Craig from Ripon, WI

I’m with you, Vic. Reshape the equipment, not the game, and you just might have a solution.

That’s not what I wrote. I said reshape the game, not the equipment. The equipment is an enabler. It’s part of the problem. It’s enabling a misshapen game to be further misshaped. We have to get those safeties out of the deep middle of the field. That’s job one. If Tashaun Gipson hadn’t been able to hang back there and wait for Jermichael Finley to cross the middle, this injury wouldn’t have occurred. Run-up hits in the middle of the field are threatening the future of the game. The middle of the field is the danger zone. In my opinion, we have to reshape the game so defenders are running with receivers, not at them.

Travis from Sobieski, WI

Who decided there needs to be a trade deadline? I never really understood why there has to be a cutoff. Why can’t players be traded all the way up to the playoffs?

It’s because of Tom Matte. Here’s what I mean: If there had been no trade deadline in 1965, when Johnny Unitas got hurt the Colts could’ve traded with, say, Minnesota for Fran Tarkenton, instead of fitting Matte, a running back, with a wristband and making him a quarterback. Then, after the game was over or the Colts’ season was over, they could’ve merely traded Tarkenton back to the Vikings. Understand? The trade deadline protects the integrity of the season at its most important time, the second half of the season. How long would it have taken somebody to invent the wristband Matte wore if Matte hadn’t had to play quarterback?

Steve from Beaver Dam, WI

I agree with you about the Packers using the practice squad the way it was intended and developing talented players as a result. My question is, considering this is a copycat league, why haven’t more teams embraced the Packers’ philosophy and used the practice squad the same way? Or, have they and just aren’t producing the same results?

There are other teams that use it the right way, but most don’t. They lack patience. They lack commitment. Maybe it’s because they have tickets to sell. Maybe it’s because their owner has a reputation for firing coaches and general managers. Patience might be the greatest of football virtues.

Mike from Las Vegas, NV

Vic, Earl Campbell is in the Hall of Fame having played only eight years, and Gale Sayers is in with six years. Certainly, both are deserving. Who are some other players out there with short careers that deserve to be in the Hall of Fame?

Lynn Swann only played eight years. Why are all of those players in the Hall of Fame? Because it’s the Hall of Famous, not the Hall of Stats. You can’t write the history of the NFL without mentioning each of those three players. Campbell is the quintessential power back. Sayers defined explosiveness. Swann is a Super Bowl MVP whose amazing catches still dominate NFL Films’ Super Bowl highlights. Herman Moore caught twice as many passes for nearly twice as many yards as Swann did, but Swann achieved immortality in the Super Bowl, whereas Moore lives only in the record-book pages of the Lions media guide. There should be a place in the Hall of Fame for longevity and stats, and there is, but nothing beats fame. The game’s popularity is built on the famous.

Chris from Voorhout, the Netherlands

Vic, is the Packers vs. Bears THE rivalry in the NFL?

I mean no disrespect, but I’ve covered four Packers-Bears games and the Packers have won all of them and none of them were compelling. If I didn’t know it’s a rivalry, I would’ve never guessed it is. I’ve gotten a much greater sense of rivalry from the Packers’ games with the Vikings. I really like the Packers-Vikings rivalry. It’s in my blood now.

Ben from St. Joseph, MI

Vic, from someone who doesn’t follow college football (so many schools, so many bowls, I wouldn’t know where to start), why is this the worst college football season you’ve ever seen?

The games stink. Go to the games the Top 25 played last weekend and tell me how many of them were worthy of televising. All the games played in college football and the best TV could give us was Penn State-Ohio State as the prime time game? That one was over in the first quarter. They should’ve called me; I would’ve told them not to show it. What would’ve caused TV to believe a school whose program has been decimated by the worst crime in college football history could compete against one of the powerhouse teams in the game? So why did they show it? Because they didn’t have anything better to show. We’re heading into the final month of the college football season and I can only remember having watched a couple of games that entertained me.

Jon from Lynn, MA

Can the Patriots hear the train’s whistle?

They hear two whistles. They hear the age whistle and they hear the cap whistle. The first one is a little louder and it’s causing them to ignore the cap whistle. The Patriots are great cap managers and they have a plan for the future. It’s the plan every team wants to avoid but inevitably has to submit to it. Eventually, they’ll have to cut and gut.

Phillip from Blytheville, AR

Why not go after Gonzalez?

It’s over, Phillip. The trade deadline has come and gone. Nothing has changed. Players, not plays, and picks, not players. Don’t ask, just live according to those words.

Andrew from Madison, WI

“This is not an especially strong rookie class leaguewide, but it sure is in Green Bay.” Well, I guess that’s their fault for passing on these players when they had the chance. As long as they keep doing that, who needs to draft high?

The combine continues to be a skilled general manager’s best friend because they can pick up good players the combine kicked to the curb. David Bakhtiari wasn’t comfortable with his combine numbers. Most draftniks used his combine numbers to project him to guard. Micah Hyde fell on the weakness of combine 40 times. Eddie Lacy didn’t work out at the combine and that hurt him, even though he ran like Jim Brown in the 2012 college season. The Packers owe the combine a thank you.

Matt from Vatter, MN

Vic, this year’s team reminds me a lot of the team that won the Super Bowl in 2010, overcoming key injuries, outstanding performances from young players and a defense that seems to be getting better each game. Agree?

I see some of that, especially the injury thing, but I think this team is better overall. It certainly has a better running game. The question is this: Will this year’s team be as good as the 2010 team was at the playoff time of the season?

 

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