My congratulations to Paul Zimmerman! When I read his article (Pete, the Way They Play Today Stinks, Dec. 12), I realized why I've been losing interest in NFL football over the past few years. I've always been in favor of a power-running game, deep pass routes and a man-to-man pass defense. These are the characteristics Dr. Z recalled from days gone by. The only team that comes close to playing like that today is Al Davis' menagerie.
Bring back the good things in pro football: natural grass, mud and false teeth.
North Little Rock, Ark.
I commend Dr. Z. Steeler Defensive Coordinator Woody Widenhofer's remark that his current defense is better than the old Steel Curtain is simply untrue. How many times has this defense shut down—I don't mean stopped, I mean really shut down—an Earl Campbell, as Pittsburgh's fading Steel Curtain did in the 1979 and 1980 AFC championship games? In the '80 game, Campbell was held to 15 yards rushing for the whole game—two yards at the half. Those were the days of real football. Then came the rules changes, and now many games are decided on numerous discretionary calls by referees.
Come on, Pete. You know we're right. Bring back real football. Get rid of those stupid rules.
It's finals week at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, but I decided to take a break and read my SI. Paul Zimmerman's article was excellent. If Pete Rozelle wants to know how boring today's NFL play is, tell him I turned off my television set to study last Sunday, and my test wasn't until Tuesday.
Kansas City, Mo.
Amen, Dr. Z! I used to be a hard-core pro football fan, and I still am a hard-core Pittsburgh Steeler fan. I also happen to be a transplanted McKeesporter and even I had to think for a minute before naming the players on this year's Steeler defensive line.
Thanks for telling it exactly as it is concerning the sorry state of pro football today. I only hope that Pete Rozelle and the rules makers are wise enough to recognize the loss of quality brought about by their policies-for-parity actions. The mystique that was pro football is going, going....
Paul Zimmerman was way out of line. This new game is different from play in the old NFL, but I wouldn't say it stinks. The game has gotten much quicker, and, yes, many of the athletes are situation players, but it has become more exciting. Offenses have opened up, making it essential for defenses to change. Can you picture Dick Butkus or Ray Nitschke attempting to cover Walter Payton or Tony Dorsett on a safety valve, or maybe in an isolated situation when the backs break long? I can't!
As for the monsters like Butkus, I'm not sure they're the answer to the bigger, stronger, faster offensive lineman of today's game. Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed watching Alex Karras, Paul Hornung, Jim Brown, Butkus and Nitschke for the few years I could, but they just weren't fast enough for this game.
Oldtimers, get with the '80s!
MICHAEL S. HILFMAN
Dr. Z cites a lack of heroes, I assume of the "macho" type. Ten years from now he'll probably be saying the same thing—what happened to the Jack Lamberts, Randy Gradishars, et al. Come on, Z. There are still plenty of heroes around, and change is only an element of the game itself. I prefer football with innovative minds like those of Tom Landry, Don Shula, Bud Grant and others who are constantly trying to gain an edge on their opponents.
PETER M. KLISMET JR.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Paul Zimmerman obviously wants to return the NFL to its barbaric days. With so much violence in the world, the last place we need more of it is on the football field. As the author states, "The NFL just ain't what it used to be." True sports fans hope that it never will go back to those violent days.
I have one question regarding your cover and Jill Lieber's sidebar on Jim Brown's possible return: Did Marcus Allen lend Brown his No. 32? Surely Allen isn't conceding his number to the rantings of an over-the-hill part-time actor and roller skater. Stay home, Mr. Brown.
Jim Brown is certainly entitled to take another crack at the NFL, and the spectacle would indeed be interesting. My feeling is that Brown may have lived with his Hollywood fantasies for too long. In challenging and demeaning a class act like Franco Harris. Brown has done something he seldom did during his illustrious career: fumble.
LARRY D. PATTERSON
SASSY AND JAZZY
I can't believe it! SI is the epitome of sports photojournalism, and yet what do we get when mention is made by Jim Kaplan of "the sexiest, sassiest, most spectacular cheerleaders to be found in a college gym anywhere" (The Violets Bloom Again, Dec. 5)? No picture.
LARRY K. TOLBERT
In the days of New York City's old Madison Square Garden I always tried to schedule my business trips to the city to coincide with either an NBA game or a college doubleheader. Once I was present at an NYU-CCNY game, won in the final seconds by underdog CCNY. I still remember the CCNY students rocking the Garden with a yell that began "Allagaroo, garoo, gara." When I read of CCNY's "sexiest, sassiest, most spectacular cheerleaders" (why no picture?), I wondered if they still lead cheers with the old Allagaroo.
•Indeed they do. And for a glimpse of one of their performances, see left.—ED.
Who was that attractive cheerleader pictured, but not named, in Anthony Cotton's article on the Utah Jazz basketball team (New Floor Show for Las Vegas, Dec. 5)? A comprehensive answer is requested. Another photograph would be welcomed.
I enjoyed Anthony Cotton's story on the Utah Jazz. That team greatly helped itself by taking Thurl Bailey of North Carolina State in last year's draft (No. 7, first round) and by adding cheerleader Julie Wade of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, whom you pictured but didn't identify. Many pro scouts, including me, rated her the No. 1 cheerleader in America, based on beauty, gymnastic ability and cheerfulness. I'm glad she was rewarded with a pro "contract."
Director of Player Personnel
New Jersey Nets
East Rutherford, N.J.
•Here's one more shot of Wade.—ED.
CCNY's Karen Evans displays her "killer split."
Jazz cheerleader Wade is also a jazz dancer.
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