Jered from Baton Rouge, LA
Vic, what is your fondest memory that you'll take with you from your golf tournament?
My fondest memory is the feeling with which I left the golf course when the day was done, because it was the exact opposite of the feeling I had when the day began. Newness breeds anxiety. We’re all afraid of the unknown. This was the first golf tournament. I was going to meet people for the first time. The great thing about first times is they challenge us. Moving here was a challenge. Working in a new place with new people and learning new rules and new ways was a challenge. You have to immerse yourself in the challenge and, as that applied to the golf tournament yesterday, I think I can say I knew everybody by their name when I left the golf course last night. That’s what was most important to me. The people that came to yesterday’s golf tournament honored me with their presence. They came to celebrate the return of football and this column’s role in their enjoyment of football, and it was important for me to bond with everyone that attended. We did, and that’s why the day was a success. Beyond that, Thornberry Creek was in wonderful condition and really made my eyes pop, and the “Ask Vic Live!” at the end of the day got our juices flowing for the start of a new season. Oh, and then there was the deer that ran out of the woods and right past me as I was sitting in my golf cart, and yesterday’s weather will no doubt rank in the top five days of 2012.
Nenad from Anaheim, CA
Being at home is an advantage for most teams, except when they play the Packers. Last year's game against San Diego is a perfect example. My friend attended that game and confirmed that at least half of the stadium happened to be Packers loyals. Did you attend that game and were you surprised by how popular the Packers were so far away from home?
I was at that game and I wasn’t surprised at all. I had expected as much because the Packers have a global fan base and San Diego has long been a place on which teams with such fan bases converge. It’s a big stadium with a fickle fan base, and that’s a formula for teams that “travel” well to eat up unsold tickets. The Chargers routinely have to deal with blackout threats. They’ve also attached games against teams such as the Packers to ticket purchases for other games, as a way of forcing those kinds of rabid fans to buy tickets for games they don’t want to see and the Chargers will have difficulty selling. The Chargers aren’t the only team that’s done that. What we saw in San Diego last season is an example of the reach of the Packers’ allure. Vince Lombardi has been dead for more than 40 years, but his spirit and its impact on the Packers and the game live on.
John from Castle Shannon, PA
What do you think Lombardi would've thought about McCarthy having his players measured for their Super Bowl rings the night before the game?
I don’t think that would’ve been something Lombardi would’ve done, but I have no doubt that belief was as important to Lombardi’s pursuit of victory as Mike McCarthy’s is. You have to believe in yourself and your teammates. One of the dogmas of law is that the truth is the pure defense. As it pertains to sports, victory is the pure defense. Remember this: Lombardi lost his first title game; McCarthy won his. Just win, baby.
Spencer from Littleton, CO
In regards to offensive linemen, you said guards were once smaller so they could pull and trap. What exactly does it mean to pull and trap?
Please, stop. You’re hurting me.
Paul from De Pere, WI
The role of the coach is to put players in the best position to make plays, then get out of the way?
One of my all-time favorite football quotes comes from Bill Walsh, who said: “At some point in the season, the coach has to turn the team over to the team.”
Jesse from Sacramento, CA
I gotta agree with you 100 percent. We don't need the stadium to be turned into a studio. As a fan who plays fantasy football, I don't think finding the stats during a game makes my team win any more or any less. I am there to experience the game atmosphere. To me there's nothing better than providing my own commentary with the crowd around me. My question is: At what point did we start to feel so entitled as fans that we need TV and stats to help us enjoy a live game and stop just wanting to be there and see our team in person?
It happened when the majority of fans grew up learning the game from having watched it on TV, as opposed to having learned it from going to the game with their father. One of the problems sold-out stadiums create is that entire generations of fans never see a game live.
Noah from Grand Rapids, MI
Hey Vic, do you think there’s a chance Colt McCoy ends up as a Packer this season?
I think it’s logical to assume that whether or not the Packers stand pat at quarterback will depend on Graham Harrell’s performance in the preseason. If he performs well, the Packers won’t need to bring in another quarterback.
Richard from Merced, CA
Vic, question about playoff games: Why do they play those most important games, especially the championship games, in miserable conditions like the “Ice Bowl” and the recent Giants-Packers game in Green Bay? Surely, it would have been better to play in a warm-weather site or dome. I would think the players would certainly benefit and play a lot better.
Had the “Ice Bowl” been played in a dome, it would’ve been just another game. My greatest concern for the future of football is that this and future generations of fans will have lost their appreciation for the game’s toughness. Its soul is rooted at the goal line in the south end zone of Lambeau Field, where Bart Starr plunged a yard and professional football made a quantum leap into the nation’s consciousness. I worry about those roots.
Chandler from Jacksonville Beach, FL
Do you see third-party ticketing agencies as part of the problem why attendance is down on other teams like the Jags, along with losing records? If they buy up tickets, then charge twice to three times the value, who can afford to go? Certainly not the ordinary fan.
I think third-party ticketing, along with the Internet, helps franchises with ticket-sales problems sell tickets to out-of-town people, which largely means fans from teams that “travel” well. It would be easy to say cost is a big issue, but I remember the 2002 Winn-Dixie giveaway and cost certainly wasn’t an issue then, was it? Passion is the issue. The fans that buy the tickets feel a burning desire to be at the game. For them, if they’re not at the stadium on Sundays in the fall, they’re in the wrong place. The challenge teams with ticket-sales problems face is finding enough of those types of fans to fill every seat in the stadium.
Jacob from New Bremen, OH
I am from Ohio and on a recent visit to Wisconsin I purchased a canvas print that is approximately six-foot long and three-foot wide of Clay Matthews doing his Predator celebration. It has successfully been hung in my living room above my fireplace. Am I crazy?
I think it would be better for you to move the poster from the fireplace to a wall in your bedroom, and then hang some family pictures or a Norman Rockwell above the fireplace.
Nathaniel from Pittsford, NY
Vic, you've said before that NFL players are motivated more by job security than a sense of team. Do you think the same thing is true of Olympic athletes? Do they really perform for love of country, or is it about personal benefit?
For all of us, it begins with love of self. As we achieve, we want to share our achievements with others. Teamwork is a wonderfully gratifying experience. It lifts our spirits that we can work with others and share a common goal, but what good is it if we’re not shouldering our share of the load? Just do your job. Team will follow.
Robert from Harvel, IL
Vic, when defenses eventually adapt and adjust to the spread passing game in the NFL, what do you think will be the adjustment offenses will make?
We’ve already experienced the answer to your question. “Air Coryell,” the 49ers’ “West Coast Offense” and the Bills’ “K-Gun,” to name a few such offenses, spread defenses out and forced them to get smaller and more mobile in the back. All of a sudden, cornerbacks went from Mel Blount size to Frank Minniefield size, which was also largely due to the rules changes of 1978, which prompted the spread craze. When defenses got too light, offenses around the league started pounding the ball again. That’s how the Giants beat the Bills in Super Bowl XXV. That began a trend toward strong running attacks, which forced defenses to find bigger, stronger corners that could support against the run, which caused defenses to bend the rules and play bump-and-run a little more. When the contact became too significant, the league introduced a major point of emphasis to enforce the 5-yard chuck rule, and then the spread craze began, again. That’s where we are now. The cycle will probably repeat.
Jon from Arlington Heights, IL
As big a Packers fan that I am, it isn't always clean and pleasant in the stands. I heard the most vulgar statement I've ever heard in that stadium (by a drunk woman). You can't protect your kid from hearing stuff at any football stadium, sadly. Maybe there should be family sections?
Maybe we just shouldn’t be so sensitive. I’m fortunate to have been born and raised in a town in which vulgar language was commonplace, which means I can go to any stadium in the country and feel right at home.
Mike from Harrison, AR
What makes Rodgers better than Jaws' strong-arm guys? Accuracy? Calmness? Ability to read defenses? Why does stronger arm not equal better quarterback?
Whoa! Let’s not start some kind of Rodgers-has-a-weak-arm myth just because Ron Jaworski created a ridiculous dead-zone ranking of strong-armed quarterbacks. Aaron Rodgers has a gun on his right shoulder. I mean, the guy makes the ball sing, and he’s got a release that’s barely detectable to the naked eye. He’s got the best arm I’ve covered since Terry Bradshaw. This isn’t some kind of Joe Montana baloney. That got way out of control. Montana was not, as fans like to think, a leprechaun with a magic wand. Montana was a phenomenal athlete who had enough arm strength to make all of the throws. Rodgers has a powerful arm, period. I don’t need to rank it. It’s strong.
Josh from Milwaukee, WI
Jerry Rice in his prime or Randy Moss in his prime?
Are you serious? You’re going to put Moss in the same category as Rice? Rice probably has the most defining postseason moments of any receiver in NFL history. The only postseason moment I can remember Moss having was erased by the Giants in their game-winning drive. The truly great players of the game, and Rice is one of the truly great players of the game, must be protected from these kinds of insulting comparisons. It’s this simple: Jerry Rice is incomparable.
Franklin from La Crosse, WI
In baseball, there are many unwritten rules that help self-govern the game. Are there any such unwritten rules in football?
There used to be one: Teams from inside the same division didn’t claim players from other teams inside the division and empty their heads right before playing each other. That was a no-no and violating that unwritten rule would get somebody hurt. I saw hard evidence of that, but those days are over.
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