When big-time college sports programs win without bending rules, everyone wins (Not An Ordinary Joe, Dec. 22-29). Thank you, Joe Paterno. Wonderful choice, SI.
Allison Park, Pa.
Congratulations on your selection of Penn State's Joe Paterno. His fine record, achieved by working within the rules, deserves recognition.
Fathers, tell your sons. College presidents, tell your alumni associations. Somebody, anybody, please reassure the NCAA. You can pursue athletic excellence and academic excellence at the same time!
I think Oklahoma's Barry Switzer hit the nail on the head: Joe Pa is different from the rest of the college football coaches. It seems that the "grand experiment" he began in 1966 has been validated time and again over the last 21 football seasons. Has it been worth it? Most emphatically yes.
ROBERT B. PORT
Paterno's record over the past 21 years speaks for itself. But Sportsman of the Year for 1986? How could that honor not have gone to Greg Norman or Roger Clemens?
Walter Payton has 10 1,000-yard rushing seasons to his credit, he has just been selected to his ninth Pro Bowl and last season he earned a Super Bowl ring with the champion Chicago Bears. What more can a man do?
Many thanks to E.M. Swift for his no-holds-barred account of Robert Irsay's annihilation of what was once one of the proudest and most successful franchises in NFL history, the Baltimore Colts (Now You See Him, Now You Don't, Dec. 15). The Colts we knew and loved were pronounced dead on the night of March 28, 1984, when Irsay moved the team to Indianapolis. Our light at the end of a long, dark tunnel will, I hope, appear in the form of a new NFL franchise for Baltimore, one we can love and nurture so it can beat the stuffing out of the " Indianapolis Irsays."
My sympathy and best wishes to the good people of Indianapolis. They wanted professional football in the worst way, and they got it.
Robert Irsay gained national attention not because he bought the Colts, not because he did or did not fabricate stories about his college days or about how he made his fortune, and not because of his impending divorce. The thing that made him famous is that he moved the struggling Colts out of Baltimore's decaying Memorial Stadium and into the city of Indianapolis, where they are one of the most profitable teams in the NFL—and a lot of people outside Indy can't stand it.
If Pete Rozelle and the other owners had given Indianapolis a franchise based on the statistics presented to the league in 1982, the Colts might still be in Baltimore and Indy would have its own tradition. Water over the dam. We got the Colts. You were right when you said we would rather be on the bottom looking up than on the outside looking in—like, say, Baltimore.