BACKS IN MOTION
Tex Maule wrote a great article on a long-ignored subject, the running back (Swarm to Daylight, Nov. 13). But we all have our different views on rushing and the people who specialize in it. I would probably put Larry Brown in the lead role, instead of Floyd Little. Tex also left out a few of the great runners in the game, such as Leroy Kelly who may be having an off year but is certainly one of the premier backs in the league. On the quarterback side, Greg Landry was not mentioned. Others were Willie Ellison and two Jet backs, John Riggins and Emerson Boozer.
One last word. As the article essentially pointed out, a running back's work is never done.
St. Augustine, Fla.
It was an excellent article, if you area Denver Bronco fan. But I happen to like the Miami Dolphins. They have the best running attack in football.
Who has the explosiveness of Mercury Morris? (He isn't called Mercury for nothing.) Who has the power to throw defenders to the ground and keep on going? The only man I can think of is Larry Csonka. There arc many men who can gain a few yards by going through a hole. But who can rip through the hole without letting the defense see him come through? I'd say Jim Kiick fits the description.
Maybe Floyd Little did get more yards rushing than Csonka but who does Denver have to match Kiick or Morris?
I can't believe that Tex Maule failed to mention Ron Johnson of the New York Giants. Ron has proved he is one of the NFL's premier runners by his outstanding comeback this season, after having missed the majority of the 1971 campaign due to thigh surgery and knee surgery. He is currently ranked third among the leading NFC runners and is well on his way to his second 1,000-yard rushing season. I think Ron Johnson is due recognition for his role in bringing the Giants back to respectability.
St. Bonaventure, N.Y.
Please inform Tex Maule that he was guilty of a tremendous oversight in not including Kansas City's all-purpose back, Ed Podolak. For the past few seasons, Podolak has carried the Chiefs to victory whenever Len Dawson, Otis Taylor & Co. were rendered inefficient. And I dare any pro football fan to try to forget the Miami- Kansas City game on Christmas Day of last year, when Podolak did everything a football player can be expected to do with the exception of eating the goal posts (we'll leave that to men like Dick Butkus). Perhaps Mr. Everything has not accumulated the rushing yardage of Larry Brown or O. J. Simpson, but add his pass receiving, punt returns and kickoff returns to his rushing offense and you are confronted with one of the finest backs football has ever produced.
ALPHONSE N. GIORDANO
ON THE LINE
Congratulations to George Plimpton for giving SI readers an insight into the high-pitched emotions of pro football (Wiretap on the Pros. Nov. 13). The self-recriminations for a badly executed play and the constant striving for mental toughness were made evident by the use of the tapes. Alex Karras appears as a player who talked constantly to his opponent, trying to psych him out, while John Gordy talked less but waged a war inside himself.
Ozone Park, N.Y.
I happened to pick up a copy of your Nov. 6 issue at the newsstand and was pleasantly surprised to find an article not about the lordly salmon or the leviathan martin but about the lowly and ever-popular striped bass (SOS from a Seaside Slaughter).
I disagree with biologist John Clark that we must continue to keep striped bass available at the market. Personally, I sec nothing wrong with setting aside one important recreational species for sportsmen alone. After all, I can't go down to my local butcher to buy deer, buffalo or quail, all of which I would surely like to have gracing my table at one time or another. Besides, except for the restaurant trade, I doubt that the average citizen would ever miss the striped bass were it declared a game fish. For that matter, I'd bet my best fishing plug that not one in 25 housewives knows what a striped bass is.