I would like to offer an alternative explanation for the fact that TV ratings for professional football have not increased the way scoring has this season (The Name of the Game Is Now Armball. Nov. 19). If fans are turned off by pro football, I do not believe it is simply because of the new rules or because, as Dallas Free Safety Cliff Harris suggests, most people prefer a good defensive battle to a good offensive battle. Rather, I feel that people may be turned off by the endless time outs called because of injuries. Fans are disappointed when their favorite players are out of action or are reduced to putting on subpar performances on account of injuries.
Because I think the intimidation tactics of defenses have been causing most of the injuries, I feel that John Underwood's series last year on brutality in football (Brutality: The Crisis in Football, Aug. 14-28, 1978) contains the best explanation to date of the decline in interest. If anything, the rule changes favoring and protecting the offense may have come too late.
Salt Lake City
In SCORECARD (Nov. 26) you asked for a definition in four sentences of baseball's Most Valuable Player. Here's mine: the most respected and admired player on the team. The player all teammates depend on to deliver in key situations. The player with above-average statistics who, with a touch of class, can smile because he thrives on pressure. Willie Stargell.
JONATHAN G. MOORE
Slippery Rock, Pa.
It doesn't take four sentences to describe the Most Valuable Player; it can be done in four words: most outstanding performer statistically. On that basis, in the National League Dave Winfield is the only player who should have been close to Keith Hernandez.
MVP: not the player who did the best in the league, but the one who helped his team the most by working the hardest.