Dan from Rothschild, WI

I want to ask you to define market. They say Green Bay is the smallest market, but we make gobs of money. Wouldn’t that suggest the market may not be so small?

The market is small but the Packers’ brand has reached out into other markets. The parking lot outside the Pro Shop might be the license plate capital of the world. Lombardi, the Ice Bowl, Lambeau Field, etc., give this franchise an allure that makes market size inconsequential.

Frank from Weston, WI

Packers fans are so good, even our worst fans are better than everybody’s best.

The Chargers had to use their silent count at home.

Jade from Denver, CO

What do you think are the most important trades in NFL history that changed the course of the game? Obviously, as a cheesehead, my No. 1 is Brett Favre. Second would have to be Elway. Any other big trades you can think of?

Bobby Layne never gets mentioned, but his route to the Lions is fascinating. The Steelers made him the third pick of the 1948 draft, but Layne didn’t want to play with them because they were still using the single wing, so the Steelers traded his rights to the Bears. A year on the bench behind Luckman and Lujack caused Layne to demand a trade – Layne wanted to be traded to the Packers – and the Bears traded him to the New York Bulldogs. After a year with the Bulldogs, Layne was traded to the Lions for wide receiver Bob Mann. Layne then won three league titles with the Lions.

Alex from Seattle, WA

Vic, can you please let us know the story following “The guy was dying” lede? I’m dying to know.

George “Doc” Medich was a pitcher and a doctor. It was either during batting practice or during the game that a fan in the box seats appeared to be having a heart attack. Medich went into the seats and used CPR to save the guy’s life. A reporter witnessed what happened. The lede in his story was “The guy was dying.” I’ve always thought it was the best Steinbeck-like lede I’ve ever read.

Wendell from Porto Alegre, Brazil

I think this team has more talent than the Super Bowl XLV team. Do you agree?

I agree, and I thought last year’s team was the most talented Packers team in the Mike McCarthy era.

John from Pewaukee, WI

Vic, what is your favorite trick play you have ever seen?

I invented it. When a runner on first base attempted to steal second base, the pitcher was to pitch out. The catcher then threw a pop up to the second baseman and everybody in the infield began yelling “I got it, I got it.” The runner, who probably hadn’t watched the pitch, would likely figure the batter hit a pop up, and the runner would stop and begin running back to first base, where a tag would be waiting for him.

Cody from Pembroke, NH

Vic, I have an old painting hanging on my wall of the 1996-97 Super Bowl XXXI champion Packers star players. Whenever I look at it my heart fills with joy and my veins with adrenaline. What a great franchise. Just win, baby.

I have a picture of Bill Mazeroski rounding third base, swinging his hat after hitting a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of the seventh game of the 1960 World Series against the Yankees. Every time I look at it, I wish I was nine years old again.

Emily from Reading, PA

Is it correct the Packers and Steelers are the only teams in the NFL to have an associative object with their team (cheesehead and towel respectively)? How did they become part of their team’s identity?

I don’t know the facts behind the cheesehead, but I know how the “Terrible Towel” was born. Myron Cope was a friend and he told me the story. Prior to the playoffs one season, his station manager demanded Cope come up with a gimmick the station could promote. The intent was obviously to promote the station and deepen its identity as the official station of the team. Cope hated gimmicks and was determined to give the station manager an idea so stupid the station manager would decline it. He came back to the station manager with the idea of asking fans on his nightly radio show to bring a towel to the game. The station manager asked Cope why a towel? Cope said, in dramatic and sarcastic voice, “Because it’s the fabric of Pittsburgh.” He thought that would kill the idea, but the station manager paused for thought and then said, “I love it.” That’s how the “Terrible Towel” was born. It was a bad idea that has since provided Myron’s favorite charity with millions of dollars of funding. Before he died, he granted the charity exclusive rights to the “Terrible Towel.”

Dana from Eau Claire, WI

What are you going to look for during training camp, specifically around the defense?

I wanna see the kids cover. I think that’s the No. 1 issue in training camp and in the preseason.

Jerry from Des Moines, IA

Vic, if offensive linemen weren’t allowed to hold and still had to block the way they did before the 1978 rules changes, how would that change today’s game?

Goodbye zone blocking, especially the stretch play.

Jon from Campbell, CA

Vic, besides Seattle, what will be the toughest game on the schedule?

The opener in Chicago.

Stephen from Chicago, IL

Have the parts of Lambeau fans don’t get to see (locker rooms, press boxes, etc.) changed during the renovations over the last 20 years? If so, how bad was it before?

I’ll go back to the ’80s, which was my first trip to Lambeau Field. The press box was high school-like. I remember a door through which you could walk out into the bleachers. The visiting locker room was one notch above Cleveland Stadium’s visiting locker room. I can remember sitting in the Lambeau Field press box and thinking to myself, “This one is in trouble.”

Mike from Laveen, AZ

What really happens to the Packers’ profits? If they’re all really just reinvested, are we someday soon going to have a gold-plated parking lot?

You’re just being silly. How about locker rooms for the fans? Why shouldn’t the 12th man have a place to shower after a tough game?

Peter from Benton City, WA

Romans 5:3-5. We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us.

I just like to watch.

Cindy from Los Angeles, CA

Who’s the smartest player you’ve interviewed?

In terms of interview savvy, Tony Boselli and Aaron Rodgers immediately come to mind. You were not going to catch them off guard. Jack Ham always had a firm grip on what happened out on the field. Keenan McCardell had interview charm. One of my all-time favorite players to interview is Leon Searcy. He knew he was my go-to guy, and he’d be sitting at his locker stall waiting for me after a game. He’d see me coming and he’d smile. Leon has the deepest voice of any player I have ever covered. “What happened out there, Leon?” His answer usually involved somebody getting their butt kicked. Isn’t that what football is all about?

Charlie from Centerville, IA

The rules changes of 1978 seem like they were pretty major. Were fans going crazy about it then? Today, they’d probably start a petition and start all sorts of comment-section brawls.

Most of the coaches didn’t understand the impact of the rules changes until late in the season and it became apparent we were witnessing the beginnings of an offensive explosion. Chuck Noll, Don Shula and Don Coryell were the first coaches, in my opinion, to get it. Most of the other coaches stuck to the running game. I have no doubt Bill Walsh got it, too, but he was still a year away from becoming a head coach. The fans? They didn’t get it, mostly because the media didn’t get it. I would’ve never gotten it if Coach Noll hadn’t explained it to me and some other reporters prior to the start of training camp in 1978. He showed us an instructional tape the league had sent around to its teams, and he told us these rules changes were going to change the game. We didn’t have ESPN and NFL Network and an army of former players analyzing the game as we do today.

Dan from Beaver Dam, WI

A Packers fan could beat a Steelers fan with one arm patting himself on the back.

And the other arm holding a piece of cheese.

John from Bloomington, IN

Vic, why does the Packers radio broadcast not have a sideline reporter?

I don’t know who gets credit for the sideline reporter idea – I remember Jim Lampley being the first one I noticed – but I think it was absolute genius. I think there’s more that can be done with the concept, especially in team-controlled broadcasts.

 

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