My solution is not to call fewer penalties, since it is assumed that all of the called infractions actually occurred and that the basic purpose of a penalty is to keep the game fair and limit injury. The suggested solution is a change in the penalty system.
I for one feel that 15 yards is too much to assess and unfairly limits a team. Why not borrow from hockey and assess a time penalty against the offending player? Remove him from the game for a set time, for a given number of downs, or for only one down if a relatively minor infraction. A personal foul would receive a longer penalty than holding, for instance. This would accomplish several things: 1) it would point up the guilty player, 2) his removal for a time might allow tempers to cool and perhaps further reduce injury and 3) if the other team then gained 5, 10, 15, 20 yards, it would have at least earned them, and the other team would still have a chance to prevent it.
The five-yard penalties are much too severe and should be reduced to two or three yards—i.e., for offsides, illegal motion, delay of game, etc. These are almost always minor offenses, and the penalty should be quite minor.
Perhaps the worst of all is the pass-interference penalty. There seems to be almost unanimous agreement that this is a very difficult call at best. I suggest the penalty should be reduced by half—in other words, give the team with the ball half the distance it would have gained by the pass.
ROBERT F. KIRK, M.D.
Please tell John Underwood that we do not think Hal Bedsole is a "bum," and never have (A Very Big Head Getting Smaller, Oct. 21).
It should go without saying that we would hardly permit our daughter Cathy to go with any young man about whom we felt that way. Quite to the contrary, we are proud and fond of Hal and have tried to encourage him toward getting his education and planning his future career.
MR. AND MRS. FRANK G. WALTERS