With your NFL
Preview Issue the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED cover jinx came through again, big time.
Not only was Patriots quarterback Tom Brady featured on one of your six
regional covers, but he is also shown putting forward the knee that he injured
in Week 1 against the Chiefs, ending his season.
Peter Mandzuk, Danbury, Conn.
I have enjoyed
reading your magazine for years, but if I should ever become famous, I
respectfully request that you do not put my picture on your cover.
Kent Walter, Alliance, Ohio
Your NFL Preview
failed to include SI's prediction that Tony Romo, Marion Barber, T.O., DeMarcus
Ware and Terence Newman will all unexpectedly retire in late September. I just
assume you believe this will happen, given that you predict Philadelphia
(Scouting Reports, Sept. 1) and not Dallas to win the NFC East.
Sam Fiano, Fairfield, Conn.
Back in the 1980s
the NFL employed a scheduling process in which strong teams had to play against
each other more often. In the schedule ratings in your NFL Preview, I noticed
that both the New England Patriots and the San Diego Chargers, surely the two
strongest teams in the NFL last year, have been given the two weakest schedules
in the NFL, ranked at 32 and 31, respectively. Evidently, the NFL now rewards
good teams with weak schedules.
Donald Connors, Arlington, Va.
For the 2002 season the league adopted a scheduling method whose priority was
to ensure that every team played every other team at least once every four
years: In addition to six games against divisional foes, teams play all four
teams in a division out of their conference, and in their conference, with the
divisions rotating yearly. The two remaining games are against teams that
finished in the same position from the remaining conference divisions; so New
England, for example, plays fellow division winners Indianapolis and Pittsburgh
this year. The Patriots' rating reflects the weakness of their division foes
and of the NFC and AFC West, which the AFC East goes against this year.
As the former
assistant executive director of the NFL Players Association, let me say that
Gary Smith's story on the death of Gene Upshaw, NFLPA executive director and
Hall of Fame guard (Gene Upshaw, 1945--2008, Sept. 1), channeled the man we all
knew and loved, as much as he would let each of us. The man I worked under
could be inspiring and infuriating in equal doses, but he was an original who
stayed true to what he believed in, no matter what. Reading your article was
bittersweet, bringing him to life, but, like my decision to call his cell on
the day after his death just to hear that deep, commanding voice, painful. This
story was nonetheless a gift for his family and friends, who will pull it out
and read it from time to time and remember the big guy and what he still means
Doug Allen, Los Angeles
story about the Dolphins' 1972 perfect season and the death of her brother
(POINT AFTER, Sept. 1) spoke to anyone who has ever had to come to terms with
such a loss. Not only could you feel Roberts's grief in each passing sentence,
but you also knew that writing the article was therapeutic for her. It was
therapy for her readers as well.
William Todd Wallace, Canton, Ohio