Ron Fimrite wrote an excellent article on Sportsmen of the Year Willie Stargell and Terry Bradshaw (Two Champs from the City of Champions, Dec. 24-31), but the photograph of Willie and Terry with the steelworkers said it all. During my vacations from school the past four summers I've worked in the mill shown, and I recognize most of those "other Pittsburgh guys." After looking at the picture for a while I realized something: if you'd taken away Willie's and Terry's gold and black uniforms, everyone in the photo would've looked the same. All the faces seem to radiate a confidence that says, "I love to work hard, play hard, be hard, and yet I'm compassionate, understanding. I care."
Maybe these are the attributes needed to hit rockets out of Three Rivers Stadium and give much of your spare time to help find a cure for sickle cell anemia. Maybe these are the attributes needed to throw TD passes in the Super Bowl and be a good Christian. Maybe these are the attributes needed to become Sportsman of the Year. Maybe. I know for sure that these are the attributes needed to work in a Pittsburgh steel mill, come home dead tired and be a loving husband and father.
PAUL KOCHKA JR.
Why are Willie Stargell and Terry Bradshaw laughing on your cover? Not because they were just named Sportsmen of the Year, although I'm sure they—and Pittsburgh—are certainly proud of the honor. They're laughing because Pops Stargell has just adorned Bradshaw's headgear with three of his cherished gold stars! If you don't believe me, dig out your Dec. 24-31 issue.
KEITH R. STEPHENSON
?A second look at the steelworkers pictured in that issue will reveal that those Pittsburgh guys were wearing some of Stargell's gold stars on their hard hats, too.—ED.
MORE PITTSBURGH CHAMPS
You mentioned that Pittsburgh is the City of Champions and gave credit to the Pirates, Steelers and the Pitt Panthers, who won the 1979 Lambert Trophy. However, you omitted the Carnegie-Mellon football team. The Tartans were awarded the 1979 Lambert Cup, which is given to the best small college team in the East. Carnegie-Mellon finished the season with a 10-1 record, losing only to Ithaca, 15-6, in the NCAA Division III semifinals. The Tartans also have won the Presidents' Athletic Conference title for the past three years.
JIM MARSHALL'S RETIREMENT
That was a great article on Jim Marshall (A Man for 20 Seasons, Dec. 24-31). He is one of the wonders of the world, and it saddens the hearts of Vikings fans to see him retire, although it had to happen sooner or later. I can't help thinking, however, that ever since the Vikings' last NFL championship, in 1969, before the merger, the press has been obsessed with the idea that the Vikings "are old." Well, now the old folks are gone and the Vikes have the youth everyone thought they should have. And guess what. The Vikes are out of the playoffs for the first time in seven years.
I may be the only one who feels this way, but I have watched Jim Marshall off and on for the past three years and I can't believe that the Viking management couldn't have found a younger player who could have helped the team more. It is commendable to play for 20 years, but Marshall hasn't been what the team needed for the last few years.
KARL K. BELL
The example set by Jim Marshall is surely an ideal one to follow for any youngster who has athletic aspirations.
ROBERT L. LANDRY
RUNNING UP THE SCORE
If I were a professional football coach, I'd begin next season by telling everyone that my team would try to win every game it played by as many points as possible until it was certain of a playoff spot (or had been mathematically eliminated).
With two wild-card playoff berths per conference and with parity resulting from scheduling policies and the diffusion of talent throughout the league, the NFL's tie-breaking system, which compares point differentials, will have to be employed more and more often to determine home-field advantage—or even whether a team makes the playoffs at all. Consideration of the tie-breaker overrides any sportsmanly reluctance to run up the score. In fact, any coach who does not win by the widest margin possible will be doing a disservice to his team and its fans.