Given the power of the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED cover to stop winning
streaks, perhaps a better headline on your Nov. 17 edition would
have been THE CHIEFS, PERFECT (UNTIL NOW).
Can Anyone Stop the Chiefs? (Nov. 17). The answer to your
question is simple: The SI cover jinx can.
Lance Madden, Tucson
Not that I am a firm believer in the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED cover
jinx, but if I saw Santa on the front of your magazine, I would
not hang my stocking.
Derald Farrimond, Elk Grove, Calif.
Not in Kansas Anymore
Roy Williams is responsible for his own conflicted feelings as
well as the unparalleled animosity toward him here in Kansas
(Return of the Native, Nov. 17). At his press conference when he
came to Lawrence 15 years ago, he began digging a hole for
himself by saying he hoped Kansas would not have to hire another
basketball coach for 30 years. Each successive year he reinforced
the vision of a Jayhawks family and of his retiring as a Jayhawk.
The hole got deeper and deeper. What other coach ever sent such
signals? When he broke these big promises and announced his
decision to go to Carolina, we could feel only anger and
betrayal. We indeed learned that "Ol' Roy ain't that good." Good
luck, Roy. We still love ya. And that's why it hurts.
David R. Lindgren, Olathe, Kans.
If Williams takes North Carolina to an NCAA basketball
championship, he will break a 65-year-old tradition: No one has
ever coached a team to the title without having played on a
varsity college basketball team. Williams's college playing
career consisted of 11 games and seven points for the 1968-69 Tar
Heels freshman team.
Let's get our facts straight about the decline of the UNC
basketball program. Dean Smith's appointee as head coach, Bill
Guthridge, had one good recruit in three years--Joseph Forte--and
he stayed only two years. Matt Doherty left Williams a lot more
talent than Guthridge left Matt.
Robert T. Ramsey, Roxboro, N.C.
How can you applaud Williams for returning to his roots and
saying that "you can't change how you're wired, can't change your
family roots" without pointing out that his mentor, Smith, failed
to return to his roots in Kansas. Smith stayed at North Carolina
out of loyalty to a school that gave him a chance. That is
understandable and admirable. Obviously loyalty is not one of the
many things Smith taught Williams.
Mike Burrichter, Lawrence, Kans.
Dean Smith's ego and selfishness have stained what would have
been a legendary career for coach Williams at Kansas. I could
never imagine John Wooden pressuring a former protege to leave an
institution where he was so revered only because of a concern
that his own institution's winning tradition might be in
jeopardy. This might be the difference between winning a lot of
games and winning a lot of championships.
Brian Stark, Shawnee Mission, Kans.
By the Numbers
Kudos to Rick Reilly for honoring high school quarterback Nate
Haasis and his decision to disclaim the passing record that he
set when his coach struck a deal with the opposition (THE LIFE OF
REILLY, Nov. 17). Records are not made to be broken; they are
made to be a target for future achievement. The fact they are not
easy to break makes them worth chasing.
John Naber, Pasadena
--Swimmer John Naber won four gold medals and broke four world
records at the 1976 Olympics. --Ed.
While I agree Haasis made an honest and principled decision, why
did the fans in Springfield need to condemn coach Neal Taylor?
What did he do wrong? He tried to get a record for a kid whom he
seemed to care about. To me, the bigger story is the people who
went after Taylor, who recently resigned from coaching. Their
self-righteousness may have cost them, from what I have heard of
this story, a good coach and a good man.
Nick Weisse, Stoughton, Wis.
Reilly is absolutely right--we really do need Nate Haasis in
Washington, D.C. However, let's put our political needs aside--we
need a Redskins quarterback!
Dave Morton, Stafford, Va.
So, how much did the 1972 Dolphins pay to get you to run the
Chiefs and their perfect season on the cover? I am sure that they
had their champagne on ice waiting for the Bengals to pull off
the upset. Did the Dolphins have to overcome the jinx during
their perfect season?
Dave Parsons, Mount Vernon, Ohio
--The 17-0 Miami Dolphins appeared on the cover twice (above):
during training camp and after they had defeated the Pittsburgh
Steelers 21-17 to qualify for the Super Bowl. --Ed.
COLOR PHOTO: JOHN BIEVER (NOV. 17)
COLOR PHOTO: WALTER IOOSS JR. (AUG. 8, 1972) Aug. 7, 1972
COLOR PHOTO: NEIL LEIFER (JAN. 8, 1973) Jan. 8, 1973
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