Adjusting Bud Goode's predictions (Big D by Three, Sept. 4) according to the results of the first week of play makes Oakland 12-3-1 for the season and Denver 12-2-2. Now do you believe?
My condolences to Bud Goode. He predicted that the Jets would win only one game this year. Now let's see if the Jets can lose 15 straight.
Washington 16, New England 14. So much for Bud Goode and his computer.
In Week 11, Bud Goode has New England plus four over Houston while he has Houston plus four over New Orleans. I cannot believe you expect us to rely on these figures for the season, season, season....
•The latter entry should have read Houston minus four against New England, not plus four over New Orleans, making Houston 9-7-0 (.563) for the season.—ED.
Although Bud Goode's predictions seem reasonable and have a good chance of coming true, I feel his computer has copped out on the big games of the season. Goode predicts that 16 games will end in a tie. With the sudden-death rule, 16 tie games seem highly unlikely. If he were to figure each tie game as a win or a loss, his overall projections would be quite different.
•Goode was aware of the sudden-death rule. However, whenever computer results showed less than half a point difference between two teams, he rounded the figure off to zero and called it a tie.—ED.
MR. STRAIGHT ARROW
Robert F. Jones' article about me (A Do-Gooder Who's Doing Good, Sept. 4) was favorable and for the most part accurate. He did make one error in judgment, though. In his passage about Phyllis George contrasting my life-style with that of Joe Namath. he says. "The implication was that George preferred a fun-loving swinger like Broadway Joe to a stick-in-the-mud Staubach."
I never interpreted Phyllis' interview in that light. She did not take sides. She and her parents are close friends of ours; she is a fine, impartial journalist and I would never suggest that she might prefer feeling good to being good. She is a good person and a good friend of the family.
It was a joy to read about such a full human being. The day of the anti-hero is passing, and Roger Staubach could be one of the heroes we need. He has the preparation, the conscience, the involvement, the courage and the faith to meet the requirements.
JOHN ELLSWORTH WINTER, PH.D.
Professor of Philosophy
Millersville State College
I prefer a man like Roger Staubach any day. He is a credit to his family, his faith and his fans. Now if he could just clean up the Dallas Cowgirls' act....
Clive Gammon's article on the Cosmos' impressive victory over the Tampa Bay Rowdies in Soccer Bowl-78 (Two in a Row for the Cosmos, Sept. 4) was enjoyable and did justice to a great team. But there is one point that annoys me and thousands of other New Jersey fans of the Cosmos—the reference to the Cosmos as a "New York-based team" playing in a stadium "outside New York." I am sure your readers are intelligent enough to know where New Jersey is without having to use New York as a reference point.
Your article Across (he Sea to Glory (Aug. 8) is full of hot air. We have nothing against Clive Gammon or his writing, but such an adventure has no place in the world of sports.
Regarding the flight of Double Eagle II, who cares?
JOHN R. HESTER
The photograph of Double Eagle II is the most magnificent picture ever to grace your cover.
North Andover, Mass.
As a charter subscriber, let me congratulate Clive Gammon on his marvelous reporting. One "rode the air" with this triumphant trio, Abruzzo. Anderson and Newman.
RICHARD JONATHAN MILLER
Kennett Square, Pa.
Clive Gammon doubted the possibility of a ticker-tape parade in Albuquerque to honor the balloonists because "the buildings are mostly two-story adobe structures."
Just why do you allow provincial writers with a hayseed's knowledge of places and geography outside of megalopolis to present such ignorance to the public? For your edification, Albuquerque, with its skyscrapers, fine restaurants and the best that three cultures have to offer, is one of America's most modern and livable cities. It makes most of Manhattan look as if it needs urban renewal.
However, maybe you shouldn't correct such distortions. It will serve to discourage newcomers, too many of whom can ruin a nice city and turn it into another New York.
The Hobbs Daily News-Sun
Hobbs, N. Mex.
The three-part series on Brutality in Football (Aug. 14 et seq.) is an outstanding contribution to sports medicine, as well as a timely demand for sanity in this important area of our national life.
My special justification for commenting, and that of my 42,000 colleagues in the American Academy of Family Physicians, is my involvement in the medical profession as a family doctor. Thousands of us function as team physicians for junior highs, high schools and colleges. We have to put these kids back together again after the punishment of practices and games, and also do our best to prevent more harm. We are, or should be, in a central position to help bring safety and balance to the game at the level where the youngsters are most impressionable. We can begin to help stop the senseless violence at this point, before it becomes ingrained in young minds and when real sportsmanship can yet be instilled in youth.
While my colleagues and I essentially are there on the sidelines to make repairs, we need to be constantly aware that we are in a position to contribute to the game and to the nation by influencing coaches, parents, fans and players to take definite steps to curb the rise in injuries.
Accolades to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED for the courage to look this problem in the eye. The family physicians of America applaud you for calling the turn on coaches, players and us. Thanks. We all needed that.
JOHN C. KELLY, M.D.
American Academy of Family Physicians
Kansas City, Mo.
John Underwood's series is an eye-opener. I have read articles on helmet-related injuries before, but I didn't know they were so numerous. I am a Junior Football League coach and I strongly agree with Underwood's suggestions. The one thing I am particularly interested in is the padded helmet. I didn't know that it already existed.
I also would like you to know that the team I work with is taught to tackle and block with the shoulder, not the head. Some coaches are changing, and I hope that with articles like Underwood's, more will. Maybe some day the game of football will be a little safer to play.
MICHAEL E. CULLEN
Gages Lake, Ill.
John Underwood has done a great service to America's youth. As for the hard-shell helmets, give them to the officials so that when some drunk throws a bottle from the stands, they will have some protection.
DR. CAROL O. HARPER JR.
Moses Lake, Wash.
Regarding John Underwood's solutions to neck injuries, I would prefer to have my face mask pulled and risk a possible neck injury than to have no face mask and my nose relocated somewhere between my earlobe and my wisdom teeth.
Perhaps an answer to the face-mask dilemma would be something resembling the lower portion of a hockey goalie's mask—a relatively flat piece of transparent plastic that would snap onto the helmet and curve down under the chin to protect the nose, teeth and lower jaw. This would avoid an outward projection from the helmet, which is a drawback of the present style of face mask. Such a device would also eliminate the temptation to grab the face mask when tackling. The mask could be easily removed in case of injury and replaced in case of damage.
NICHOLAS H. KALVIN. M.D.
For those coaches who don't think the game can be played without tackling helmet-first, I submit Kansas City Chief Middle Linebacker Willie Lanier. Because of an injury, he could not use his head when tackling. Of course, Lanier only became one of the best linebackers in the NFL.
How about some penalities for fans? They're a part of this whole thing. How about 15-yard penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct when the visiting team can't hear signals for the booing? How about adding five extra minutes to a game when the home crowds go onto the field before the game is over? At present, the crowds are given credit for a home victory but don't share in losses. Let them.
Get the sports broadcasters involved. Kids imitate what they see on television. The "good hits" sportscasters talk about are often malicious and unnecessary. We "tell it like it is" when a player drops a ball. Why can't we call a dirty hit a dirty hit?
Your series fails to mention that many injuries can be avoided or minimized by the employment of a certified athletic trainer. Each year we see many high school athletes who are needlessly injured because of the ignorance of those who are charged with their primary care.
Secondary school administrators historically have been reluctant to hire a trainer because they have never had one before, and because it means an added expenditure of funds. However, what price do you place on a life saved or a serious injury prevented?
JOE GIECK, ED. D.
Head Athletic Trainer
University of Virginia
I play semipro football, and I would like my sons to play football, too. But I am not worried about whether or not the game will be fit to play when my sons are old enough. Either football will change now, or it will soon cease to exist. Thank you for an excellent social comment.
THOMAS R. SWEET
After reading Frank Deford's article about Jimmy Connors (Raised by Women To Conquer Men, Aug. 28), I think SI should run a series on sportswriter brutality in prying into athletes' personal lives and making judgments about how they became what they are and what motivates them. Not content with analyzing Connors, Deford says of Jimmy's mother, "She is feared as a zealot." The dictionary defines a zealot as one who shows enthusiasm. Isn't it normal for a mother to be zealous when it comes to her son? Connors may need to improve his serve, but it's Deford who should stop double-faulting.
WILLIAM A. HERR
In fairness to Jimmy Connors, and with respect to Bjorn Borg and the Grand Slam, in his best year, 1974, Connors never got a chance to play in all four of the tournaments. The political machine of tennis took care of that by banning him from the French Open (won by Borg) for playing in the newly formed World Team Tennis league.
I am one person who regards this as one of the biggest ripoffs of modern sports. Jimbo was as overpowering that year as Borg has been this year. In fact, later that summer, Connors beat Borg in the U.S. Clay Court Championships.
Would Connors have won in Paris? I think so.
Frank Deford writes of "the mortifying episode at Forest Hills when Connors ran around the net onto the other side of the court and erased a ball mark that his opponent was citing as evidence of a bad call."
In more than 40 years of watching topflight tennis, it was the funniest thing I've ever seen on a tennis court. Funny is funny. That was funny. The gasp that came from the part of the crowd that wasn't laughing was the same kind of gasp that I once heard at a Lenny Bruce concert. It confirmed my feeling that for one brilliant moment Connors had hit a higher comic net chord than the great court jesters of the past—Bill Tilden and Frank Kovacs.
New York City
It's a little late now, but if Connors' father had given both Gloria and James a good stiff kick now and then, it might have helped. (Don't knock it. I've raised seven kids and it works.)
JAMES A. WILDE
WORD TO THE WISE
Rodney Dangerfield's comment "I went to a fight the other night and a hockey game broke out" (SCORECARD, Sept. 4) has to be one of the world's funniest lines. Beneath its comedy, though, there is a telling message about hockey's unnecessary violence. The National Hockey League should take note.
CLYDE PARTIN JR.
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