My congratulations to Paul Zimmerman! When I read his article (Pete, the Way They Play Today Stinks, Dec. 12), I realized why I've been losing interest in NFL football over the past few years. I've always been in favor of a power-running game, deep pass routes and a man-to-man pass defense. These are the characteristics Dr. Z recalled from days gone by. The only team that comes close to playing like that today is Al Davis' menagerie.
Bring back the good things in pro football: natural grass, mud and false teeth.
North Little Rock, Ark.
I commend Dr. Z. Steeler Defensive Coordinator Woody Widenhofer's remark that his current defense is better than the old Steel Curtain is simply untrue. How many times has this defense shut down—I don't mean stopped, I mean really shut down—an Earl Campbell, as Pittsburgh's fading Steel Curtain did in the 1979 and 1980 AFC championship games? In the '80 game, Campbell was held to 15 yards rushing for the whole game—two yards at the half. Those were the days of real football. Then came the rules changes, and now many games are decided on numerous discretionary calls by referees.
Come on, Pete. You know we're right. Bring back real football. Get rid of those stupid rules.
It's finals week at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, but I decided to take a break and read my SI. Paul Zimmerman's article was excellent. If Pete Rozelle wants to know how boring today's NFL play is, tell him I turned off my television set to study last Sunday, and my test wasn't until Tuesday.
Kansas City, Mo.
Amen, Dr. Z! I used to be a hard-core pro football fan, and I still am a hard-core Pittsburgh Steeler fan. I also happen to be a transplanted McKeesporter and even I had to think for a minute before naming the players on this year's Steeler defensive line.
Thanks for telling it exactly as it is concerning the sorry state of pro football today. I only hope that Pete Rozelle and the rules makers are wise enough to recognize the loss of quality brought about by their policies-for-parity actions. The mystique that was pro football is going, going....
Paul Zimmerman was way out of line. This new game is different from play in the old NFL, but I wouldn't say it stinks. The game has gotten much quicker, and, yes, many of the athletes are situation players, but it has become more exciting. Offenses have opened up, making it essential for defenses to change. Can you picture Dick Butkus or Ray Nitschke attempting to cover Walter Payton or Tony Dorsett on a safety valve, or maybe in an isolated situation when the backs break long? I can't!
As for the monsters like Butkus, I'm not sure they're the answer to the bigger, stronger, faster offensive lineman of today's game. Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed watching Alex Karras, Paul Hornung, Jim Brown, Butkus and Nitschke for the few years I could, but they just weren't fast enough for this game.
Oldtimers, get with the '80s!
MICHAEL S. HILFMAN