If Tampa Bay ever makes it to the Super Bowl with Trent Dilfer playing quarterback, I'll eat my cheese head.
—Tim Zillig, Hiawatha, Iowa
Difference of Opinion
I don't doubt that the Jaguars and the Buccaneers will have strong teams this year, but No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in the league (Scouting Reports, Aug. 17)?
John Allain, Milwaukee
You miscalculated when you picked Kansas City, one of the most talented teams in the AFC, to finish 8-8. Not only do the Chiefs have a potent passing attack with Elvis Grbac, Andre Rison and Tony Gonzalez, but they also have one of the most intimidating defenses in the NFL with Derrick Thomas, Dale Carter and James Hasty.
Clint Daniels, Leawood, Kans.
As an avid Rams fan, I am furious with your prediction that St. Louis will win only two games this season. Last year, with a new coach, injured players and an inexperienced team, the Rams won five games.
Jonathan Ross, St. Louis
Legends in Their Time
Congratulations to Paul Zimmerman on his article about the most influential quarterbacks in the history of the game (Revolutionaries, Aug. 17). One thing he forgot to mention, however, is the bond that three of these passers share-western Pennsylvania roots. Not a day goes by in Pittsburgh without a group of children playing sandlot football while dreaming of the day they might follow Joe Montana, Joe Namath and John Unitas in becoming an NFL star from the Cradle of Quarterbacks.
Mike Ference, Trafford, Pa.
A Modest Proposal
After reading Peter King's article about a new summer football league, I thought of an idea that might sell it better (PRO FOOTBALL '98, Aug. 17). Why not stock each team with players from one college conference? Imagine an All-Big Ten team versus an All-SEC team or the ACC versus the Pac-10.
Jeff Knez, Alexandria, Va.
As a sports information director, I've always been amazed at the importance coaches and scouts have placed on the 40-yard dash (Mad Dash, Aug. 10). I've thought that with a running back the time, what is critical is the five-yard dash—from the place where he gets the ball on a handoff to the place where he gets through the hole. After that, yardage gained is as much a matter of deception ( Gale Sayers) or of strength ( Jim Brown) as it is of speed.
Illinois Wesleyan University
Your article reminded me of when my brother was being recruited by colleges in the early 1970s. He had his heart set on Duke because my father and uncle had played there. The Blue Devils' coaches kept saying that they wished my brother's 40 time were faster. My father finally asked, "When was the last time that a Duke running back ran 40 yards on one play, anyway?" My brother went to Duke and started for three years as a defensive back.
Jimmy Cox, Raleigh, N.C.
While a football player for Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1970, my brother Chad was a guest at a banquet at which running back Tom Matte of the Baltimore Colts was the speaker. Matte asked Chad if he wanted to play in the NFL. Chad said yes but added that he hadn't been drafted. Matte told him to call Upton Bell, the Colts' director of player personnel. Matte then asked Chad what his time in the 40 was. Chad told him 4.8. Matte paused and said, "When you talk to Upton, you better lie a little bit about that." Chad said, "Tom, I already lied to you."
Jim Ruffner, New Alexandria, Pa.
The article chronicling the thoughts a quarterback has in the heat of the action (One Play, Aug. 17) is the best description so far of the toughest job in football. It was a tribute to everyone who has played quarterback, as well as to Brett Favre and his NFL brethren.
Mike Sullivan, Philadelphia