Congratulations to the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers and to the runner-up Dallas Cowboys for cutting through the hoopla and the hype to play a classic football game. Congratulations, too, to Terry Bradshaw, whose courage and faith—not to mention his super talents as a quarterback—rightly earned him the Most Valuable Player award.
And congratulations to Joe Marshall and Robert F. Jones for superb pregame briefings (Super Showdowns, Jan. 22). Their articles were interesting, informative—and right on the button.
Terry Bradshaw may not be able to spell cat—according to Thomas (Hollywood) Henderson—but he sure can spell victory. That is something Henderson couldn't spell in the Super Bowl.
Give my regards to "Hollywood."
With Pittsburgh's victory in Super Bowl XIII, the AFC's dominance over the NFC continues. Since 1969, the record is 8-2 for the AFC, with both NFC victories belonging to the Cowboys.
I agree with Joe Marshall that the Super Bowl is usually something less than super, but for him to say that having the Minnesota Vikings take part is the worst thing that can happen is underhanded. The fact that the Vikings have played in the Super Bowl game four times in the last 10 years proves they're a good team.
Fergus Falls, Minn.
I've been waiting for the article Yankee from Louisiana (Jan. 22) ever since Ron Guidry made it to the majors permanently. I played minor league ball against him on a few occasions—he struck me out three times in one game. It was at that point that I realized he had guts behind that slight build. He is truly a master of his art. His intensity is terrifying (to say nothing of his fastball). But most of all, he showed that it doesn't matter what other people think of you, just what you think of yourself. He persevered through the long bus rides, the poor playing conditions and the demoralizing treatment he received from "the men upstairs." That's more than I can say for myself, an ex-journeyman second baseman.
This article lends support to my conviction that Guidry was the only choice for Sportsman of the Year 1978. Take it from a displaced Cajun.
JAMES J. (JACQUES) CUMMINGS
El Segundo, Calif.
Sam Moses' article is superb. It seems as though Ron Guidry can do no wrong. One added anecdote: during his four-hit victory over the Dodgers in the fourth game of the 1977 World Series, Guidry made his first major league appearance at the plate. (To my knowledge, he is the first player in the history of the game whose first at bat occurred in a World Series game.) Guidry handled the pressure admirably by laying down a perfect sacrifice bunt.
Ron Guidry needs another lawyer. His four-season $600,000 contract is pitiful. Tommy John won't fill Yankee Stadium the way the Cajun will.
College Park, Md.
Regarding Ron Guidry's comment "I think I'll switch from baseball to football": as a long-suffering (though undaunted) Boston Red Sox lover, I will be happy to pay his way to the NFL tryout camp of his choice.
I think Ron Guidry has unwittingly cracked the Billy Martin case. The New York Yankee management and old No. 1 himself can talk about the return of the prodigal manager in 1980 until their pinstripes fall off. It has to be a falsehood. If Guidry believed that Martin was going to be his manager again, would he have confessed to spitting tobacco juice on his socks? With Martin's short fuse?
I sincerely enjoyed Sam Moses' article, but he might also have mentioned the time Ron Guidry gives to special children and children in hospitals. The fame that has come his way has not altered his feelings for those who have been less fortunate.
You'd think a 25-3 season would be enough! But now that I know Ron Guidry commiserates with hawks and can't bring himself to shoot a deer, I'm totally enraptured by him.
THE BIG TEN
Larry Keith's engaging article on the strength and balance of Big Ten basketball (A Case of Fratricide, Jan. 22) was perceptive and timely. And how we beleaguered Illinois fans gloried in favorable national sports coverage!
As hard as we Illini try to keep sports in perspective—Physics Professor John Bardeen's two Nobel Prizes have to be worth at least four Heismans—we have been reminded that it's great to have a winner.
DAVID M. PAISLEY
I must commend you on the excellent photographs of the Ohio State Buckeyes. Unfortunately, I can't say as much for the accompanying article. It's too bad Larry Keith spent more time comparing Big Ten basketball to Big Ten football than he did describing Ohio State's excellent basketball squad. And leave it to SI to find a way of getting Woody Hayes into the article.
From the way Keith raved, one would have thought it was the Illini, not the Buckeyes, who won the game in Champaign, Ill. Obviously, you believe Ohio State basketball is a fluke. Don't feel bad, though. Duke, Louisville, Iowa, Illinois and Michigan once thought so, too.
The Ohio State Lantern
Was it really necessary to include those gibes at Woody Hayes in a basketball article? I believe that is called kicking a man when he is down.
You were right to mention the Atlantic Coast Conference as the Big Ten's rival as the nation's strongest league. To balance the record. I'd just like to point out that as of Jan. 22, the ACC's overall winning percentage for the season was .712, the Big Ten's .637. ACC teams won seven of the nine tournaments they entered this season, and non-conference victories have come over such notables as Michigan State, Southern Cal, Detroit, Texas A&M, Louisville, Arkansas and Long Beach State.
The final accounting will come at season's end, but in terms of overall league strength in basketball, year in and year out, the ACC is the bench mark against which other leagues are measured.
You missed the boat when you called the Big Ten the nation's strongest conference. Although the Big Ten, like the Southeastern, Southwest and Atlantic Coast conferences, has three or four excellent teams, the true test of a league's overall strength is the performance of its second-division teams. If Larry Keith or anybody else at SI would like to bet the Big Ten's second division against the ACC's second division, please contact me. I believe you could make me a rich man.
LOUIS J. STRIEDNIG
In regard to your Jan. 15 SCORECARD item on the NHL "No-Stars," I fail to grasp what you meant when you discussed the starting team as being a "U.S." team—unless, of course, you were referring to a group of politicians who will be present for the opening ceremonies of the NHL-U.S.S.R. hockey match.
Nothing burns a Canadian more than having the U.S. take credit for something Canadians take pride in. We take great pride in our game of hockey and in the fact that more than 85% of the players in the NHL were born and bred in Canada.
Port Coquitlam, British Columbia
If there is an American player on the ice come Feb. 8, I'll eat the issue that the item appeared in.
In the Jan. 22 19TH HOLE you didn't give equal time to USC's point of view, so I have decided to add my two cents. If the best record in college football (12-1) against the toughest schedule in the country is not a justification for USC being named the No. 1 team, I don't know what is.
The Trojans played six bowl teams, all but one of which (Michigan) won or tied in its postseason appearance: Alabama beat Penn State (Sugar Bowl), Notre Dame beat Houston (Cotton Bowl), Stanford beat Georgia (Bluebonnet Bowl), Arizona Stale beat Rutgers (Garden State Bowl) and UCLA tied Arkansas (Fiesta Bowl).
MELVIN T. YAMADA
Pearl City, Hawaii
The annual brouhaha over which college football team is No. 1, and demands for a national-championship playoff are unnecessary this year. The deciding game was played in Birmingham on Sept. 23. The result: USC 24, Alabama 14.
BOWL COVERAGE (CONT.)
What a grouch! In William Oscar Johnson's report on college bowl-game coverage (TV-RADIO, Jan. 15), his remarks about Bruce Jenner were dreadfully offensive. And as for O. J. Simpson being too effervescent in his loyalty to USC, a little levity and loyalty shouldn't hurt anyone.
MRS. BURLEIGH BAGNALL
William Oscar Johnson said many things that should have been said about the bowl games, about football games in general and about the parades on New Year's Day. When are the networks going to learn that the game or parade is show enough? Two or three celebrity announcers aren't needed to describe what can be seen plainly if the cameramen are doing their job. All we need are the pertinent facts. If it is a devastating tackle or the most glorious float in captivity, we can see it for ourselves.
However, I do not agree entirely with Johnson's criticisms of halftime ceremonies. Granted, many of the bowl shows are a little too much, but they do reveal the spirit and vitality of the college game.
Haw River, N.C.
We are proud to inform SPORTS ILLUSTRATED that students at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater are in the process of establishing their own chapter of what we would like to call the Collegiate Tobacco Chewers of America (CTCA). Although our chapter is not yet formally organized, we have seen many potential members, plug in check, scattered throughout Whitewater's social establishments. Our chapter would therefore very much like to be recognized along with the other college chapters mentioned in "Great Expectorations" (SCORECARD, Jan. 15).
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