Of the six issues of SI that preceded Super Bowl XVI, four pictured eventual Super Bowl contestants on the cover, and three of them featured San Francisco 49ers: Earl Cooper (Dec. 21). Dwight Clark (Jan. 18) and Joe Montana (Jan. 25). According to the myth about the SI cover jinx, this should have more than sealed the fate of the Niners: Surely they would lose to the Bengals. But no, the 49ers put an end to this old armchair quarterback's excuse. Congratulations. The myth of the SI cover jinx is all but dispelled. Then again, don't let Thomas Hearns read this. He might not agree.
MARK C. CLARK
I admit the 49ers are a talented football team—you have to be talented to beat a team like the Cowboys twice in a row—but don't you think that three 49er covers in 35 days is a little ridiculous? And that's not even counting the Super Bowl cover of Feb. 1.
I know the girlie version of SI is upon us. but this gal already has her pinup, thanks to your great cover shot of my new heartthrob. Joe Montana. Thank you, SI, I needed that!
I hope you will have some comment on Joe Montana's public pill-popping at the start of the second half of the Super Bowl. I am sure that many of the millions of fans who saw it on TV are curious. After all, there was a confident Montana on the sidelines, headgear off his handsome head, just before the kickoff, extending his palm toward a trainer to receive a pill, which he popped into his mouth. My dentist thinks it was an upper, but he can't understand why Montana got off to such a slow start in the second half. Could he have been slipped a downer by mistake?
SIDNEY L. JAMES
Laguna Hills, Calif.
?No uppers or downers here. According to the 49ers, Montana suffered cramps in his passing hand in the first half and was given a tablet of a soluble calcium salt supplement called Fosfree. Among its various applications, Fosfree, which contains calcium, vitamins and iron, is sometimes useful for relieving such muscle cramps.—ED.
Was I the only person in the world to see San Francisco lose the NFC championship game against Dallas (Off on the Wrong Foot, Jan. 18)? On the last play, after San Francisco's game-clinching recovery of a Dallas fumble, didn't Joe Montana take the snap from center and, while the opposing linemen stood up to shake hands, etc., turn and run from near midfield through the San Francisco end zone for a safety? No matter if time expired before he got there; the play started with 27 seconds still on the clock.
In an amazing coincidence, SCORECARD in that same Jan. 18 issue carried an item on a high school game between Shawnee Mission ( Kans.) South and Shawnee Mission West that parallels this situation: The "winning" quarterback took the final snap on his opponent's 40-yard line and then, without downing the ball, retreated toward his own goal line, waiting for the last five seconds of the game to elapse. An alert opponent rushed up, grabbed the ball from the quarterback and ran it in for a touchdown and victory for the "losing" team.
It sure would be nice to have the 49er play explained!
?Although it may have seemed that way, the situations weren't identical. Art McNally, the NFL's Supervisor of Officials, assures us that after Montana took the final snap, he dropped back and down on his right knee, whereupon he was touched—actually, grabbed at each side of the waist—by Dallas Right Cornerback Dennis Thurman. The referee then blew his whistle, ending the play. While it's true that the clock was still running when Montana stood up and, noting the crowds descending onto the field and some players leaving it, ran off with the ball through the end zone, there could be no safety because the ball hadn't been snapped to begin another play.—ED.
A WORD FROM THE POLICE CHIEF
I read with interest the article on Bobby Unser by Sam Moses ('I Will Go Fast Until the Day I Die," Jan. 11). However, I was very disturbed by the passage regarding the New Mexico State Police. It indicates that Unser has a free pass to speed on New Mexico highways.