BEATING A DEAD BALL
It would certainly seem to me a magazine of your high caliber would check the facts before printing anything like your statement in FOOTBALL'S WEEK (Sept. 27) about the pass-and-pitch play executed by Kirby Moore, Pat Hodgson and Bob Taylor. If you think Bear Bryant is the kind of coach who wouldn't make himself heard if he thought such a play was illegal, your reporter hasn't learned his way around the SEC yet.
There never was any question of the play's legality, before or after the films were shown. Perhaps it was just too tough to print the facts after your previous week's article on the "unbeatable" Tide. At least be fair to a good Georgia team that is playing more on spirit and desire than real ability and give credit where it is so truly deserved.
JANE C. SCHWEERS
The pass play that won the game for Georgia should not have been dead on the 35. One of the officials, as shown in your sequence picture No. 4, was right on top of the play. He was quite able to detect what happened. He ruled correctly that Hodgson caught and flipped the ball back in one motion without ever having full possession. He did not, as you claim, have possession when his knees touched the ground.
The matter of Hodgson's knees touching the ground was completely irrelevant, since he never had possession of the ball, but deflected it (not a lateral) to Taylor, who went in for the touchdown.
WILLIAM T. DAWSON
Granted the No. 3 frame in your picture sequence gives the appearance that Hodgson is holding the ball, I believe if you look closely at a slow-motion showing of the game film, omitting no frames, you will see that in order to bat a pass it is necessary for both hands to make contact for an instant. This does not constitute possession of the ball.
?After a careful review of the pictures, we can only reaffirm our opinion that Hodgson had possession of the ball when his knee touched the ground and that the ball should have been dead on the 35-yard line.—ED.
Congratulations to Jack Olsen on his keen insight and masterful treatment of some of the many and often misrepresented facets of professional football (How Smart Is Too Smart?, Sept. 27). That the article is about Dr. Frank Ryan, one of the game's most deserving and most misunderstood players, makes it all the more a classic sports feature.
Ryan is truly a remarkable man in his chosen field. However, Olsen is even more broadly astute in his. The manner in which he weaved and threaded, checked and blocked all the way through to a fine conclusion without once maligning a single soul (even where obviously warranted) is the mark of a dedicated and sincere sports-writer.
Olsen's skill in oiling troubled waters with a pen should earn him a nomination for commissioner. Barring that, I certainly hope he continues to turn out enlightening articles on other outstanding NFLers.
ROBERT C. WEEKLY
A deft piece of writing. Mr. Olsen's ability to take a highly intricate subject—mathematics—and humanize it to a degree of easy, comfortable reading for the layman is to be commended.
IRA B. HARKEY III