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John Ed Bradley's article on punters was a welcome surprise. I realize the macho part of us does not want to glorify some long, lanky 180-pounder who wears small shoulder pads, but as Bradley put it so eloquently, the punter is often a team's best defensive weapon.

Doug Pens, Leesburg, Fla.

Why should a punter be in the Hall of Fame (Hang 'Em High, Dec. 21)? The only reason given seems to be that there isn't one in there already. The story also celebrates the fact that Raiders punter Shane Lechler has a four-year, $16 million contract. That's no cause for celebration—it's insane. He isn't even among the top 10 according to SI's Punter Ratings.

James Day, Silverton, Ore.

To rank the Bills' Brian Moorman so low was ridiculous. Moorman punted 90 times this year: None were blocked, 10 were touchbacks and 25 were inside the 20, and he had an average of 46.6 yards with a long of 73. He also ran for numerous first downs and threw a touchdown pass from punt formation for the second year in a row. Maybe if he played somewhere other than Buffalo he would get the respect he deserves.

Russell Harrison Rochester, N.Y.

In the 2003 Holiday Bowl, Washington State's Kyle Basler punted seven times for a 40.1 average, and five of those punts were inside the Texas 20-yard line. Basler was named MVP of the game for keeping the Longhorns pinned in their own territory.

Dennis Bounds, Redmond, Wash.

Ice Capades

I pray that the SI cover curse does not befall Stephen Colbert (The Year in Sports Media, Dec. 21). If he suddenly loses his game and can't tell a joke if his life depends on it while his show plummets in the ratings, he'll have no one to blame but you.

Mark Menapace Collegeville, Pa.

As a syrup-sucking icehole—which is what Colbert calls us Canadians—I can only hope the SI cover jinx hits him and not the members of the U.S. speedskating team. These athletes have been training for the upcoming Olympics and deserve to be able to take their best shot.

Jim McPeak, Hamilton, Ont.

Good Reception

Ben Reiter's article (Smooth Transition, Dec. 21) was right on. Replacing a legend like John Madden would seem to be a career-ender, but Cris Collinsworth has made Sunday Night Football the best NFL show on TV. It's very apparent that Collinsworth does his homework.

Kent Knowlton, Topeka, Kans.

I often muted the sound when watching a John Madden--announced game; I found his constant chatter distracting. Collinsworth's respectful silence after the Colts' touchdown against the Patriots let the viewers experience their own personal joy or anguish. Allowing us to do that is why he will be the next legend.

Kathryn Wurzel, Atlanta

Your piece on Collinsworth was excellent, but you failed to note his outstanding work during the Beijing Olympics.

Alastair Harrison

San Ramon, Calif.

Different Strokes

You had the wrong SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE (Dec. 21). The news that two British women are planning to row across the Atlantic may be a head-turner, but Alabama's canceling three days of classes so students could attend the BCS national championship game (GO FIGURE) is downright disturbing.

Ken Ries, Greenville, S.C.


Alexander Wolff's article Is There a Doctor in the Arena, (SCORECARD, Dec. 21) hit close to home. Rough play is preventing our youth from learning the proper way to play basketball. Until that stops, we will continue to lose the purity of this beautiful game.

Bob Mitchell, Birmingham

Chai Interest

Dolph Schayes is not the only one checking Sacramento's box scores every morning for Omri Casspi's stats (Welcome, The King of Israel, Dec. 21). My brothers and I, Jewish kids who grew up in Massachusetts and now live in New York City, with absolutely no connection to the Kings, do the same thing. I suspect we are not alone among American Jews or Israeli expats living in the States, for whom Casspi is an inspiration and represents the indomitable Israeli spirit we love and respect. Millions of us are rooting for Omri and eagerly await the next Israeli to join the NBA ranks!

Noah Liben, New York City

Lee Jenkins highlights the fact that Casspi wears a number 18 jersey, which symbolizes the word life in Hebrew. It is worth noting that, after several successful seasons with Maccabi Tel Aviv, Anthony Parker, a Christian from Naperville, Ill., displays his affection for Israel by donning the same number for the Cavaliers.

Tom Daniel, Thornhill, Ont.

In the story on Casspi, I was surprised to find that you didn't mention UConn, a program that had great success with Israeli imports Nadav Henefeld and Doron Sheffer.

Craig Abrahamson

Vernon, Conn.

Seeing Red

As a pro football fan of nearly 50 years I needed only one Sunday of watching the NFL Network's RedZone to realize it's the greatest thing for TV football viewing since instant replay (POINT AFTER, Dec. 21). And a tip of the hat to Scott Hanson, the lightning-quick host who brings it all together.

Dave Larison

Longmont, Colo.

Congrats to the NFL Network on the RedZone channel. Farewell to the soul of the true football fan.

Josh Perkey, Spring Lake, N.C.

Sure Shots

I am always awed and amazed by your Pictures of the Year issue (Dec. 11). As stunning as the photos are, the captions are just as dazzling. Reading them can't help but bring a smile.

Michael A. Dunn

Salt Lake City

This issue is the reason I have gotten SI for more than 40 years. Thanks for sharing the beauty in sports.

Katie McOrmond

Southern Shores, N.C.

With the Badgers' John Clay on the cover, the Packers in the middle and the Brewers' sausage race to wrap things up, the photography issue was especially enjoyable for native Wisconsinites like myself. Keep those cameras On Wisconsin.

William C. Nass

St. Louis

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