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Letters / Our readers speak out

Senators lurking behind Sabres

Uh oh. I know the Sabres were able to overcome a dismal regular season against the Ottawa Senators and still defeat them in the playoffs last season. But I don't want (and they shouldn't want) them to meet in the playoffs this spring. With the huge run the Sabres made in the playoffs this past year we forget the win over the Senators was considered a huge upset.

Even though the Sabres own a much better record they had better beware. As they proved last year, the regular-season record means little when the real games begin.

If Ottawa really isn't a superior team overall, it sure looks like it when they go head to head.

Sal Sicurella



Bills took steps forward

I must admit, when someone asked me how many games the Buffalo Bills would win this past season, I said they would be lucky to win six games. I was proudly wrong on my prediction, making me pleasantly surprised at season's end.

When I look at our football team, I saw a QB blossom, a coaching staff become respectable, and an offensive line becoming one. I was saddened though by the fans of this Buffalo Bills team. They all think they know everything about the game of football, what plays to run, when not to go for it on fourth and 1, and especially kicking a 45-yard field goal against a 25 mph wind. This is why the coaching staff gets paid the big bucks, making the tough decisions. Yes, sometimes they go wrong, but I tip my cap to the coaches having to go with their gut feelings. I was at the home finale against Tennessee, I saw how the wind was affecting the kicking game, and I fully support the decision not to go for the field goal. Did anyone else see the 15-yard punt by Tennessee, or the 25-yard kickoffs? The only problem I had was the time it took to make that decision. Let's face facts; no kicker would have made that kick.

The fans have a right to be opinionated, but be real -- no one expected these guys to do as well as they did. I for one am excited for the 2007 season, many good things to come, and take that to the bank.

Phil Weimer

West Seneca


Willis, Drew need some reminders

An open letter to Willis McGahee and Drew Rosenhaus:

Are you guys kidding me? Is Willis a good NFL back? Sure. Is he an elite back who has proven it on the field (say a 1,500-yard season and maybe a 4.5 yards per carry average for once)? Absolutely not. You have a contract. Have a great year deserving of a huge raise and I'm sure the Bills will oblige. But now? No way.

Yes, we've heard it all. The team isn't great. The offensive line is average. He played hurt (like no other NFL player has ever done that). But the bottom line is that teams do not dole out gigantic new contracts to players who have average stats (like Willis's 3.7-3.8 yards per carry) and well they shouldn't.

McGahee should be commended for how he's come back from a devastating injury in college. But is he also forgetting it was the Bills who gave him his first round draft choice status when everyone else passed because of injury? He may have lasted until the second round or lower, who knows.

If he thinks the Bills owe him, I think he should realize he owes the Bills as well. This is not to say he may not improve and have a great future. But now is not the time to be asking for something he hasn't come close to accomplishing yet.

Joe Pulvirenti

Orchard Park


Bills' Wall needs two new names

As a Buffalo Bills season-ticket holder since day one in 1960, the time is overdue that we put Lou Saban's and Cookie Gilchrist's names on the Wall of Fame. Those two men should have been the first names on that wall anyway. I've seen a lot of coaches and players come and go in my 46 years but not as good as Saban and Gilchrist.

Saban was an AFL legend who put the Bills on the professional football map within five years of its inception. He put together the best front four defensely we ever had in Tom Day, Ron McDole, Jim Dunaway and Tom Sestak. He's the only AFL coach to win back-to-back championships.

What can one say about Gilchrist, probably the best player to wear a Bills uniform? A player as good as Gilchrist only comes to a team once in a lifetime. He could have played any position on the offensive line. He kicked off, covered kicks, returned kickoffs. Our 1964 season was the best we ever had, only losing two games that season. If we had the first Super Bowl two years earlier, there is no doubt in my mind we would have won it.

A certain electricity came over War Memorial Stadium when Gilchrist came down from Canada. Ralph Wilson must remember if Saban and Gilchrist never came to Buffalo it would have taken the Bills 30 years to win their first championship game before Marv Levy got here. We must honor these two men while they are still with us.

Robert Clark



Numbers for Zito don't add up

A reality check! The Buffalo News sports page reported that pitcher Barry Zito received a $126 million, seven-year contract to pitch for the San Francisco Giants. That's $18 million per year.

Assuming that a pitcher in the normal rotation will pitch at most 40 games a year (including postseason), and throws about 100 pitches a game, he will receive about $4,500 per pitch!

And we wonder why tickets to professional games are unreasonable!

Willard Macfarland

Orchard Park

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 Letters should be limited to 250 words and are subject to editing.

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