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Rocky Road

As a native Philadelphian, I was excited to see Jeremiah Trotter on your Jan. 31 cover celebrating the Eagles' first trip to the Super Bowl in 24 years, but I was upset by the line touting Million Dollar Baby as a better boxing movie than Philly's beloved Rocky.

Patrick Burland
Rockville, Md.

If anyone was looking for a reason to root against the Eagles (Super Effort, Jan. 31), there was Philadelphia wide receiver Freddie Mitchell saying that "the [Eagles'] loss to Carolina last year hit some people harder than anything since 9/11." The world has not stopped turning without the NHL, and somehow, I think, we'd be able to get by without the NFL. Putting a football game and 9/11 in the same sentence is shockingly insensitive, at best.

Chris Marzuk, Greenlawn, N.Y.

Shadow Boxing

Kudos to John Schulian, who has once again proven himself the undisputed champion of modern-day boxing scribes with his review of Million Dollar Baby and his commentary on Hollywood's frequent and often regrettable ventures into the world of boxing (One Tough Baby, Jan. 31). While Hilary Swank delivers a knockout performance, most of her male counterparts through the years have been far less believable. Without question the most convincing boxer was Jon Voight in the 1979 remake of The Champ. As a longtime observer of the sport and former president of the World Boxing Hall of Fame, I assure you that as a young man Voight could box. (Yes, he coulda been a contendah.)

Bill O'Neill
Riverside, Calif.

A boxing film comes out, and you decide to rate the greatest fight flicks of all time. Meanwhile, a real fight between Arturo Gatti--the most exciting boxer on the planet--and Jesse James Leija is ignored. Let Richard Hoffer do his thing, and make some space for the genuine article.

Matt Aguilar, El Paso

Please don't think that readers are so stupid as to not realize that Million Dollar Baby, a Warner Brothers movie, and SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, a Time Inc. magazine, are both owned by Time Warner.

Mark Simpson, New York City

Jermaine Question

S.L. Price's article on NBA star Jermaine O'Neal (What Would You Do?, Jan. 31) was sports journalism at its best: balanced, intelligent, thoughtful and insightful. I think O'Neal belongs in jail.

Gary Ladinski, Warren, N.J.

For O'Neal to blame part of the attention he is getting on his race is ridiculous. Maybe he should focus on his own lack of self-control in front of thousands of fans. What would I do, Jermaine? I would have gone to the locker room and stayed there.

Ryan J. Bashor, Perth Amboy, N.J.

Last year it was O'Neal who invited children of servicemen stationed in Iraq or Afghanistan to be his guest at Pacers games. I decided back then he was one of the good guys. And regardless of the meltdown in Motown, he still is.

Jerry Griffis, Muncie, Ind.

Price's article once again shows how O'Neal and other individuals had only seconds to react to the situation, while the media and critics have had months.

Martin Rittenberry, Shakopee, Minn.

Woods Whole?

It was fun to see Tiger Woods atop a leader board after an 11-month drought (Back to the Future, Jan. 31). Winning one tournament in which he hit many poor shots, however, does not show me that Tiger is poised to regain his dominant position. The only thing Tiger has truly proved this year is that he has great taste in women.

Scott Weitz, San Diego

Different Strokes

Rick Reilly's column on Sean O'Hair, the young golfer whose father struck and bullied him, is very disturbing and truly sad (LIFE OF REILLY, Jan. 31). Not only did it make me grateful for my own parents, but it also made me realize what a fine job Earl and Tida Woods did in raising a well-rounded, well-adjusted child prodigy.

Jimmy Etheridge, Ellenwood, Ga.

Extended Family

Dribbling Daughters (Jan. 31) claims to list the most prominent daughters of pro athletes playing college basketball. You've left out, however, Jenyce Woodruff of American University. The senior forward is third in the Patriot League in rebounds and near the top in blocks and free throw percentage. She is the daughter of former Pittsburgh Steeler Dwayne Woodruff, who was the team MVP in 1982 and was part of the Super Bowl XIV--winning squad.

Stephen Tucker, Washington, D.C.

Right to the very last paragraph of Daddy's Girl (Jan. 31) I kept my hopes up that my granddaughter would be mentioned. She is Katie Murphy, starting senior guard at Harvard, daughter of Mark Murphy, former All-Pro Washington Redskins safety.

Nancy (Nanu) Murphy, Dunedin, Fla.

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Murphy (left) and Woodruff have fathers with NFL pasts.



  [See caption above]