Sid from Kenosha, WI

Vic, what are your thoughts on this year’s schedule? I believe this is the toughest schedule in numerous years.

First of all, I think the opener in Chicago is a daunting challenge. The Packers will be facing their rival at the start of what Bears fans hope will become a new era. The Packers will be facing the challenge of a new energy that accompanies change. Forget about Seattle in Week 2. Focus on the Bears; it’s a division game. November will be a tough month, with three road games in four weeks. I think November will be the defining month of the season, because it’s a five-game month. Overall, it’s a challenging schedule with three long road trips, but the 2010 schedule is one of the most difficult I’ve ever seen, and the Packers won it all that year.

Jim from Waupaca, WI

A young player in the secondary has to step up. I’m excited and the suspense is thrilling. Who?

In spring drills, Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins really looked like first- and second-round picks. I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do in pads.

Jason from Racine, WI

You get to put an expansion team anywhere in the world. Where would it be and why?

Expansion doesn’t make sense for the league. A 33rd team? That doesn’t work in any model. Relocation of a team? I’d hate to see it but, clearly, as many as two teams are headed to Los Angeles. It’s going to happen. The NFL is going to return to Los Angeles. It’s not if, it’s who and when.

Scott from Waukesha, WI

Vic, if you’re going out for a nice round of golf, which Packer would you take as your caddy?

Mike Daniels. There’s something about Daniels that endears me to him. He has that old-school feel I love. He says whatever he wants, and backs it up with his play. He fears no one, including the media. I love that attitude.

Dennis from Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Vic, it seems to me the equipment designed to protect the players is also causing injuries. A helmet has padding on the inside that helps protect the player wearing it, but unless things have changed since my playing days, the outside is as hard as a rock. Players getting hit by the hard outer shell don’t have the benefit of the padding designed to protect the wearer. Wouldn’t it be better to go with padded protection that has no hard shell? What am I missing?

You’re missing the ice cream headache the old Ohio State padded helmet produced. It was the worst helmet ever made. I can’t imagine why Willie Lanier wore it for all the years he did. It had a thick pad down the middle of the top of the helmet. It was a nonsensical creation because the pad absorbed the contact and transferred it to the inside of the helmet. The hard outer shell of the new helmet is designed to deflect the contact.

Travis from Superior, WI

Vic, across all sports, who was the most dominant player at their particular sport you have ever witnessed?

Lew Alcindor. They had to outlaw the dunk to limit his dominance.

Joe from Whitefish Bay, WI

Vic, thanks for giving me a football fix during the “Dead Zone.” My question relates to the Immaculate Reception, which I believe you witnessed. If Jack Tatum tries to make a play on the ball rather than stone Frenchy Fuqua, chances are the ball never deflects all the way to Franco Harris and the game ends. Raiders fans don’t like to hear that, but I think that’s true. What do you think about that point?

If Tatum allows Fuqua to catch the ball, the Steelers might not have been able to line up fast enough to kick a field goal, because the Steelers were out of times out and there was no spike play back then. Truth be known, Harris should’ve stepped out of bounds as he was running down the sideline. He took a risk of being tackled in bounds and the clock expiring. The Steelers only needed a field goal to win.

Gus from Voss, Norway

I like long walks, soft music and pina coladas by the fjord. You?

I like a cold beer on a blistering hot day at the beach.

Ted from St. Johns, Canada

If you are the commissioner, what events do you invent to keep fan interest up between now and training camp?

We don’t need another event; we need to rest and this is the time for it. This is a time to read about football. This is a time to fill the cooler with cold beer and go to the beach with a football book under your arm. When I was a kid, trips to the beach in the summer always meant buying that year’s “Street and Smith’s” college football preview. The beach always meant getting ready for the football season and enjoying the hype and the hope.

Jacob from Harrisburg, SD

I hear all the golfers disgracing the course and all I can think of is a line I read one time: “It's not our job to embarrass the best players in the world; it’s our job to reveal them.” Job well done, U.S. Open.

How about the ball and the hole? Is it the USGA’s job to reveal them? I couldn’t see either. Job not well done, U.S. Open.

Eric from Rochester, MN

Last column, you wrote about how teams can retain talented players by placing them on injured reserve. How severe does an injury have to be for players to be eligible for injured reserve? Do teams fudge the severity of an injury to make extra space for developmental players?

A long time ago, I covered a young, developmental defensive tackle named Gary Dunn. He developed into an outstanding nose tackle. Early in his career, however, it was difficult for him to find a place on the final roster. Fortunately, he injured his knee late in training camp and was placed on injured reserve. But what knee was it? When a few of us interviewed Dunn, he clutched his left knee. “I thought it was your right knee,” I said. “Oh, yeah, my right knee,” Dunn said with a smile, clutching his right knee.

Cam from Winnipeg, Manitoba

What’s your opinion of the CFL?

It’s been a good professional football league for a long time.

Max from Neenah, WI

Yesterday, you called this the peak of the Aaron Rodgers era, and I agree. But is that the same as Aaron Rodgers’ peak, or could they be different?

I think Rodgers is playing at the peak of his game and I think his supporting cast has never been stronger.

Patrick from Park City, UT

Vic, of the current 2015 Packers roster, which players are on course to be in the Hall of Fame, in your opinion?

Rodgers is a lock, Julius Peppers is likely and Clay Matthews has a shot, especially if he can play as long as his father did.

Mike from Lake Villa, IL

Vic, what do you think of George Carlin’s classic comic routine about the differences between football and baseball?

I heard it for the first time in 1972, when Carlin graced my dormitory with a free performance in the dormitory lounge. He was friends with one of the guys in the dorm. I thought the routine was genius; it still is.

Tony from River Falls, WI

What is your favorite food from Wisconsin since moving here?

Booyah.

Freddie from Liberty, SC

Vic, if John Madden himself challenged you to a game of Madden, would you play him?

Neither one of us would know how to turn the game on. Madden lending his name to a video game is like me lending my name to men’s hair dye.

Andrew from Sarasota, FL

Have you ever considered writing fiction? If so, what would you write about?

I wanna write romance novels. I’m serious. I’ve spent a lifetime writing about football. I wanna spend what’s left of my life writing about something of which I know absolutely nothing.

 

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