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Original Issue


The Year's Best
On behalf of America's mothers, God bless LaDainian Tomlinson! My seven year-old has become an avid football fan and reader of SI. I am glad that he gets to watch one of the greatest players of all time and even more thankful that LaDainian is such a tremendous role model on and off the field. Truly, The Best of the NFL (Dec. 25--Jan. 1)!
Beth Sala Covin, Princeton, N.J.

I instantly liked Tomlinson when I noticed he never spiked the ball or danced like a maniac after getting a first down. He earned his records with class and honor, and will be remembered long after his career is over. May that be many years from now.
Mike Whealan, Chicago

Annus Mirabilis
Not only was Chris Ballard's The Game of the Year (Dec. 25--Jan. 1) a thrilling read, but he also summed up with one sentence why I have subscribed to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED since I was 12: "... the magic of sports is that there is always the potential for great drama, no matter the stage it is played on."
Jeremy Zabel, Spokane

In your notable sports accomplishments of the year you should have at least mentioned Jamaica's Asafa Powell, the 100-meter record holder. He equaled his own world mark of 9.77 seconds twice in 2006 and ran an unprecedented 12 sub-10-second clockings.
Jomo Russell, Toronto

I was moved recalling the many sports figures remembered in Farewell in your year-end issue, but I'm afraid you forgot Ferenc Puskas, who in the 1950s was one of the best soccer players in the world and the captain of a Hungarian national team that set new standards for play.
Flynn Hagerty, San Francisco

... Tom Nugent, who coached at Florida State, Maryland and VMI, where he created the I formation.
Gene Feher, Las Vegas

... my dad, Kirk Gebert, who played basketball for Washington State, which in 1941 played Wisconsin for the NCAA title. Though the Cougars lost 39--34, Dad scored 21 of his team's 34 points.
John J. Gebert, Everett, Wash.

I enjoy SI, but I would like to correct an error concerning my father, Northwestern football coach Randy Walker, who was remembered in Farewell. My father began his coaching career at NU in 1999, not in 2001 as you wrote. You also might have mentioned that his Wildcats shared—with Michigan and Purdue—the Big Ten championship in 2000. My dad was also, I believe, the only coach to defeat all 11 teams that are currently in the Big Ten, having beaten Northwestern as the Miami (Ohio) coach in '95.
Jamie Walker, Evanston, Ill.

When people hear the name Earl Woods, many immediately think of Tiger and some also think of Earl's breaking the color barrier as a college catcher, but I think of him as Lieutenant Colonel Woods, U.S. Army, a decorated Green Beret who commanded men in Vietnam and served his country.
Mike Flynn, Captain, U.S.A.F. (Ret.)
Flower Mound, Texas

Heart of the Matter
Learning that the NFL's players and fans rallied around young cancer victim Tyler Kessler (AIR AND SPACE, Dec. 25--Jan. 1) warmed my heart and brought tears to my eyes. We hear too much about the negatives in sports—a brawl on the basketball court, spitting on an opposing player, DUIs, drugs or gun possession—and not nearly enough about the kind and caring things athletes do.
Sandy O'Hara, Valley Stream, N.Y.

Please let the Kessler family know that if Ty would like to go to a Southern California Trojans football game next season, he and his dad may have my tickets.
Eric Sulzinger, Simi Valley, Calif.

The Real Coach Vaught
Farewell included a picture that was not of Ole Miss coach John Vaught, who died in 2006 at age 96. The picture you showed appears to be of former TCU coach Abe Martin. In addition, the story accompanying the picture refers to the 1960 national championship team as being quarterbacked by Archie Manning, who graduated in '71. Jake Gibbs—later a catcher for the Yankees—was the quarterback in '60.
Bob Bane, Jackson, Miss.

The photo was indeed of Abe Martin. SI regrets the errors.

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REBEL YELL Vaught celebrates one of his 190 wins in 25 seasons at Ole Miss.