Super Bowl XXVI
Thanks for running the great article about the Washington Redskins' rout of the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVI (Superb, Feb. 3). Reminding your readers of Washington's inexorable march to the final game was paramount. The Redskins saw few large headlines about their completing the regular season at 14-2, except, of course, in Washington. Damian Strohmeyer's photo at the end of your Super Bowl coverage shows Mark Rypien as a man who has just reached the highest high he can attain. His fans were right there with him.
It's easy to see that there are no Jim Kelly fans among SI's writers. A "bumbling" performance is not what I saw. No other quarterback could have held on to the ball if he were hit the way Kelly was hit as shown in Walter Iooss's photo on page 15. Also, I saw several dropped passes that, had they been caught, would have made this a different game altogether. Why blame the quarterback when he is sacked and his passes are dropped?
Before we decide to save the NFL's instant replay because of its performance in Super Bowl XXVI (The Day Instant Replay May Have Saved Itself, Feb. 3), let's look at the play again from another angle. The way I saw it—and as SI's photo on page 19 seems to confirm—Buffalo defensive back Kirby Jackson hit Washington's Art Monk an instant before Monk's right foot touched the back line of the end zone. Even though the replay officials saw it differently, isn't this really a "force out," in which the receiver is awarded the catch because he would have landed with both feet inbounds if not for the contact? [In fact, if a receiver is knocked out-of-bounds inadvertently—as Monk was—the force-out rule does not apply.]
In this case, as in 99% of the cases before the introduction of instant replay, the on-field call was correct. And so what if it wasn't? Every other major sport accepts human error. A blown call at first base was pivotal in last season's World Series, and baseball still flourishes. Isn't that just the point: These are games we're talking about.
Morris Township, N.J.
Monk's left foot was clearly inbounds when he had control of the ball. His right foot then landed, heel first, in the end zone. Only when Monk brought his toes down did any part of his body touch down outside the field of play. Under the same interpretation that allows a receiver to complete a catch by touching his toes on the field and then falling out-of-bounds, Monk's catch should have been allowed to stand.
Errors in officiating are inevitable. The problem with instant replay is that it is anything but instant and thus makes today's game infinitely less enjoyable.
THOMAS D. WALKER
As a Yankee fanatic, SI reader and recovering drug abuser, I found Richard Hoffer's story about Steve Howe (A Career of Living Dangerously, Feb. 3) touching. Howe's life is magnified because he is in the public eye, but there are thousands of stories like his. I have felt Howe's pain. I, too, enjoyed happiness and success (I graduated from college, was an Army Reserves captain and insurance clerk and had a good wife and a nice home) before suffering cocaine-induced failures. Now that I have lost everything, I can only wonder, Where does it go from here? I pray that Howe makes it through this crisis and that he takes things one day at a time.
Federal Prison Camp
Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
Howe is a six-time loser on drugs and alcohol, yet time after time Major League Baseball has reinstated him. Perhaps it's time baseball reevaluated its policies. How can a six-time loser be repeatedly reinstated and Pete Rose not? The message is clear: Doing drugs is O.K.
How could SI report on the women's Olympic marathon trials (SCORECARD, Feb. 3) and not mention one of sport's classiest acts? Cathy O'Brien, with an Olympic berth on the line, stopped and helped eventual winner Janis Klecker back to her feet after Klecker had fallen. If there is any justice, O'Brien, who finished second at the trials, will win in Barcelona.
RON ST. PIERRE
When I saw the opening picture in your Super Bowl story (Superb, Feb. 3), I noticed the odd-looking helmet worn by Buffalo safety Mark Kelso. Could you please clue me in as to what's up with this helmet?
MICHAEL E. MULLIS