Some comments on Tex Maule's article (In It Just for Kicks, Nov. 5): Should not George Blanda be included among the not-so-helpless kickers? In the proximate past, as backup quarterback he has passed as well as kicked the Raiders to victory. And since the goalposts have no purpose other than to indicate the success of PAT and field-goal attempts, I am surprised Mr. Maule did not focus more on them. If the number of field goals being scored is truly a matter for concern, why not reduce the target area by moving the goalposts closer together, or providing an upper and a lower crossbar supporting a net and require that the kicked ball enter the net?
REAR ADMIRAL E. H. BATCHELLER,
I agree that the idea of more points the longer the held goal is ridiculous. Every team would work to get to the 40, then kick. The scoring should be just the opposite. From outside the 40, one point. From the 20 to 40, two points. From inside the 20, three or four points. This would give teams incentive to try to get closer rather than kick the automatic field goal any time they get inside the 50.
RICHARD D. HUNT
Palm Springs, Calif.
Why not make a touchdown worth nine or 12 points plus the extra point, thus bettering three or four field goals.
ROBERT A. SHAFER
Tex Maule is right. Football is getting boring because of a lack of touchdowns, but the fat cats will say the lack of attendance at games is because of the blackout. They won't learn.
JUDD CRYSMORE II
Kew Gardens, N.Y.
Why not remove the talented toe from scoring altogether? Eliminate field goals and kicked PATs completely.
RICHARD A. TREMBLAY
The NFL could help solve the field-goal problem by putting to use NBA-ABA cast-offs. It is perfectly legal to block an attempt, but it is seldom done. If a few more players were allowed on a squad, a team could place three 6'9" leapers on the goal line ready to bat away those 45-yard attempts that barely clear the crossbar.
Here is the answer to your field-goal problem. Limit the number of field goals each team can attempt each half, perhaps only two.
Imagine all the new strategy that this rule would bring about. For example, suppose a team takes the opening kickoff and marches down the field but gets bogged down on the 17-yard line and has fourth and two. Should it use up one field-goal attempt now or should it save it for later in the half? And why not make it a five-yard penalty on the kickoff if the ball lands in the end zone?
KEVIN G. GOUGH
If professional football is really concerned about the lack of touchdowns being scored and the excess of field goals, there is a way to change it, a simple rule that would read: The offensive team can try a field goal on any down but fourth. With third down and less than three inside the opponent's 30-yard line, the fan would get to know what team is playing for keeps and what team is playing on a hope and a prayer.
Having established the NCAA record for percentage of points after touchdown made in 1948 (22 for 22) while playing for Yale, I feel qualified to state my opinion. I agree completely there is too much emphasis on field-goal kicking and steps should definitely be taken to put that particular skill in perspective.
WILLIAM A. BOOE
The BASS Masters Classic (Hawg Hunt for the Bass Masters, Nov. 5) epitomizes all the things fishing isn't. Overpowered, over-equipped boats roar into the dawn carrying lure and tackle promoters out to rape and plunder another lake. You would be better served featuring articles condemning the commercial pollution of a great sport rather than glorifying this abomination.
Convent Station, N.J.
As a Canadian and a fan of all football—college, NFL and CFL—I was pleased to see that you acknowledged the CFL and one of its outstanding players for the second time this season with your story on Johnny Rodgers (All That's Been Fractured Is His French, Oct. 22).
However, I would like to make some points in defense of the CFL rules for punts—rules that were criticized by Montreal Coach Marv Levy in the story. Since coming to Canada last spring, Levy has criticized the CFL kicking game for being dull compared to the American game.
While I agree that blocking on punt returns would add more excitement to the Canadian game, I hope the CFL will never adopt such exciting items as the fair catch or touchback, or allow half a dozen 250-pound men to prance and huddle around a football, as they watch it roll dead. Some excitement! Certainly even a six-yard punt return in the CFL is more exciting than a fair catch, and watching a punter rush down-field in an attempt to recover his own short punt is more exciting than watching the ball roll dead.
Admittedly, punting the ball out of bounds inside the opponent's 10-yard line is somewhat of an art. But it is, for the most part, a lost art. Canadian fans would much rather watch a team attempting to run a kickoff, a wide field-goal attempt or a punt out of the end zone to prevent giving up a single point than have the "thrill" of watching a touch-back. And the single-point score adds a tremendous variety to the scoring methods and greater interest for the fans.
When it comes to improving rules regarding the kicking game in football, the NFL can do far more by copying the CFL than the CFL can by adopting U.S. rules.
Although I am a Volunteer fan, I thoroughly enjoyed your coverage of the Tennessee-Alabama game (Sorry, but Alabama Had to Run, Oct. 29). Your remarks about Condredge Holloway are justly deserved. He was superb as he brought Tennessee from behind to a 21-21 tie. He has done this sort of thing many times this season for the Volunteers, and even though in the end his presence could not offset Alabama's strong Wishbone offense, I think he is a true All-America.
Tarpon Springs, Fla.
Your article aptly described the exciting Tennessee-Alabama clash, but I must comment on your picture captioned "A Tennessee view of Alabama's go-ahead touchdown." From my vantage point, it looks like the six-pointer scored by the indescribable Condredge Holloway of Tennessee (note the lone orange-and-white jersey bearing No. 7 partially hidden in the picture).
Coaches and players over the past season and a half have been trying to devise a way to catch Condredge, and it appears that SI missed him, too.
I enjoyed very much your article on the Swedish players in the NHL (New Immigration Policy: Sign a Swede, Oct. 29). I suppose one could call Borje Salming, Inge Hammarstrom, Tommie Bergman and Tord Lundstrom the Four Norsemen of the Ap-hockey-lypse.
HEROES AND GOATS
I noticed in your Oct. 29 article Mutiny and a Bounty that Reggie Jackson was named MVP of the World Series, which was no surprise to me. I knew when I saw him interviewed beforehand that if he got a hit and caught a fly ball, he would make it. I am not taking anything away from Jackson—he is a fine ballplayer—but whoever picked the MVP overlooked several fine players who had a much better Series than he. What did Campaneris, Fingers, Knowles, Staub, McGraw and Harrelson do wrong? And who made up the rule that the MVP had to be on the winning team?
In his interesting description of the World Series William Leggett mentioned the fact that there was no complete game pitched by either side. For that matter, neither was there a complete game pitched in the 1972 Series, when the same Oakland A's vanquished the Cincinnati Reds. The last pitcher to turn in a complete game was Steve Blass of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who achieved this elusive distinction in the seventh game of the 1971 Series on Oct. 17 by beating the Baltimore Orioles by a score of 2-1 for the championship. Also, the Pirates were the last National League club to win the Series.
WILLIAM F. O'BRIEN
Dastardly as Charles Finley's firing of Mike Andrews was, it was not an unprecedented act in baseball history. In 1909 Barney Dreyfuss of the Pirates fired Bill Abstein after the World Series for striking out 10 times. Now, with that incident out of the way, we can watch Finley hold Dick Williams to his contract √† la George Halas-George Allen. Baseball needs more men like Mike Andrews and fewer men like Finley.
St. Petersburg, Fla.
SUN DEVIL COACH
Congratulations to Ray Kennedy for his fine article revealing the coaching philosophy of Frank Kush at Arizona State (Kush Means Push and Rush and Crush, Oct. 22). Too few collegiate coaches strive to teach mental toughness, and consequently many players never show their full potential on the field. The dull hours of hitting., running and sweating make winning football seasons—and All-Americas like Woody Green and Danny White. Teaching discipline through adversity is a special talent of Kush's. Most coaches will never reach the height he has attained at Arizona State.
ALAN E. MUSHEN
Ray Kennedy's article was just great but long overdue. Frank Kush has been doing his thing at ASU since 1955, and he has been doing it the only way he knows how—fair and hard. Every year your magazine consistently rates ASU to finish below the Top 10, and consistently you come up on the short end of a first down. Follow the sun to Sun Devil country and see what exciting football is really all about.
Fort Benning, Ga.
DH IN REVIEW
For the first time since the inauguration of divisional playoffs, I found the American League's series more interesting than the National's. Although I can cite a number of reasons for this change in preference, the main reason is the addition of the designated hitter. When this new rule is studied, one thing stands out: the change benefits both the offense and the defense. Moving the hash-marks in professional football aided the offense. The elimination of the zone defense in professional basketball also enhanced the effectiveness of the offense. The designated hitter, on the other hand, aids the defense by allowing the starting pitcher to remain in the game longer, while the offense also benefits from having a hitter replace the poor-swinging pitcher in the batting lineup. I hope the National League will adopt the designated hitter for the 1974 or 1975 season even though the three-year trial period will not yet have ended.
EDWARD B. WHEELFR
UNDERRATED REFS (CONT.)
As a former basketball referee, coach and player, I especially enjoyed Peter Carry's article "The Highest Accolade Is Silence" (Oct. 15). This type of controlled officiating, whereby most technicalities are overlooked unless the player gains an unfair advantage, was, I believe, originated in the Big Ten by John Schommer and Nick Kearns. And just the opposite of NBA Referee Darrell Garretson's browbeating tactics was exercised by a National League baseball umpire turned basketball referee, Ernest Quigley, who officiated in the national AAU championships in Kansas City some years ago. When he detected an infraction, he followed his whistle tooting with the remark, "You can't do that!" The accused generally was so amused that he graciously accepted the penalty.
All officials in every sport, I am sure, appreciate a slight grunt of approval from the losers even more than a thousand accolades from the winner.
DICK BUTZEN SR.
Fond du Lac, Wis.
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