"One thing is certain: the tide has turned for Minnesota" (They're Purpling the Black and Blue, Oct. 8). Thanks for your words of wisdom. Not only have the Vikings defeated every team they have played so far in the 1973 season, they have defeated the jinx of the SI cover. You can sit back and relax for the rest of the year with the assurance that you can rely on Minnesota. Fran's fans are heading for the Super Bowl.
PHILLIP R. TROUT
As a faithful SI reader, I have been following with amusement and skepticism the continuing controversy over your so-called cover jinx. Sure enough, there it was: Danny Murtaugh and his Pirates faded, Miami's "rough and ready" Dolphins got roughed by the Raiders, the Texas Longhorns' No. 1 rating was blown away by the Hurricanes and the "best of the best," Anthony Davis, was tied up by a Sooner. Then, hoping against hope, I found Francis Tarkenton on the Oct. 8 cover. I respect Fran and his Purple Gang. They deserve all the publicity they get. But one week before they play my beloved Lions? I couldn't ask for anything more.
What happened to the jinx? Minnesota 23, Detroit 9! You guys must be slipping. But after 11 straight Viking victories over the Lions, we Detroit fans are willing to give you another chance. Before our next game against the Vikings, run a cover story on that defensive line of theirs. And put your heart into this one, will you please!
My compliments on your coverage of the Viking-Packer game. Our defense is back in form. Your jinx is just a coincidence. It is not going to make Chuck Foreman lie down and play dead. And you can put Alan Page on the cover anytime.
Little Falls, Minn.
I would like to contradict the jinx theory with another point. Your April 16 cover featured Earl Monroe of the Knicks. Need anyone be reminded where they ended up?
Your statement "The Vikings were clearly superior to the Pack" was absurd. If the Vikings were so superior, why didn't they score a touchdown? They scored only three field goals and a safety. If you ask me, neither team had a good game.
Allow me to add my congratulations to Tex Maule on his Sept. 17 article No Boo-Boos Makes for Ho-Hums. Pro football is not what it used to be. On Sunday, Sept. 30 I sat down to watch what I thought would be six hours of excitement. The first game was between the Giants and the Browns, one of the older NFL rivalries. The second matched the Raiders and the Chiefs. But the games were far from exciting. I saw two touchdowns all day and only one was scored by the offense. The Browns beat the Giants 12-10 on four field goals. The Chiefs used three Jan Stenerud field goals and an interception that was turned into a touchdown to overcome the Raiders' powerful offense, which had only George Blanda's field goal to boast about. Final score: Kansas City 16, Oakland 3.
Pro football should consider some of Maule's suggestions to help out the offense, and the first on the list should be a move to return the ball to the line of scrimmage after a missed field-goal attempt. Substitutions also should be reduced. Instead of watching Joe Namath throw a 70-yard bomb to Don Maynard, we now see Norm Snead throw an eight-yard flare-out to Ron Johnson. Instead of seeing the Jets stop Baltimore 38-35, we see the Vikings beat the Packers 11-3; no touchdowns, of course.
The only exciting thing I have seen this year occurred on a kickoff when two Jets took off after Chester Marcol of the Packers intending to demolish him. I dread the day when the owners start recruiting soccer superstars from Europe and South America to kick 70-yard field goals.
The answer to no-touchdown games in the NFL is to emphasize crossing the goal line. I would suggest the rules committee consider disallowing field goals in the last two minutes of each half. Imagine the ingenuity of the pass patterns that would be developed.
JOHN R. GAGNON
Beaver Dam, Wis.