As an AFL fan since the league's inception, I can only say that all the roses must go to Pete Rozelle for absorbing the AFL before it absorbed him and all of professional football.
San Angelo, Texas
After having read the first two articles of your series on television's effect on sport (Dec. 22 et seq.), I'd say the insinuation that television is an ogre that will ultimately destroy sport is quite clear. You say that attendance drops, and eventual decline and fall of minor league baseball, small boxing clubs, etc., are directly attributable to television's encroachment. You also make note of the fact that the point has now been reached whereby commercial time outs arc called for in plain view for all to see whenever the producer decides he needs one.
I feel that the television industry is being unjustly blamed for all of this, and here is why. No major league club owner or fight promoter has ever had his arm twisted to allow television coverage of his event. In fact, you must agree that the prime reason for the numerous franchise shifts and expansion moves has been the larger television market. (Ask the people in Milwaukee about that.) Trying to fill anywhere from 80 to 90 broadcast hours a week is an immense task. To fill those hours, television turned to sporting events. But, again, no owner or promoter was ever forced to allow his event to be televised. They were offered money, and they accepted. Television is a money-making business and has never tried to deny it. Can baseball say the same?
Concerning the number of time outs in a football game, the average game lasts 2� hours, or about 150 minutes. Nineteen commercial minutes figure out to be approximately 12�% of the total broadcast time. Compare that to the percentage of advertising copy in your magazine.
Finally, how many people in their lifetime would ever see a World Series, a Kentucky Derby or an Olympics were it not for television? And free, yet. Ask the touring golf pros what the prize money would be. Ask the NFL club owners what their profit and loss sheets would be. Better yet, ask the AFL club owners where they would even be!
Why not put the blame where it solely belongs—on the shoulders of the club owners and officials? Give television the credit, for a change, for bringing the spectacle of sport to everyone. Give it credit for allowing the guy in Eddyville, Iowa to see the Super Bowl as well as the guy who can afford a plane trip to New Orleans and is fortunate enough to know someone who can get him a ticket. And don't forget the sponsor that shells out one hundred grand a minute to make it all possible.
ADO ABOUT J.U.
I want to congratulate you on your fine article on the Jacksonville Dolphins (Up, Up and Away Go Artis and New J.U., Jan. 5). There is only one point that needs clarifying. Jacksonville University has not just come out of junior college status. It became a university 14 years ago.
Mr. Jares wastes no time in his article in attacking the Bold New City of the South. He also makes note of the fact that "the St. Johns River is pretty but polluted." There is not a major river in the United States that is not polluted to some degree. He comments that "Singer Connie Haines comes from there (and has rarely gone back)." How relevant is this to an article about J.U. basketball? Besides, a great number of people seldom, if ever, return to their home towns. So what bearing does this have on a city's status? None, whatsoever. Mr. Jares must have dug deep to find the things he wrote, when it would have been in better taste to compliment Jacksonville, rather than condemn it.
I am not a native Floridian so you can rest assured that this is not a true grit speaking, but I do feel that J.U. and the city of Jacksonville were not given a fair shake in your article. You failed to mention all of the improvements that have taken place here in the past decade. Jacksonville has become one of the finest ports in the entire Southeast. Our Gator Bowl is becoming a fine sport complex. And Jacksonville is the insurance center of the South.
As for our "transformed junior college"—it, too, is a well-defined center of education. So good that it has attracted many students from the North, who seem to enjoy the pleasure of Florida living. The Dolphins have come a long way since their inception, and we all feel that they deserve all of the credit and support that the people of Jacksonville are giving them.
MRS. JOSEPH SHEIL