BELL, BOOK AND BOO-BOO
The article by William Reed (He Whistles While He Works, Aug. 10) about Tommy Bell, the NFL football referee and his crew of Graf, Kelleher, Jorgensen, Toler and Harder was most interesting, informative, educational and enjoyable. They are good.
WILLIAM H. (RED) FRIESELL JR.
Stone Harbor, N.J.
Thousands of Arkansas football fans would be sleeping much better if Reed hid been able to chronicle Bell's rise to pro football officialdom without bringing up that painful Ole Miss incident. Since he found fit to exhume this ghost, however, equal time should be given to correct some discrepancies.
No field goal figured in the 1958 scoring. The Rebels won 14-12 when the Porkers failed to complete a two-point conversion pass in the final seconds for a tie. Bell's boo-boo occurred in the 1960 game, and it is the circumstances surrounding the call, almost as much as the ruling itself, that have stuck in Arkansas craws ever since. Here's the way it looked from the stands:
The Rebs tied it in the third quarter and the two teams slugged it out through the fourth until, with about three minutes left, Jake Gibbs rallied the Rebels toward the goal in what everyone knew would be his last chance to salvage something. The noise in the stadium was deafening. Then, with the minute hand beginning its final round, Gibbs called time and in came Allen Green for what was to be a fairly long-range field-goal attempt.
Gibbs started the count, drawing it out in the hope that an anxious Razorback might jump the gun and reduce the range five yards. Referee Bell suddenly jumped into the play, signaling time-out, at the precise instant Green was drilling it straight and true through the uprights. After hurried consultations with the other officials, Bell motioned both teams to line up again in the same spot.
On the second attempt the kick sliced wide of the post. Green kicked the turf in disgust and the other Ole Miss players started trooping dejectedly off the field. A startled roar from the crowd brought them up short, however, as Bell held his arms upright, indicating a three-pointer. So there it is, right or wrong: Mississippi 10, Arkansas 7.
WILBUR L. WATERS
? Bell's recall of the game was faulty, but SI accepts the penalty. It was 1960 and Allen Green, not Bob Khayat, was the kicker.—ED.
It is about time someone wrote an article praising the men who are involved in every play and without whom the game would be chaos. Unlike the players, they are not applauded whenever they make a good call. They are unnoticed until they are maligned.
Oops! There went Tommy Bell's treasured anonymity.
W. BANKSON JR.
Congratulations on your very funny story about the Pittsburgh baseball club (No Disgruntlements Round Here, Aug. 10). However, the Pirates are not, as you strongly imply, merely a band of moronic pranksters. They are a young ball club with a surplus of talent and a potential for greatness. Laugh while you can—the Pirates will have the last one.