After reading Zero Plimpton's article on the pro football addict (The Celestial Hell of the Super fan, Sept. 13), I wonder if he isn't fudging a bit. All bona fide Superfans should be poring over final preseason-game reports—all the while keeping a wary ear attuned to "rumors." How could Plimpton find the time to disengage himself from these demanding tasks long enough to pen his article? Better he should shoulder his share of the worry load with the rest of us. Hasn't he heard the whispers that Pietro can't make that good open-field cut anymore? Hasn't he heard that Tex Maule thunderously judges Joe Don Looney to be an "uncertain quantity!" (SCOUTING REPORTS, Sept. 13)? Can Detroit jell its offense and its rookie defensive backfield in time for the Minnesota game? If Pietro and Looney mesh into a Blanchard-Davis power nightmare for the rest of the NFL, should Gilmer try to hold the scores down? How low? Should Gilmer reactivate Plimpton's immortal zero for those bewilderingly masterful five clutch plays?
RICHARD E. BOTKE
New York City
PROS AND CONS
Your September 13 pro football special was tremendous. It should be read and read again; and then reviewed in the spring to prove Tex Maule wrong again. It has to be the Vikings.
Re Tex Maule's NFL picks: he had better be ready to eat his words when Detroit does not finish in last place in the West.
Tex Maule may be a fine judge of a football squad, but he is lax in his appraisal of individual players. His slight of the Chicago Bear backfield was a mistake. He himself points out that the Bears' rushing average was only one-tenth off the average of their championship year; therefore, the running game could not be blamed for the team's collapse. Maule accuses Bull, Marconi and Arnett of running like collegians of the Big Ten. To that I answer: First, Marconi is a fullback and should not be expected to be a brilliant broken-field runner. He is not the greatest, but how many Jim Browns do you want? Second, Ron Bull has proved himself to be a versatile as well as resourceful runner. Speed is not a necessity. He did not get Rookie of the Year honors for his good looks. Third, Jon Arnett, new with the club, rusty from lack of action with the Rams and unsure of his position until midseason, still managed to lead the team in rushing with 400 yards. Arnett remains one of the most elusive backs in the league as Mr. Maule will see when that "cloud of dust" clears to reveal Jon in the end zone.
Staten Island, N.Y.
The more I read of Tex Maule's 1965 football report, the more ridiculous it sounds. He says the Colts are good but they do not have a strong defense. If he would check the exhibition scores he would find that the Colts defended pretty successfully by winning all their games.
In general, Mr. Maule and Mr. Sharnik did a fine job in previewing the 1965 NFL campaign, but if they made as many mistakes on other teams as they did with the Philadelphia Eagles, their eyeglasses need cleaning.
As far as I'm concerned, your 1965 Pro Football Issue was the best yet. But in the Western Division of the AFL it will be the Raiders all the way to the title.
SIGH OF RELIEF
It appears to me that neither William Leggett nor the National League players who favored Cincinnati have analyzed the pennant race correctly (The Weirdest Race Rolls On, Sept. 13). Mr. Leggett underestimated the pennant-bound San Francisco Giants. He should have waited for the crucial pair between the Giants and Dodgers at Dodger Stadium before attempting to come to any conclusions about the race.
Mr. Leggett claims that, as of the beginning of August, 40% of the losses suffered by the top six teams have been charged to relief pitchers. In San Francisco's case, starters Marichal and Shaw have accounted for almost half of the team's wins. But relievers like Murakami, Linzy, Perry and Henry did their share as well. The Giants have also had one of the best records in extra-inning affairs, due to superb relief pitching. Mr. Leggett should wake up and recognize the best bullpen of them all. Why not give Herman Franks and his boys the credit they deserve? Better yet, why not take another poll? The last one was ridiculous.
Salt Lake City
If Arthur Lydiard believes that 18-year-old Rex Maddaford will "succeed Peter Snell as Olympic Games champion in the 1,500 meters in Mexico City in 1968" (SCORECARD, Sept. 6), he must have missed your articles on 18-year-old Jim Ryun. By using your method of comparing ages with times, I figure that Maddaford will be coming off the last turn when Ryun hits the tape. As to your advice of "don't bet against it," I'll put a year's subscription to SI on Ryun.