I really hate the Rangers, but I can't help but love their captain.
SCOTT WOLINETZ, OCEANSIDE, N.Y.
Congratulations to Michael Farber for his story on New York Rangers captain Mark Messier (The Look, Feb. 12). We are in an era when much of the sports scene is plagued by selfishness and a lack of team unity. It's refreshing to watch an athlete like Messier, whose leadership and love of his sport are traits that all athletes, young and old, can admire.
DAVE BODAK, Queensbury, N.Y.
A photo caption in your article stated that Mark Messier, who turned 35 on Jan. 18, "is on a pace to score 50 goals, which would make him the oldest player to achieve that feat." That would certainly be news to left wing Bobby Hull (born Jan. 3, 1939), who scored 53 goals in 1973-74, also at age 35. Of course, since Hull accomplished this while playing for the Winnipeg Jets of the WHA, one could rightfully be accused of giving him credit for scoring against lower-caliber opposition. Allow me, then, to invoke the name of leftwinger Johnny Bucyk, the Hall of Famer who was born on May 12, 1935, and who scored 51 goals for the Boston Bruins in 1970-71, when he was almost 36. Not only is Bucyk the oldest NHL player to score 50 goals, but he's also the oldest player to score 50 goals for the first time in a career.
BILLY ALTMAN, Fort Montgomery, N.Y.
Super Bowl XXX
I was not surprised to see Emmitt Smith on your Feb. 5 cover. After all, he did rack up an astounding 49 yards rushing to go along with his two touchdowns (for one of which the goal line was moved up a yard). What about Dallas Cowboys cornerback Larry Brown? Although the Brown interception that wrapped up the Dallas victory was a late Christmas gift from Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Neil O'Donnell, I think Brown deserved the cover.
JOE CARR, Devon, Pa.
Never have I seen a Super Bowl-winning team and its coach so castigated (Special Delivery, Feb. 5). The Cowboys won! And Switzer was the winning coach! I dread to think what you might have said had Dallas lost.
WOODROW W. HARTSOCK, Bluefield, Va.
Parity in the NFL
One thing Bill Walsh's article (Endless Bummer, Feb. 5) failed to point out is that only three teams—the Cowboys, the 49ers and the Steelers—have won 14 of 30 Super Bowls. What does that say about the NFL, let alone NFC-AFC Super Bowl parity? Tossing in Super Bowl victories by the Dolphins, the Giants, the Packers, the Raiders and the Redskins reveals that just eight of the NFL's 30 teams have accounted for 80% of all Super Bowl victories. It seems that only a few organizations actually make the moves that are necessary to win, while the rest just talk about it or go through the motions.
HOWARD BATEMAN JR., Wantage, N.J.
I find it interesting that Bill Walsh, who could not turn around a second-rate Pac-10 football program, now has the answers for the NFC West-champion 49ers and the age-old question of why the AFC can't win the Super Bowl.
PATRICK ROCHE, Hudson Falls, N.Y.
In SCORECARD you touch on a topic that has been debated for years in Indiana: single-class basketball (Jan. 29). This system, which allows schools of all sizes to compete for the same state title, is being challenged after 85 years by people who support creating several categories in which only schools of similar size face one another. As a former player at Milan High, the tiny school that won the state championship in 1954 and inspired the movie Hoosiers, the thought of basketball divided into classes is appalling.
Every year all high schools in Indiana (there are now 382 of them) can play for the state crown. If this system is eliminated, there will never be another victory like Milan's of 42 years ago.
TODD HELTON, Avon, Ind.