SI Vault
November 13, 1995
Finally, an issue dedicated to sports rather than to murder, cheating, spouse abuse or strikes by pro athletes.CLARE HARTHAN, ARKADELPHIA, ARK.
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November 13, 1995


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Finally, an issue dedicated to sports rather than to murder, cheating, spouse abuse or strikes by pro athletes.

Thank you for the excellent Special NFL Classic Edition, which covered some of pro football's best players of all time. I was surprised when I saw my grandfather, the late Paul (Tiny) Engebretsen, number 34, in the middle of the lead picture of the story about Don Hutson (The Game's Greatest Receiver). While playing on championship teams with both the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers, my grandfather performed with teammates and coaches who are now recognized as having been some of the best in the history of the game—Hutson, Bronko Nagurski, Red Grange, George Halas, Curly Lambeau and Johnny (Blood) McNally. Before I saw this issue, I could only imagine, from stories I was told and the few faded newspaper articles that have been handed down in my family, what football was like back then. Your issue brought back fond memories of the short time I had to get to know my grandfather.

There were pass routes before Don Hutson was at Alabama in the early 1930s. When Jesse Hawley coached Dartmouth in the mid-'20s, he installed carefully defined and timed pass routes that helped Andrew (Swede) Oberlander, All-America quarterback, lead Dartmouth to an undefeated, untied season in '25. In '28 I played a bit of end for the Dartmouth freshmen and caught a couple of passes on such routes.

John Garrity rightly points out that Steve Largent broke Hutson's record of 99 touchdown catches in an era of 14- and 16-game seasons, while Hutson played 10-game seasons. But later, upon citing Jerry Rice as "the man who has almost erased [ Hutson's] name from the record books," Garrity neglects to point out the rule changes that greatly favor the receiver in Rice's era—most notably the liberalization of the offensive line's use of holding tactics and restrictions on defensive backs. Like Largent, Rice has had it easier than Hutson, and the two players' records are not equivalent.

Tough Guys
I always admired Detroit Lion quarterback Bobby Layne. Long after other players had adopted protective face bars, Layne insisted on wearing the old style, as pictured on your cover. I anticipated a long article on Layne, but there were just two short paragraphs in Tough as Nails.
HENRY T. WIGGIN, Brookline, Mass.

In Tough as Nails you forgot to mention Larry Csonka, who steamrolled over the Minnesota Vikings' Purple People Eaters for 145 of the 196 yards gained on the ground by the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VIII. Csonka was capable of running for the first down or a touchdown with four or five guys hanging on to him.
Bayam�n, Puerto Rico

You should have included stories about the game's greatest passer, Y.A. Tittle, and the best quarterback in football history, Otto Graham. Graham led the Cleveland Browns to 10 consecutive title games and seven championships. Amazing! When was the Super Bowl ever better than those games?
JIM CRANE, Vero Beach, Fla.

Fearsome Foursome
In Gang of Four in your Special NFL Classic Edition, you labeled a Los Angeles Ram defensive lineman, number 78, as Lamar Lundy, one of the Rams' original Fearsome Foursome. The player in that uniform is Roger Brown, who came to the Rams from the Detroit Lions in 1967. Lundy's number was 85 (that's him at left, putting the heat on Green Bay Packer Hall of Famer Bart Starr); he, Rosey Grier, Deacon Jones and Merlin Olsen were the original line.
BOB EMERY, Bay Harbor Island, Fla.