Steve from Eau Claire, WI
Vic, I just watched a show about the 1995 Cleveland Browns and how their move to Baltimore went down. I know you had already left Pittsburgh by then, but having been a part of that rivalry for so long, what was your reaction when you heard the news?
I was driving from Gainesville, Fla., back to Jacksonville. I was listening to a sports talk show on the radio when I heard the news. I was so shocked I didn’t know whether to believe it. The Jaguars had just played in Cleveland and won. The Browns not in Cleveland? I remember thinking to myself that if the Browns can leave Cleveland, anything can happen. Some of my most treasured memories are of covering late-season games at old Cleveland Stadium. They can’t take that away from me.
Jacob from Colorado Springs, CO
Vic, you are drafting a new team from scratch in the NFL. You were lucky enough to snag Aaron Rodgers with your first pick. Who do you take next?
J.J. Watt is the obvious pick. The question is, who’s No. 3?
Joe from Clio, MI
Vic, did you know that since 1945 only USC has produced more NFL Hall of Famers than Pitt? Plus, they will probably add Revis and Fitzgerald later. Considering, with the exception of the Dorsett and Marino years, they haven’t won big too often, I find this amazing. What gives?
That’s a program waiting to be resurrected. Who will do it?
Gabriella from Bakersfield, CA
Why did Ted Thompson sign Julius Peppers last offseason when he isn’t known for signing big-name free agents?
The talent and the money matched. Peppers represented a chance for the Packers to acquire a game-changing defensive player for an affordable price. That’s a rare occurrence in free agency.
Kevin from De Pere, WI
Can hockey become popular like football or does the small puck limit the growth?
It’s not the size of the puck and the fact you can’t see it that is holding hockey back. What’s hurting hockey is that for all of its attempts to penetrate into the warm-weather big cities, it remains a northern-tier sport. There is almost no interest in hockey in the Southeast.
Justin from Titonka, IA
Who’s your best trio in the NFL right now? I would pick Rodgers/Nelson/Lacy, but I’m biased.
They would be my pick, too, but the numbers Roethlisberger/Brown/Bell put up last year can’t be ignored.
Drew from Winner, SD
Ever gone pheasant hunting?
I’ve been called many things in my life, but outdoorsman isn’t one of them.
James from Lake Mary, FL
How to build a successful team: Find the man, keep cap space for all your defensive stars, and draft and let go of skill-position players on offense. What do you say, Vic?
It’s simpler than that: Identify and keep your core players, and be willing to replace everybody else.
Gordon from Kent, OH
Bill Belichick has been known for cultivating relationships with specific college coaches or college programs. Do you see the Packers favoring players that come out of any specific school or from any specific coaching tree during the Thompson/McCarthy era, and do you think the Patriots’ method of favoring players from specific schools or coaches is a good talent evaluation policy?
Every team has a go-to school. Belichick didn’t invent this. Iowa has been a go-to school for the Packers. When I covered the Steelers, they always had a fondness for Michigan State players. It’s about relationships. You trust the coaches at a particular school to give you accurate information on prospects, and when they recommend a player, you draft him or you sign him. When a school gives you dedicated and self-motivated players such as Mike Daniels and Bryan Bulaga, you go back for more.
Addie from Stevens Point, WI
Vic, why is Ty Montgomery projected to be the kick returner but not the punt returner? Are the two returns really that different?
They are dramatically different. Returning punts is about elusiveness. Returning kicks is about explosion and power. It’s the difference between running around a wall and running through the wall.
Barry from Ashland, OR
How about Griese, Csonka and Warfield? All three are Hall of Famers.
They are certainly candidates for the top QB/RB/WR trio, but the problem is they are out of the 1970s, and the numbers just aren’t there. Bob Griese’s stat line for Super Bowl VIII is the example of that: six of seven for 73 yards.
Dylan from Forty Fort, PA
Do you have a story or anecdote for Mike Webster? My teacher shed light on his sad story.
I was covering Super Bowl XIII and I was standing at a postgame interview platform under the grandstands in the Orange Bowl. There was a crowd of reporters around the platform and I was at the back of the crowd. All of a sudden, an arm hooked under mine and I was being carried to the front of the crowd. It was Webster.
Roy from West Caldwell, NJ
I recall back in the ’60s it was routine for the backup QB to be the holder for placekicks. With the extra point moved back, do you see this as a possibility in 2015?
Anything is possible, but the problem with committing a quarterback to do the holding is he’d have to split his practice time between offense and special teams, and that means he wouldn’t be getting full development time as a quarterback. Football is a game of specialization now.
Jennifer from Kenosha, WI
Vic, what quarterback/coach combo had the best love/hate relationship in the good, old football days?
Graham/Brown, Staubach/Landry, Bradshaw/Noll and Elway/Reeves all had stormy relationships.
Joe from Chetek, WI
I saw an article saying, contrary to popular belief, Bobby Layne was the original two-minute quarterback, not Johnny Unitas. I’ve learned a lot from this column about Unitas. What can you tell me about Layne?
He was my first football idol, and the reason I wore No. 22 in high school. I always wanted my nose to bleed like his did.
Bob from St. Charles, IA
I recall that Reggie Roby was a two-step punter. How significant of an advantage was this?
When you have a two-step punter, you tear the punt-block play out of your opponents’ playbook.
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