Thank you for Rick Telander's article on Nolan Cromwell (Best NFL Athlete? Nolan Contendere, Oct. 26). It's about time somebody recognized the great Ram free safety. He is, for sure, the best athlete in the NFL.
Cromwell is the only player I have ever seen who has hit Earl Campbell straight up and knocked him backward. What a player!
Dunbar, W. Va.
Not only is Cromwell possibly the best NFL athlete, but, considering his accomplishments, he may also be one of the world's best all-around athletes.
Dana Point, Calif.
GRASPING THE NETTLE
Your dramatic action cover photo of Graig Nettles (Oct. 26) was welcomed as highly deserved recognition for this great New York Yankee veteran. Through all his years as a Yankee, Nettles has proved to be consistently reliable not only as a sure-handed defensive performer at third base but also as a superior clutch performer at the plate.
Largely due to Nettles' continued professional contribution, the Yankees won their fourth American League pennant in the last six years, and until Nettles injured himself in the second game of the Series, they appeared headed toward their third world championship in five years. With all due respect to Brooks Robinson, I feel Graig Nettles is the greatest third baseman of all time.
WILLIAM B. SCHNECK
For the 10 years from 1971 through 1980—I exclude 1981 because of the strike—Nettles averaged 24 homers, 81 RBIs, a .432 slugging percentage, and scored 75 runs per season. Only now is he getting some of the recognition he deserves.
New York City
So "the Broncos were the only NFL team that declared a loss last year" (Denver Is Mile-High Once Again, Oct. 19). Bronco owners may "declare" all the losses they want but we suggest a different analysis.
Using NFLPA research for 1980 Denver income, let's be conservative. League documents show Denver had net gate revenues of over $6.9 million—ninth-highest in the NFL. As its share of League broadcasting contracts, and from preseason TV and local radio, Denver made around $6.1 million. The club also took in a minimum $1 million from interest earned on short-term capital investments, from NFL Films, ads in PRO! magazine and other sources. Added up, that's at least $14 million in income.
For expenditures, we'll be generous. Denver's player costs—probably among the league's highest—may have been around $6.5 million. Other operating costs—the coaching staff, front office travel, training camps, equipment, etc.—were probably around the league-wide $4.8 million mark, but let's assume an even $5 million.
With revenues of at least $14 million and expenditures of around $11.5 million, it would seem reasonable to estimate that former Bronco owner Gerald H. Phipps made at least a $2.5 million profit in 1980—somewhat below the league average of $5.1 million but a nice profit nevertheless.
Remember, as Pete Rozelle has said, it takes a genius to lose money in the NFL. Neither new owner Edgar Kaiser nor Phipps is that.
Director of Research
National Football League
THE RATINGS GAME
Clemson University supporters deserve an explanation of why in your Oct. 26 issue you rate Georgia fifth in the nation and Clemson seventh. I am not questioning why Clemson is rated seventh (although the AP has Clemson fourth and the UPI fifth), but why do you put Georgia above Clemson?
Having watched the Clemson-Georgia game from the 50-yard line and seen a complete replay of the game on TV, I believe Clemson deserves to be ranked ahead of Georgia. Even though Georgia turned the ball over nine times that day, it was the Tigers' "Paws and Claws" defense that caused those turnovers. Incidentally, the Paws and Claws have given up fewer points than any other major team (through Oct. 30) and lead in turnover margin.
•SI ranked Clemson fourth, Georgia fifth in the Nov. 2 issue, Clemson third, Georgia fourth in this issue.—ED.
I've usually found Herm Weiskopf's section on college football to be superb. But in your Oct. 26 issue, his Top 20 was incredibly inaccurate. The first three (Penn State, North Carolina, Pittsburgh) made a good start, but then he went crazy. How could he put USC, Georgia and SMU ahead of Clemson? USC has lost a game and Clemson soundly defeated Georgia. The Tigers and SMU have identical records, but Clemson has played a tougher schedule. Although Clemson isn't a perennial football power, the Tigers are having a great season and deserve more recognition.
As longtime Penn State football fans and, currently, students, we feel you've put down our football team once too often.
Throughout this season SI has featured the No. 1 team on its cover and in an article. So tell me, why did you feature Pitt (They're Making Names for Themselves, Oct. 26) in a major article the week Penn State became the No. 1 team in the country? Amazingly enough, SI even ranked Penn State No. 1! But we had to search the magazine to find any mention of Penn State's game and Curt Warner's extraordinary effort—256 yards, a Penn State record.
University Park, Pa.
•Alas, no search will be necessary to disclose an account of Penn State's latest game. See page 32.—ED.
I am thoroughly disappointed that you seem to rate Florida State as a second-rate club. Without a doubt, we have the toughest schedule in the country. After we beat Ohio State and Notre Dame in succession on the road, the only time you mentioned us was when we lost to a very fine football team—Pittsburgh.
Also, you failed to rank the twice-in-a-row Top Ten Seminoles in your bogus SI Top 20 poll. It's about time you realized that FSU and Bobby Bowden have an excellent football program and deserve more credit than they receive.
MICHAEL J. SPOSATO
Vero Beach. FLa.
Too often, Pitt is underrated at the national level, by writers and fans alike. In SI's Top 20 for this week, after a stunning victory over Florida State, Pitt is still ranked behind North Carolina. This has to be the greatest mistake since Johnny Majors went to Tennessee!
FRANCIS M. McCOOL
Patrick AFB, Fla.
Bob Arnot is truly a one-of-a-kind athlete (What's Up? Doc., Oct. 19). However, the way you describe his flying, it's a wonder he's still around.
As a professional pilot, I, like the pilot whose letter appeared in last week's 19TH HOLE, find his antics in the skies not daring but downright dangerous. Buzzing houses in the fog, joining the Mile High club at one of the nation's busiest airports and practicing his trumpet—it's a wonder he has logged as many hours as he has. With that type of flying, he's an accident waiting to happen.
Also, if his Beechcraft isn't pressurized or he isn't wearing an oxygen mask, he won't have his license much longer. Flying above 14,000 feet without supplemental oxygen is a direct violation of regulations.
Please, Dr. Arnot, clean up your flying act. Not only for your sake, but for mine and other pilots who share the skies with you.
Dr. Robert Arnot is certainly an active, fun-loving guy, great at parties and maybe even a good physician. However, I do object to the Ivy League dilettante image he conveys about my specialty of emergency medicine.
Emergency medicine has had a reputation of being a haven for itinerant, gypsy, vagabond physicians who are in it only for the money and without any long-term investment in either their community or the specialty. Other career emergency physicians and I are working to change this image. I regret that my profession was portrayed by Dr. Arnot.
I wish Dr. Arnot success in his future athletic endeavors, but hope he leaves the practice of emergency medicine to trained, career-oriented physicians.
J.S. STAPCZYNSKI, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Department of Emergency Medicine
Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
Thanks so much for making sweat (The Story of Sweat, Oct. 26) socially acceptable. Now America has only two worries left: panty line and whether to use a fluoride or a gel toothpaste.
St. Benedict, Ore.
It is with great interest that I read your article on the Caesars Palace Grand Prix (Gears and Loathing in Las Vegas, Oct. 26).
I have long been a Formula I fan, and I regularly attended the U.S. Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, where the race was held until this year. I have always admired your coverage of Formula I drivers; it is unequaled. However, one matter is unexplained. The hierarchy of the sport has shown flat-out cowardice in explaining the move from the Glen to Vegas. First, they blamed track conditions. After improvements in the track were made, the reason given was back debt. At that point, a number of public and private concerns offered a bailout. Still no go!
The truth is that the world of Formula I is a world of high rollers, of weeks spent in places like Rio, Buenos Aires and Monaco. For these people, Las Vegas is much more appealing than upstate New York. I can understand why this is so. It's a shame, though, that they hide behind complaints about money and track conditions and then run the race in a parking lot.
IN A TRAP
In your Oct. 26 SCORECARD you write of the four-way scramble at the end-of-the-season Pensacola Open among golfers Tom Kite, Ray Floyd, Tom Watson and Bruce Lietzke.
Your final comment on the very tight race for seasonal honors was "So who needs Nicklaus vs. Palmer anyway?"
I dare you to schedule a series of matches on the same golf course on successive days offering Jerry Pate vs. Kite, Floyd vs. Watson, Bill Rogers vs. Lietzke and finally Palmer vs. Nicklaus.
Tell the owners of the golf course that they can have all the proceeds from three of the matches if they let you have the proceeds from just one of your choice. If you choose any but the Palmer-Nicklaus match, you've got rocks in your head.
"So who needs Nicklaus vs. Palmer anyway?"
Golf and the fans need them.
While Leonard, McEnroe and Gretzky may be strong contenders, it should still take your editors no longer than 3 minutes, 47.33 seconds to choose Sebastian Coe as Sportsman of the Year.
Letters should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.