PICKS AND POKES
I enjoyed your two articles previewing the Super Bowl (Doing It by the Numbers and You Can't Program the Human Element, Jan. 14) and must congratulate you on your fine picture portfolio. But for the second time in a row (last year it was Washington by 10) Tex Maule has chosen the wrong team. You would think that he would have learned by watching the Miami Dolphins that they are the superior team. I have nothing against his articles, but it seems only obvious that Miami is the best team to come along in a long, long while (the Dolphins are better than the Packers).
Fair Oaks, Calif.
The Miami Dolphins have now appeared in three consecutive Super Bowls. Tex Maule has predictably chosen their opposition all three times. When Dallas beat Miami in the Dolphins' first attempt, it only proved that a prejudiced sportswriter can occasionally get lucky. But after Miami's second convincing win in a row, Mr. Maule is batting only a lousy 33% in his futile attempt to discredit the Dolphins. Please inform Mr. Maule that should he ever contemplate retirement in Florida, he had better bring along a flak jacket, a large miner's helmet and a willingness to run.
JOHN M. CHISM
I found Tex Maule's Super Bowl prediction of the Minnesota Vikings by four quite interesting. This was another in a long series of predictions based on the famous Tex Maule System, which seems to be founded on two unchanging principles: 1) pick the Dallas Cowboys; 2) when that is not possible, pick the team that beat the Cowboys. Particularly amusing was Tex' disparaging comment on Bud Goode's computer-based prediction of Miami by nine: "Computers are only as good as the information fed them—horse manure in, horse manure out." That is true, but allow me to point out that a similar dictum holds for Mr. Maule.
CARLTON M. CAVES
Thank you for Tex (NFL over AFL) Maule. I always wait to see his pick in the Super Bowl so I can pick the opposite team and clean up.
Who is John Underwood (With Contempt for Caution, Jan. 14)? How many times did he see Penn State play football in 1973 to be able to say, "The only people who would argue that the unbeaten Nittany Lions are in a class with Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma or Alabama live in Pennsylvania"? As for Penn State's supposedly weak schedule, who else is 12 and 0? Look at the record of all of the opponents of the teams listed. Class? In four attempts Ohio State has never defeated Penn State. Until the NCAA establishes a major-college playoff to determine the national champion, no one will ever silence people like John Underwood—or people like me.
H. ROEBLING KNOCH, M.D.
With the wave of a pen you have dismissed yet another Penn State bowl victory. Apparently the Nittany Lions can do nothing right, except win four of their last five bowl games. Meanwhile Bear Bryant of Alabama has gone 0-6-1 in his last seven bowl starts and Ara Parseghian is 2-2 in bowl competition.
When I saw the alleged national championship game (Alabama vs. Notre Dame), I was continually reminded that there were still players left on these two teams who in consecutive years lost 38-6 and 40-6 to Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. Yet John Underwood has the audacity to state that Penn State is not in the same league with either of them.
Poor Joe Paterno. He has the Brobdingnagian task of either going winless in his next seven bowl appearances or deliberately settling for a tie before he, too, can become a legend. Perhaps Paterno can also give his future Penn State teams ballet lessons, since being "lovely to look at" is evidently more important than winning in your Alice in Wonderland world.
New York City
You must have something against us here in Nebraska. Your article on the New Year's bowl games was fine, but why neglect the Cotton Bowl? Mr. Underwood wrote all of 62 words about the Nebraska-Texas game.
The Cotton Bowl was exciting, to say the least. Even as a Cornhusker fanatic, I can say that Texas' goal-line stand was one of the best moments of the day, and you didn't even mention it. Nor did you mention Steve Runty's second-half heroics, which won the game for the Cornhuskers.
It seems someone forgot to tell you that Oklahoma, Notre Dame and Alabama are not the only 1973 college powers that are going to be young and talented in 1974. The Rose Bowl not only showed everyone Ohio State's backfield of three sophomores and one freshman, but John Hicks and Randy Gradishar are the only major losses for the 1974 season.
As for trying to figure out what you mean when you say "the Irish appear a better team than Ohio State if only because they are more well-rounded. Oklahoma comes closer to Notre Dame's completeness"—well, we'll never know. But considering you picked Texas for No. 1 in your preseason scouting reports (Sept. 14), I begin to understand your logic.
The contrast depicted by your two fine articles The Man Who Loved Cat Killing and A Mountain with a Wolf on It Stands a Little Taller (Jan. 14) is both striking and disheartening. Glynn Riley is deserving of praise and admiration for his efforts to preserve and protect the red wolf, yet another of our precious endangered species. I can only hope that the Glynn Rileys of the world will not find that their efforts have been rendered fruitless by the type of inappropriate actions characterized by the case of C. J. Prock. That an individual guilty of such distasteful and distinctly inhumane acts should escape with a paltry fine is unthinkable. It now seems that the courts, which have done such a lackluster job of protecting the rights of the people, have performed likewise with respect to affording protection for those animals that we have pushed, in the name of progress, to the brink of extinction.
I trust that Judge J. Blaine Anderson will stand up and be counted when the last, lone jaguar passes from this earth, taking with it those genes that we failed to protect and for which nature does not afford a second chance.
KFN R. GRAVETT
The Man Who Loved Cat Killing reflects the true frustration that many law officers and game rangers find in carrying out the duties of their job. Early last fall three game rangers in my district answered calls from concerned citizens about deer poaching in southeastern Oklahoma. After spending four nights on a stakeout, the rangers finally caught the game hog. Their efforts were "rewarded" when a judge handed out a verdict that amounted to $5 court costs and a $25 fine. In this instance, too, it is hard to say that justice was carried out to the full extent of the law.
Third District (Oklahoma)
I am shocked and horrified at the fact that our judicial system would allow a man like Curtis Jackson Prock to go free with a minimum fine. In such a cut-and-dried criminal case it appears that there was an offense committed not only by Prock but also by Judge J. Blaine Anderson, who in effect sanctioned this injustice by imposing such, a frivolous penalty—even though he was aware that it was Prock's second offense of this type.
The smell of a "week-old wolf carcass" extends not only to the men who would kill an endangered species, whatever the price, but to Judge Anderson, who would not do everything in his power to prevent such a thing from happening again. It seems tragic and ironic indeed that Judge Anderson occupies a position in the federal judicial system equivalent to that of Judge John J. Sirica.
NOREEN GILMAN MULLIKEN
University of Virginia
Law Wives Ecology Group
Give Robert F. Jones a prize for guts. None of the characters he wrote about had any. With a judge like Anderson, no wonder we have too much crime. Prock should have seen the business end of a New Mexico jail a long time ago.
JOHN E. PFAFF
West Hartford, Conn.
As a defender of the Canadian and American wolf, I was very pleased to read your article about the red wolf. If we are to save the wolf we must have more articles such as this one to educate the people. I was upset to read one thing, though. Glynn Riley tells about killing all those coyotes. If that attitude persists, the coyote will disappear from the earth forever, too.
I read with complete disgust your paragraph in SCORECARD (Dec. 24) suggesting the elimination of the goalkeeper from soccer. Such a change would require a major reconstruction of the rules of the sport. Firstly, in order to prevent ridiculously high scores and the possibility of strong kickers scoring empty-net goals, the field would have to be lengthened substantially. Secondly, the off-sides rule would have to be changed in order to prevent too many breakaways, now handled by the goalkeeper. Thirdly, some sort of complex rule change would be necessary to compensate for the penalty kick. Also, in conjunction with lengthening of the field, greater substitution or shorter periods would be essential to enable a team to last the entire game.
Whoever made the suggestion has taken the typical American attitude toward sport: outscore your opponent. To suggest such a radical change in the world's most popular game appears to be simply an accommodation to an unknowing public. It would be better to educate the public through greater exposure. There can be nothing more fascinating to watch than a finely tuned group of middlemen, defensemen and a goalkeeper working to perfection the intricacies of a defensive strategy.
JEFFREY G. JONAS
As I am a goalie on a high school soccer team, my prejudice against the proposal to remove goalkeepers from the game is obvious. The proposal ignores several things. A goalie is not simply a backboard at which to shoot. A large part of his job is aiding his defense in setting up the play. Anyone who has seen a soccer game knows that a good goalie never stops talking to his teammates.
The comparison of soccer with basketball is totally unfair. Basketball needs no goalie, for the "goal" is only 18 inches wide and 10 feet high. The soccer goal, on the other hand, is eight yards wide and eight feet high. It is notable that hockey, lacrosse and water polo, all games with smaller goals, find a keeper necessary. Without a soccer goalie, we can look forward to an NCAA final in which St. Louis University, say, narrowly defeats Southern Illinois 35-34 in overtime.
I don't think the idea is even worth discussing. How can anyone compare soccer with basketball? I just hope that soccer will become popular in the U.S., as it is, and give us as much enjoyment and thrill as it does millions of fans all over the world.
Fall River, Mass.
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, TIME & LIFE Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.