It occurs to me that perhaps the NFL asked for this rash of quarterback injuries several years ago when it moved the hash marks closer to the center of the field. Before the change, it was rather common to see a quarterback break for the near sideline and step safely out of bounds before getting hit. Now this maneuver appears to be almost nonexistent, because the near sideline is farther away.
Granted, the biggest and best athletes in pro football are on the defense, and they seem to be getting bigger and better each season. But it should also be noted that they now have more field to work with.
East Lansing, Mich.
According to Robert Jones' article, John Madden and Al Davis seem to think that the quarterback should get the same treatment as a punter; that is, as soon as the quarterback's arm goes forward, he should be unhittable. The one big problem here is that a quarterback often pumps without throwing, unlike a punter, who very rarely fakes a kick. Pumping to take advantage of the proposed rule would confuse the pass rush altogether. Once quarterbacks realized what was happening, they'd all fake. There would be hardly any sacks and this would make for boring football.
Somewhere along the line someone made quarterbacks sacred. They are being coddled. This is wrong. The name of the game is football, not tiddledywinks, and in football you get hit.
I suggest that on an offensive formation from the line of scrimmage the offensive team be permitted to field 12 men. The added man would be placed in the backfield wearing a special jersey that would identify him as the 12th man, and his sole responsibility would be to provide additional pass protection for the quarterback when he drops back into the pocket.
VINCENT A. CARUSO
St. Petersburg, Fla.
If the NFL adopted a penalty-box rule similar to the one employed in hockey, it might find the answer. Whether or not a team should be forced to play shorthanded, as in hockey, is a question that would have to be looked into. But if a defensive player were automatically forced to sit out a minimum 2� defensive minutes for a personal foul, he might think twice before taking a cheap shot.
I'm from New York and I love all the teams that represent New York, but who does Denis Potvin of the Islanders think he is? The way he blasted the great Bobby Orr (It Was Nothing to Write Home About, Nov. 8) was disgusting. Even though Orr never played for New York, I must give him credit for what he is—the greatest hockey player of all time: I wish that Potvin could play half as well as Orr did in his prime.
When Denis Potvin has led the islanders to two Stanley Cups in three years, earned the MVP award three years straight and completely dominated a hockey game, then he should be recognized as the best defenseman in the game.
Lincoln Park. Pa.
You finally recognized the talented "Super-flea," better known as Little Robbie Ftorek (A Little Bit Who Counts, Nov. 8). I am a devoted Phoenix Roadrunner fan and have missed no more than five games in my six years as a hockey fanatic. However, I must say that the past two years have been the best, with the young, exciting and brilliant Robbie. What a valuable asset he is to our team and to the WHA!
You mention that Robbie Ftorek and the late Harry Agganis are the two most heralded high school athletes produced in the Greater Boston area since World War II. Lest Peter Gammons forget, Joe Bellino also played high school ball in this area. And like Agganis, he excelled in several sports, not just one as did Ftorek.
Lyndon Center, Vt.