Sue from Mocanaqua, PA
You asked, “When's the last time the best team didn't win the Super Bowl?” You don't believe in upsets, Vic? The Patriots were undefeated when they played the Giants in the Super Bowl. I think everyone and anyone would agree that they upset the Patriots.
Call it whatever you wish, but the fact of the matter is they beat the Patriots head up on the biggest stage in all of sports. When that happens, the team that won is deserving of the title they claimed. The Packers didn’t win the NFC North last season, which would suggest they weren’t even the “best team” in their division, but they beat the Bears in the final two meetings between the two teams, the second one in Chicago, and I think that ended any doubt as to who the best team in the NFC North and the whole NFC was. When I think of the best team not winning, I’m thinking of situations in which, for example, a team that faced a brutally difficult schedule got worn down by that schedule and didn’t make it deep into the playoffs, while another team that played a cupcake schedule breezed into the playoffs and rode homefield advantage. Yes, there are teams that have had easy roads to the Super Bowl. The 2009 Colts certainly qualify, and they did something late in that season to pave that road to the Super Bowl. Head to head, however, settles the issue, as far as I’m concerned.
Jacob from Eagle Rock, VA
I have read that you don't like the idea of players coaching players. Don't you think it would be helpful for veteran players to take rookies under their wing during the lockout and teach them some of the plays or show them how things are done in Green Bay? I don't see how that would be a bad thing. In my opinion, it shows leadership.
A lot of fans share your opinion. They like the idea of the guys paling around and talkin’ football and all that stuff. It gives those fans the warm and fuzzy feeling they like. I don’t like warm and fuzzy. I’m with Tom Coughlin on this one. Football is an edge sport. I prefer players to view each other as competition. A little bit of insecurity is a good thing. That’s what makes your team better. The coaches will do the coaching.
Bob from Colby, KS
Has any first-round choice ever been cut the first year? Thanks for your columns. They make the offseason bearable.
I covered a first-round pick that was cut in his second training camp and a second-round pick that was cut in his rookie training camp, and I can remember the 49ers cutting, I believe, a third-round pick before they signed him because they were out of cap room, but I can’t recall a first-round pick being cut in his rookie year. In the pre-merger years, it probably happened a few times, but I can’t remember it having happened in the modern era. Maybe one of our readers can enlighten us.
David from Wausau, WI
Do you think the Packers would be where they are now if they had not hired Mike Holmgren and Ron Wolf?
Wolf hired Ted Thompson and Thompson hired Mike McCarthy. When you talk to the men in the Packers’ personnel department, it’s easy to detect that there’s a lot of reverence for Wolf and his philosophies and influences on how the Packers operate are deeply rooted within the organization. No, the Packers would not be where they are today if they had not hired Ron Wolf. He started this wonderful era of Packers football that has seen a revitalization of the team’s performance on the field and the renovation of Lambeau Field, for which former team president Bob Harlan was the “architect.”
Kyle from Green Bay, WI
First off, I really enjoy your “Ask Vic” segments on packers.com and especially get a kick out of your candid responses. My question is about the personal seat license that Packers ticket-holders have to pay. What happens with that money?
The Packers don’t refer to it as a personal seat license; they refer to it as a “user fee.” The differences between the two are slight but the intent is the same: They fund stadium upgrades and renovations, such as the one the Packers are preparing to begin on Lambeau Field, the plans for which are to fund the renovation with private money only. That’s what user fees and personal seat licenses help accomplish.
Luke from London, England
If a rookie halfback plays his first game, gets 15 carries and fumbles twice, it doesn't necessarily mean he's fumble-prone. If a 14-year veteran back has been fumbling at twice the rate of the average running back throughout his career, then you can say he's fumble-prone. How do coaches distinguish between bad luck and actually being fumble-prone?
Luke, in today’s game, one fumble and you’re a fumbler. That’s how intolerant today’s coaches are to fumbling. The Packers didn’t lose a fumble by a running back all of last season. That’s an amazing factoid. I don’t think I’ve ever covered a team that didn’t have a running back lose at least one fumble. I sense there’s a lot of Tom Coughlin in Mike McCarthy. They are both passing-game connoisseurs that have zero tolerance for fumbling. If a coach has any doubt about a back’s ability to protect the ball, or a return man’s ability for catching punts, that guy’s not gonna play. It’s just that simple.
Tony from San Jose, CA
What happens when another team signs a player from your practice squad? Do you receive any compensation?
You receive no compensation because all practice-squad players are free agents free to sign with any team in the league at any time, including the team that has that player on its practice squad. To sign a player off a practice squad, however, that player must go to the signing team’s active roster.
Jake from Aurora, IL
I know you’re pretty old-school when it comes to football, but what do you think about using technology to help with some officiating? For instance, something in the ball that indicates when it crosses the plane or like the tech they use in tennis to determine if the ball hit out of bounds? Sometimes a whole game could hinge on a bad spot. What is your opinion? Do you think it will ever happen?
I hope not.
Howard from Homestead, FL
In the old days, you had to be really special to be a younger player and make an NFL roster. These days, you have to be really special to be a seasoned veteran and make an NFL roster. Did I get that about right?
Those must be some real old days because in all of the time I’ve covered the NFL, it’s been a young man’s game. Even back in the 1970s, when George Allen took his “Over the Hill Gang” to the Super Bowl, trading draft picks for veteran players was against the grain and the result was predictable: The Redskins never got “home” and eventually the team had to be rebuilt.
Thomas from Cambridge, MA
Even you stated that the 2009 Vikings were “clearly the better team” following their NFC title game loss to the Saints. Some would also argue that the 2001 Patriots were not the best team that year.
The term “best team” means different things to different people. When I wrote that the Vikings were the best team, I was implying that the Vikings were the more talented team. The bottom line is they faced the Saints in a head-to-head matchup with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line and the Saints won. Again, in my opinion, a head-to-head win legitimizes the title it claims. Nothing beats head to head; just look at the NFL tiebreakers. I don’t need scientific proof that one team is better than the other. Just win, baby. That’ll work.
Travis from Walhalla, ND
Do coaches get enough insight into players in the preseason to decide who's No. 1 or 2 for the running back position, or are they gonna just plug them in whenever?
Coaches don’t think in terms of one or two as much as they think in terms of utilizing every player on their roster. Fans are crazy about depth charts but coaches think in terms of roles, not places on a depth chart. Do you have a player for every role demanded by your playbook? If you don’t, then you have to start tearing out pages in that playbook and no coach likes to do that.
John from Janesville, WI
What does the current lockout do with the status of the Packers’ Super Bowl rings? I know the organization really wanted player input on them.
I did a story last week in which I quoted Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy as having said the team got input from the players on the design of the ring before the lockout began. To see that Super Bowl ring story, click here.