I'd like to extend my utmost congratulations to the writers who contributed toSI's 24-page coverage of the college bowl games and the NFL playoffs (Jan. 11).Each article was superbly written, especially John Underwood's splendid pieceabout the San Diego-Miami contest (A Game No One Should Have Lost). Writinglike this is the reason I read your magazine. So, to John Papanek, Pat Putnam,Douglas S. Looney, N. Brooks Clark, Craig Neff, Underwood, Jack McCallum, PaulZimmerman and Bruce Newman, thanks.
MICHAEL T. TOWNSEND
Those of us who were lucky enough to see the San Diego-Miami playoff realizedwe were watching one of pro football's proudest moments. That game had moreexcitement, drama, big plays and gutty performances than any other before it.From the players who made the game memorable—Don Strock. Tony Nathan, Joe Rose,Dan Fouts, James Brooks and Kellen Winslow—to the plays and events such as theearly San Diego blowout, the Miami comeback, the fleaflicker, the missed fieldgoals and the exciting overtime conclusion, it was the greatest football gameever played. This is what football is all about. To San Diego and Miami, I saythank you.
I couldn't agree more with John Underwood's assessment of the San Diego-Miamiplayoff game. After 60 minutes of NFL action at its alltime best, the overtimewas a disappointing denouement in which the Chargers and Dolphins merelybattled for field-goal position.
Underwood didn'toffer a solution to the sudden-death dilemma, but I will. Pete Rozelle shouldrule that next season overtime contests will be decided by a team scoring twofield goals or a touchdown. Such a rule would accomplish two things: It woulddeaden the advantage of winning the coin flip, and it would encourage teams toplay for the end zone instead of the goalposts.
It's easy toenvision some interesting strategical situations in fifth-quarter games playedunder this rule. For instance, on fourth and two from the opponent's 30-yardline, do you go for a field goal, which would get you only half the necessarypoints for a win, or do you go for a first down? If, after an additional 15minutes of play, the game is still tied, then perhaps a sudden-death sixthperiod could be played.
Sure, the game iscalled football, but I think we all would have preferred to see Kellen Winslowscore the winning points by catching another pass rather than to watch RolfBenirschke kick a winning field goal.
Now it's for sure: Clemson is No. 1 (Year of the Tigers, Jan. 11). Thanks forthe most popular issue of SI ever in Clemson, S.C. However, for the benefit ofthe unbelievers, you should have mentioned that Clemson beat three of UPI'sfinal Top 10, Georgia, North Carolina and Nebraska.
Watch out for ACCfootball. Good things are starting to happen.
MICHAEL D. TAYLOR
Your coverage of the bowl games was great, and your selection of Clemson as No.1 was on the button, but then you went haywire and chose Texas as No. 2. Pitt,the only team with an 11-1 record, soundly defeated Georgia, which went intothe bowls as the second-rated team in the nation, and deserved the No. 2 spot.Sure, Pitt lost 48-14 to Penn State, but you forgot the 42-11 thrashing Texastook at the hands of Arkansas, an unranked team.
LAWRENCE A. REHANEK
Mount Pleasant. Pa.
Your Top 20 is incredible! I would have been merely disappointed to find thatNebraska was not in your Top 5, but I am outraged that the Cornhuskers wereleft out of your Top 10. How can a team that came within a touchdown and atwo-point conversion of beating Clemson be ranked 11th?
An undefeated season does not a No. 1 team make. The best team in the countryafter all the bowls was Penn State. Six of Penn State's 12 opponents finishedin the Top 20, and three of them were ranked No. 1 at one time or another.Considering only Division I-A teams, the Nittany Lions' opponents had acombined record of 71-33-2, or .679, compared to Clemson's opponents' record of52-46-1 (.530). It would have been a great year for a playoff.
Thanks to SI and Sam Moses for an excellent article on Bobby Unser ("I WillGo Fast Until the Day I Die," Jan. 11). I attended last year's Indianapolis500 and there was—and still is—no question in my mind that Bobby Unser won thatrace. He is a great champion and a great man. I only wish that everyone couldsee him the way you have portrayed him—the way he really is.
After reading Sam Moses' article about Bobby Unser, I think you should havetitled it "I Will Cheat Until the Day I Die."
I had believedthat USAC officials were right in giving the 1981 Indy 500 victory back toUnser. But Unser's attitude—take whatever you think you can get away with, andif you get away with it, it must be right—has left me disillusioned.Apparently, he has been breaking the rules for so long he has lost the abilityto distinguish right from wrong. Unser should accept the fact that he wascaught this time and suffer the consequences.
I have nothing against Bobby Unser's passing nine cars under the yellow flag towin at Indianapolis, but if such activities as hunting polar bears fromairplanes, shooting birds off a television antenna in a residential area anddisregarding the speed limits on public highways are typical of him, then hegets my vote for Worst Sportsman of the Year.
PETER L. BOWER
I hope the people from whose automobiles Bobby Unser once stole engine partsand gasoline didn't need to use their cars for an emergency visit to thehospital, doctor, etc., only to find themselves stranded.
ROBERT H. DAVIES
Upper Montclair. N.J.
I've been a race fan since 1950, and I've never liked Bobby Unser. Now I knowwhy.
For more than 35 years I have represented all of the Unsers, including JerrySr., Mom Unser, Bobby and Al, and in addition to being their attorney, Iconsider myself a member of the Unser family.
Sam Moses' articlecorrectly showed one side of Bobby's competitive, compulsive nature and hisdesire to win, but what it did not show was his tremendous compassion andcharity.
For one example,there have been many times when hunters have been in danger of losing theirlives and Bobby has fought the elements and fatigue and led rescue parties tothem. For another, I have brought hundreds of visitors, some of them inwheelchairs, to Bobby's ranch. He has been nothing but courteous and kind toevery one of those people, and particularly with the disabled, he has made surethat they left with either a cap, a jacket or some other souvenir.
Bobby doesn't needme or anyone else to defend his life-style. He is a stoic and his outwardattitude is "I don't give a damn." But I have known him for more than40 years, and the good that he has done has far outweighed any bad.
TIMOTHY B. KLEHER
As the author of the copyrighted expression "I may not be totally perfect,but parts of me are excellent," which is also the title of my first book of"Brilliant Thoughts," I could not help reacting with mixed emotions toyour photograph of Chris Evert Lloyd displaying a T shirt with a piratedversion of those words in your April 27 issue (Love and Love). I feel it wouldbe only sporting for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED to let me set the record straight.
You might wonderwhy I should be so anxious to proclaim the truth about this—or any—matter whenyou consider that my second book is called I Have Abandoned My Search forTruth, and Am Now Looking for a Good Fantasy. The explanation probably lies inthe title of my third book, Appreciate Me Now, and Avoid the Rush.
All my books arepublished by Woodbridge Press, Santa Barbara, Calif., and all authorizedAshleigh Brilliant T shirts are produced by Artex Inc. of Overland Park,Kans.
Santa Barbara, Calif.
Considering that this country has been going through some of the coldestweather in the 20th century, don't you think it's time for SI to come out withits annual swimsuit issue? Come on, it's freezing out here!
New York City
•It'll be the Feb.8 issue, only two weeks away.
Letters should include the name, address and hometelephone number of the writer and be addressed to The Editor. SPORTSILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building. Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y.10020.