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Original Issue


If Tampa Bay ever makes it to the Super Bowl with Trent Dilfer
playing quarterback, I'll eat my cheesehead.
--TIM ZILLIG, Hiawatha, Iowa


I don't doubt that the Jaguars and the Buccaneers will have
strong teams this year, but No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in
the league (Scouting Reports, Aug. 17)?
JOHN ALLAIN, Milwaukee

You miscalculated when you picked Kansas City, one of the most
talented teams in the AFC, to finish 8-8. Not only do the Chiefs
have a potent passing attack with Elvis Grbac, Andre Rison and
Tony Gonzalez, but they also have one of the most intimidating
defenses in the NFL with Derrick Thomas, Dale Carter and James
CLINT DANIELS, Leawood, Kans.

As an avid Rams fan, I am furious with your prediction that St.
Louis will win only two games this season. Last year, with a new
coach, injured players and an inexperienced team, the Rams won
five games.


Congratulations to Paul Zimmerman on his article about the most
influential quarterbacks in the history of the game
(Revolutionaries, Aug. 17). One thing he forgot to mention,
however, is the bond that three of these passers share--western
Pennsylvania roots. Not a day goes by in Pittsburgh without a
group of children playing sandlot football while dreaming of the
day they might follow Joe Montana, Joe Namath and John Unitas in
becoming an NFL star from the Cradle of Quarterbacks.
MIKE FERENCE, Trafford, Pa.


After reading Peter King's article about a new summer football
league, I thought of an idea that might sell it better (PRO
FOOTBALL '98, Aug. 17). Why not stock each team with players from
one college conference? Imagine an All-Big Ten team versus an
All-SEC team or the ACC versus the Pac-10.
JEFF KNEZ, Alexandria, Va.


As a sports information director, I've always been amazed at the
importance coaches and scouts have placed on the 40-yard dash
(Mad Dash, Aug. 10). I've thought that with a running back the
time, what is critical is the five-yard dash--from the place where
he gets the ball on a handoff to the place where he gets through
the hole. After that, yardage gained is as much a matter of
deception (Gale Sayers) or of strength (Jim Brown) as it is of
Illinois Wesleyan University
Bloomington, Ill.

Your article reminded me of when my brother was being recruited
by colleges in the early 1970s. He had his heart set on Duke
because my father and uncle had played there. The Blue Devils'
coaches kept saying that they wished my brother's 40 time were
faster. My father finally asked, "When was the last time that a
Duke running back ran 40 yards on one play, anyway?" My brother
went to Duke and started for three years as a defensive back.
JIMMY COX, Raleigh, N.C.

While a football player for Indiana University of Pennsylvania in
1970, my brother Chad was a guest at a banquet at which running
back Tom Matte of the Baltimore Colts was the speaker. Matte
asked Chad if he wanted to play in the NFL. Chad said yes but
added that he hadn't been drafted. Matte told him to call Upton
Bell, the Colts' director of player personnel. Matte then asked
Chad what his time in the 40 was. Chad told him 4.8. Matte paused
and said, "When you talk to Upton, you better lie a little bit
about that." Chad said, "Tom, I already lied to you."
JIM RUFFNER, New Alexandria, Pa.


The article chronicling the thoughts a quarterback has in the
heat of the action (One Play, Aug. 17) is the best description so
far of the toughest job in football. It was a tribute to everyone
who has played quarterback, as well as to Brett Favre and his NFL
MIKE SULLIVAN, Philadelphia

COLOR PHOTO: WALTER IOOSS JR. [Fran Tarkenton scrambling, with others, in game]


How can quarterbacks who revolutionized pro football be discussed
without including Fran Tarkenton? Tarkenton's scrambling style
has been adopted successfully by today's mobile quarterbacks such
as Mark Brunell and Brett Favre.
GREG DEYAK, Albert Lea, Minn.