FATE OF THE COWBOYS
Ah, come on, SI. The Dallas Cowboys exposed as "a creaking battleship that has seen its best days, its engines straining, the rifling in its gun barrels worn out" (A Capital Day for the Skins, Jan. 31)? What do you and Ralph Wiley call the 24 teams that didn't make the conference championship games, overaged tugboats?
I applaud the Redskins for winning the NFC title. They played with more intensity and emotion than Dallas did. But, the Cowboys' days in the sun over? No way! Dallas has the best organization, bar none—witness its participation in 16 of the last 17 playoffs. The rest of the league is striving merely for parity with the Cowboys, so don't dry-dock this ship yet! All Dallas needs is enthusiasm.
Ralph Wiley's piece on the scalping of America's Team was a delight. What you're hearing, sports fans, is the sound of a dynasty crumbling, and a sweet sound it is to us Anybody-But- Dallas fans. How do I spell relief? R-E-D-S-K-I-N-S!
THE REV. LOUIS E. LOTZ
Sioux City, Iowa
DARRYL GRANT'S TD
Heartfelt thanks from all of us linemen across the country. It was fantastic to see Washington Defensive Tackle Darryl Grant's post-touchdown spike on your Jan. 31 cover. The lineman's dream of scoring a touchdown was beautifully portrayed. It's also good to see that a lineman can be a cover subject once in a while, instead of another one of those "superstar" running backs.
I agree wholeheartedly with the observations made in the article by Bil Gilbert and Lisa Twyman about fan violence (Violence: Out of Hand in the Stands, Jan. 31). I gave up my season tickets to San Diego Charger games because the section in which I was seated became a combat zone. It makes me sick to watch drunken fans ruining the game for all those around them.
As a former college football and track athlete, I know that the players themselves don't help matters much with their overly aggressive behavior, like the obvious showboating and taunting that take place after almost every good play. Maybe many of today's so-called stars should watch game films of Merlin Olsen, Dick Butkus or Jim Brown and see how the real superstars acted. It takes more than stirring the crowd into a frenzy after a sack to make it into the Hall of Fame.
Also, I think the media should take some of the blame for promoting fan violence. Your Jan. 31 cover shot of Darryl Grant spiking the ball encourages this behavior in younger players. Did Brown ever spike a ball? It seems that it isn't enough anymore to be a fine athlete, you must also be colorful. Cameras follow players like the Jets' ultra-demonstrative defensive end, Mark Gastineau, not just because of his obvious skills, but in hopes he will perform for the crowd. Some unruly fans identify with this playing-field behavior, and often the result is violence.
WILLIAM B. JONES
As an avid sports fan, I found the article on violence in the stands interesting and alarming. It was interesting to learn that the brutality that occurs on the ice in hockey does not seem to cause a significant increase in violence in the stands, but it was alarming to discover that team owners know what booze does to fans yet still allow it, because booze means money.
Banning alcohol at all sporting events would be fine with me. There is nothing worse than sitting in the stands amid fans who are so boozed up they don't care about the game anymore.
JUNE E. COOLEY
San Jose, Calif.
Show me a spectator who is happy to be losing his bet and I will show you a non-violent spectator! Doesn't gambling add fuel to violence? Many fans arrive at events, particularly in the pros, facing a dilemma of their own creation: They want their team or man to win, but they don't want to lose their bet. This is a significant part of the problem of crowd behavior, yet no mention of this was made in your article. A lot could be written about the influence and effect of the point spread on how fans act at sporting events.
COOPER E. TAYLOR JR.