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Letters / Our readers speak out

For LaFontaine, don't stand pat

This is an open letter to Larry Quinn, Tom Golisano and whoever else might make the decision of what to do for the upcoming Pat LaFontaine retired jersey night.

I have been a season-ticket holder and have been there for each jersey being retired. As much as I enjoyed seeing the video messages and the alumni on ice for Danny Gare's ceremony, I do hope the organization puts in more of an effort for Pat's night.

I have watched several other players' retirement nights this year, like the Oilers' Paul Coffey and Ron Francis in Carolina.

For Coffey and Francis nights they put on the uniform and skate around one last time in the beginning and the ending of the ceremonies. It was so much more moving than seeing the guy on the carpet and nothing else. They also brought out pivotal players who skated with them and were good friends of each of the players. During the Carolina tribute while Ron skated with his sons, they had his family and friends come out, which was a great idea and moved things along.

Pat did so much on and off the ice, and continues to do so, that I hope they will consider this idea and make a really huge effort for Pat.

Janice Anzalone

Cheektowaga

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A viewer's plea from Razor's edge

A visiting out-of-town TV viewer asks, "What is a 'Razor' and a 'Roby'?" Is it really necessary for the hockey show host to address the guests with goofy, sandlot nicknames?

Here's a novel idea: How about using their actual names -- Rob Ray and Mike Robitaille. Want creativity and imagination? "Robert" and "Michael" should do it.

Brian J. Doyle

Buffalo

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Officials produced a Super letdown

This Super Bowl has to be one of the biggest disappointments. Whether the calls were right or wrong is immaterial. The fact that we're even talking about this issue supports the fact that something has to be done.

These are supposed to be the best officials in the world, and they definitely played a big part in the outcome of the game. For cripes sake, let these guys play. They do in the NHL playoffs; it's an unwritten law.

So what needs to be done? Full-time officials? The league can certainly afford it. Just look at the megabucks spent on Super Bowl commercials alone.

More officials? The league can certainly afford it. Have officials permanently stationed in the end zones instead of 60-year-old men running up and down the field trying to keep up with these finely tuned athletes.

I know all officials are graded on their game-time decisions, and the best are working the Super Bowl, but how about having a benchmark for physical ability? You know NHL refs are physically fit, so what's wrong with NFL refs being on a par with them?

Joe Sheehy

Lewiston

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The Bills' forecast: More mediocrity

The Buffalo Bills stared good fortune in the face, and once again made a terrible decision.

The Bills had the opportunity to hire one of the most talented and successful coaches in the National Football League, Mike Sherman, formerly of the Green Bay Packers. Sherman had been let go after logging only one losing season during his time with Green Bay -- a poor season that was primarily the result of an injury-riddled roster. He was an offensive specialist, someone who could have turned around the anemic Bills' offense and successfully groomed young J.P. Losman.

It was a "no-brainer" to hire Sherman as the next Bills coach. Instead of hiring the most qualified candidate, Marv Levy insisted on hiring Dick Jauron, a man who had one fluke year of coaching success with the Chicago Bears and turned in losing seasons in every other year as head coach. He also led a mediocre Lions defense before going 1-4 as interim head coach.

Bills fans deserve better than getting recycled castoffs from Matt Millen's scrap heap. We have endured five years of bad coaching. Looks like it's three more years of sub-.500 mediocrity in Buffalo.

Ted Knight

Annapolis, Md.

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Jauron scenario has familiar ring

I'll admit that, on first reaction, I was rather upset with the Bills' decision to hire an Ivy Leaguer from Chicago with an undistinguished career record as a head coach. The fit just didn't seem right.

But eventually, I came to like Marv Levy well enough.

Phil Mann

New York

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Bills remain in an ivy tower

The inner workings of a first-time general manager:

I need to hire a new coach. My predecessor interviewed three potential coaches for his first hire. Marvin Lewis and John Fox were not hired because Gregg Williams had a binder. He was fired and his successor, Mike Mularkey, was hired instead of Charlie Weis because he worked with the previous general manager in Pittsburgh. At least, I think that was why he was hired.

Now I have a list of candidates to choose from. Jim Haslett was a former player, excitable coach and popular among fans. Those excitable coaches are never successful over the long haul; look at the guy in Pittsburgh. Plus Haslett says the Bills would be his dream job. There must be something wrong with his mind. I won't even interview him. I did interview Mike Sherman because he won several division titles with Green Bay and worked with Brett Favre. He even would have drafted J.P. Losman. But he has been a pro personnel director before and Mr. Wilson was impressed by him, so I had better pass.

Dick Jauron was the head coach of the Chicago Bears while I was doing the local broadcasts. He was a nice guy. He made some poor choices for offensive coordinators, but I can help him with that. When Ted Marchibroda got hired as the Colts head coach, I promoted Tom Bresnahan, and I know how that turned out.

I don't know why I'm so worried about this decision. The Bills fans sold out every game with Mularkey as head coach. Some of them even wanted me to coach at age 80. They are arguably the most loyal fans in the NFL.

That settles it. I'm going to hire Jauron as my head coach.

Mark Bromley

Buffalo

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Jauron unworthy of head job

With Marv Levy's hiring of Dick Jauron, it looks like the Good Ol' Boys Ivy League network is in full throttle in your city. As we Chicago Bears fans experienced, Buffalo fans will find out soon enough that the man is a "career coordinator," not a head coach.

Luke De Roeck

Glenview, Ill.

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Hosts on WGR 55 are up to speed

I was reading The Buffalo News last Sunday, and I noticed two negative letters directed toward WGR 55, and I just wanted to stick up for them.

I think that WGR 55 has a great format. The letters said that all the radio hosts were negative toward anything the Bills do. Just because they are objective, intellectual and have an unbiased/honest opinion, does not make them negative. It makes them great. These guys tell it like it is, they don't sugarcoat anything, they are passionate Bills fans, just like us.

Mike Schopp is an intelligent and brilliant host whose sports knowledge is second-to-none. The Bulldog is a great co-host, and he relates more to the everyday Joe. They are a great team. Jerry Sullivan occasionally joins them for an hour. Sullivan is the most brutally honest reporter I know. That's his job, and he does it well. Sullivan can be negative, but when he is, it's deserved and justified. He can also be positive when it's deserved and justified.

Joe Nowak

Derby

***

Time for Canisius to fire MacDonald

As a Buffalo sports fan living in Albany, I keep close tabs on all Buffalo area sports teams. While the Bills, then the Sabres occupy most of your coverage, I read with great pain the struggles of the Canisius Golden Griffins men's basketball team. The only question I have is why Mike MacDonald is still the coach of the program.

Let's face it, MacDonald hasn't done much in his way-too-long tenure. Why he is allowed to continue the mediocrity is mind boggling. At 6-17, the Griffins are the laughingstock in what is usually a balanced, anybody-can-win MAAC. John Beilein was a great find, and guys like him are hard to find at the mid-major level, but there have to be better candidates out there than MacDonald.

Like it or not, college basketball is a results-oriented business. Rob Lanier took Siena to the NCAA Tournament and the NIT the next year, but after two unsuccessful seasons, was fired. Why MacDonald is allowed to stay year after year, loss after loss, is head scratching, to say the least.

John Furgele

Delmar

Send comments to Sports Talk, The Buffalo News, One News Plaza, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240. Letters may also be sent via fax to 849-4587 or e-mail to sports@buffnews.com. Letters should be limited to 250 words and are subject to editing. Submissions must include address and telephone number for verification.

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