columbus, Hello Frostburg on small-college football was very enjoyable. However, I was a bit surprised to see New Mexico and Brigham Young included with Frostburg State and Black Hills State. The spotty "underflow" crowd at Albuquerque can be easily explained by a look at the snow-dusted Sandia Mountains behind the stadium. As at Colorado and Montana, the mountains have always outdrawn football at the University of New Mexico. Is it any wonder that football thrives in drab places like Texas? What else is there to do in Austin on a Saturday afternoon?
Cass Lake, Minn.
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