THE STEELERS' GLORY DAYS
Thank you for Peter King's essay about the Pittsburgh Steelers' super years (The Steel Age, Jan. 22). As a youngster in the San Francisco Bay Area, I became caught up in the Raiders-Steelers rivalry of the mid-'70s. Like millions of people across America, I became a fan of Pittsburgh's team, and now, some 15 years later, King's story brings back fond recollections.
It's nice to know that most of my old heroes are doing well and that they still share the camaraderie, respect and admiration that made them pro football's greatest dynasty.
It's hard to believe 10 years have gone by since Terry Bradshaw & Co. ruled Pete Rozelle's kingdom. From the way the Steelers ended this season, it seems as though Pittsburgh fans won't have to wait 10 years for another Super Bowl appearance. Coach Chuck Noll, who, amazingly, has never been named Coach of the Year, did an outstanding job of holding his team together after a disastrous start. What football fans saw this season was most likely the dawning of Steel Age II.
The Steel Age made me smile from ear to ear. I'm glad to see that the team that made me so proud has finally received the recognition it deserves. Maybe 20 years from now Peter King will be writing about a second Pittsburgh dynasty. Remember the names Brister, Lipps, Woodson, Worley, Hoge....
The only quarrel I have with King's article is his assumption that the Steelers made a big mistake in selecting Len Dawson instead of Jim Brown in the 1957 draft. After Pittsburgh unloaded Dawson almost three years later, he became the best all-around quarterback in AFL history, leading the Kansas City Chiefs from the doldrums to two Super Bowls. Considering that quarterback Terry Bradshaw didn't arrive in Pittsburgh until 1970, choosing Dawson wasn't a mistake but letting him get away was. With Dawson at the helm, maybe Pittsburgh would have ended its misery 10 years earlier.
CURRY QUITS ALABAMA
Kudos to William F. Reed for his story about the departure of Alabama football coach Bill Curry (Unbearable Burden, Jan. 22). I am confident that the majority of Crimson Tide fans feel that Curry represented the university and the state in an admirable fashion, both on and off the field. It is sad that he wasn't good enough for a provincial clique, mainly because he didn't play at a certain school and for a certain coach.
One must wonder what Bear Bryant, who spent his life preaching class, would have thought of the attitudes of some of his former players toward Curry during the last three years.
I am shocked by the treatment Curry received from my fellow Tide fans. Your article was as fair as his treatment at Alabama wasn't. Curry's record during his first three seasons was better than the Bear's was in his first three years, and he brought us a team that would have been national title bound. Curry had the same approach to football as the Bear. He'll be missed.
Well, I guess there is justice in this world. Thirty-six years ago Kentucky let a coach named Paul Bryant skip out of town. Now, in a true demonstration of Southern hospitality, Alabama has returned the favor by allowing Bill Curry to migrate to Lexington. Who knows if he will develop the same rich tradition at Kentucky that Bryant did at Alabama. But one thing is certain: As college athletics becomes more and more riddled by corruption, coaches who are class acts get harder and harder to find. Curry is just such a coach. This former Kentucky football player and 1974 graduate of the school would like to say, "Thanks. Alabama."
As an Alabama graduate ('78), a college counselor and an advocate of maintaining high standards in higher education, I believe that I qualify as one of the "good, decent" Crimson Tide fans to which Reed refers. However, that does not mean I was pleased with Curry as Alabama's football coach.