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Original Issue


The Prince of Crashers

The guy sitting next to me at an invitation-only pre-Super Bowl
brunch at New Orleans's Wyndham Hotel was familiar, but I
couldn't place him until he started pulling out pictures of
himself with Gwyneth Paltrow (above), Tiger Woods, Linda Evans
and a bunch of others. It was Dion Rich, the world's best
gate-crasher. He was one of the most personable and unassuming
people you'd ever want to meet. His stories were incredible and
usually backed up with pictures. As we were leaving the hotel, I
asked him what the last event was that he had crashed. He looked
at me and said, "The private brunch we just had."

Patriotic Fervor

Super Bowl XXXVI was enjoyable and memorable, and the Patriots
earned the victory by playing smart and nearly error-free
football (Pat Answer, Feb. 11), but the Rams again made crucial
mistakes--as they did in their two regular-season losses. New
England took full advantage of the St. Louis errors, but a
turnover-free performance by the Rams would very likely have
resulted in a different outcome.

Michael Silver felt obligated to note that the Patriots were able
to advance to the AFC Championship Game and, ultimately, the
Super Bowl only after a controversial call in the divisional
playoffs against the Raiders. It's time for Mr. Silver and those
whiny Raiders, Steelers and Rams fans to get over it! The Pats
showed in all three games that they were the better team. Why
ruin an otherwise good article about New England's triumph by
again referring to the controversial call?

So Kurt Warner chose not to pose on the SI cover with the black
cat representing the SI Jinx (Jan. 21)? Well, Kurt, sometimes the
Jinx chooses you.
MICHAEL KLEIN, Plainview, N.Y.

Interesting that Patriots coach Bill Belichick is credited with
having "had his finger on the pulse of a team" because he
enforced a midnight bed check on his team, while the favored Rams
roamed free during Super Bowl week in New Orleans. At the 1981
Super Bowl, Dick Vermeil was universally ridiculed for keeping
his Eagles under lock and key while the Raiders raised hell to
their hearts' content. The difference? Belichick's Patriots won,
while Vermeil's Eagles lost. Funny how that works.

Super Sneak

Rick Reilly's column "In Like Flynn" infuriated me (THE LIFE OF
REILLY, Feb. 11). Dion Rich should be arrested for trespassing
and fined an amount equal to the highest ticket prices for all
the events he crashed--retroactively. Reilly, find someone worthy
of your hero worship. Rich is worthy of nothing.
JO ANNE GORI, Bethlehem, Pa.

I have a question for Dion Rich: Can I come with you to Super

Should we admire Dion Rich? He wonders, "Why pay when you don't
have to?" Isn't that what every thief wonders?
DOUG REEVES, San Clemente, Calif.

Sloan Rangers

As a lifelong Bulls fan, I cheered for Jerry Sloan when he played
and coached in Chicago. When he left and took the job in Utah, I
still rooted for him because of his intensity and commitment to
his job and the game. Reading your story (Getting Straight, Feb.
11) has made it easier to applaud Jerry Sloan, the husband.
ED NELSON, Taylorville, Ill.

Sloan, Karl Malone, John Stockton and Jeff Hornacek may have
never won a title, but their loyalty, professionalism, work ethic
and commitment to family make them champions in a much bigger
ALEX MARKS, Sterling, Ill.

Make Up Your Minds!

In the Feb. 11 INSIDE COLLEGE BASKETBALL column, you take hoops
poll voters to task for ranking Virginia ahead of N.C. State and
Wake Forest, each of which had a better overall record and higher
ACC standing than the Cavaliers. Yet in your Weekly Seed Report
you have Virginia as the No. 4 seed in the West, with N.C. State
and Wake Forest nowhere to be found. Seems a little inconsistent,
doesn't it?
DAVID HOYT, East Brunswick, N.J.

Tough Teacher

The real winner in Tim Layden's article (Bode-audacious, Feb. 11)
is Barbara Trafton, the English teacher who refused to give Bode
Miller a passing grade on his research project. Miller admitted
in the article that it "wasn't a great paper," but he nonetheless
felt he should have passed. Hats off to Trafton for sticking to
her guns and not allowing him to slide by. It's regrettable that
Miller can't humble himself enough to take the opportunity to
revise his paper in order to graduate. What on earth is this guy
going to do with his life if he does crash and burn? I wish there
were more teachers like Trafton. I can think of more than a few
NCAA Division I colleges that could use a professor or two like