Christian from Chicago, IL
Why didn't the other small markets side with Buffalo and Cincinnati in the last CBA negotiations? Shouldn't these teams rally together?
Vic: They screwed up; it’s that simple. Ralph Wilson and Mike Brown were right. Wilson said the owners didn’t even know what they were voting on; he was right. The whole thing was rushed at deadline time; they were desperate to avoid a labor dispute. I think they were also desperate to avoid something else: the embarrassment of having a couple of teams that wouldn’t have been able to get under the salary cap had they not agreed to a new CBA and had continued to work under the old one.
Barry from Kendall, WI
As there is no longer an NFLPA, how long would it take to become a union again when and if an agreement is in place?
Vic: The union could recertify as quickly as it decertified.
Catlin from Erie, PA
I understand the players are using Judge Doty because he has sided with the players, but how in the world did a judge from Minnesota become involved in the first place?
Vic: The players’ antitrust suit, by law, could’ve been filed in any of 32 districts in the United States federal court system; in other words, in any of 32 cities in which the NFL has a franchise. The players chose the Minneapolis district because it has been bery, bery good to them.
Kris from Oshkosh, WI
Help me understand something here, Vic. The Packers are the only publicly-owned franchise in the NFL and their record books are open to the public, right? What do their records suggest? Do they show the organization is making tons of money or are they barely getting by, like some of the other teams around the league?
Vic: I have not looked at the books and I probably wouldn’t know what I was looking at anyhow, but I believe it’s widely acknowledged the books show the Packers to be a profitable franchise that neither struggles to make a profit nor swims in the green stuff, as other franchises might. In its 2010 NFL team valuations, Forbes.com ranked the Packers 14th in the league. The Cowboys were number one and the Jaguars were last. What’s most important to note is that 20 teams in Forbes.com’s ranking sustained a decrease in their valuation from the previous year. Eight teams had sustained a decrease in their valuation in the 2009 rankings.
Jimmy from Milwaukee, WI
Vic, you've been around for a long time and have undoubtedly spent time with a great deal of players and coaches. With the new sideline mic technology, fans have been able to see some of their favorite players’ quirks and tempers. Are there any particular moments or players you can recall that stick with you as funny, crazy or just downright weird?
Vic: The one I’ll never forget is from the coin toss of the 1976 season-opener I covered. I believe it was the first year the NFL provided audio of the coin toss for fans to hear. Well, you can probably figure out the rest. Unaccustomed to the change, Jack Lambert greeted one of the Raiders players with a selection of words I can’t repeat in this column, but it was heard throughout the stadium and across the country, as the game was telecast nationally. It’s the only time I’ve ever covered a game that the whole stadium burst into laughter simultaneously.
Corey from Richland, WA
Sublimination is the process of solid snow evaporating without first turning to water. It is just another winter wonder in Wisconsin. Keep up the good work, Vic. It's great to have you at packers.com.
Vic: Is that also why I can’t stop scratching?
Hugo from Beloit, WI
Will the Packers consider drafting a player from the Wisconsin Badgers if he is the best available player? Also, why haven't they drafted more Badgers?
Vic: I heard the same type of question in Jacksonville about Florida players and the same type of question in Pittsburgh about Pitt players. The answer in those places was the same as the answer here: Personnel departments don’t draft the school or the conference, they draft the player.
Jim from Edgewater, FL
In regards to Al’s question, isn't it that the losing team at some point in the game abandons its game plan and starts to throw the ball everywhere to try to catch up? What better way to defend against that than to have your offense run the ball?
Vic: Yeah, that’s it. Coaches don’t do anything without statistical evidence that it’s the right thing to do and all of the statistical evidence trends toward playing ball-control late in the game when you have the lead. Getting a lead and forcing your opponent to abandon the run and become one-dimensional has been a formula for victory for as long as I’ve been covering the league. That’s when sacks and interceptions force the trailing team into surrender. Does it always work? No. Does it usually work? Yes. Look at it this way: If Mike McCarthy had a 10-point lead and the ball and started throwing the ball all over the place, as though he was trailing in the game, and one of those passes was picked off and returned for a touchdown, wadda ya think his critics would say?
Joe from Milwaukee, WI
I got in an argument last week with a friend over which Aaron Rodgers performance was better: Atlanta or the Super Bowl. Atlanta was obviously a quarterbacking clinic, but I argued that without dropped passes he would have had similar numbers in the Super Bowl; he was facing the toughest defense in the league with an abandoned running game and, of course, the Super Bowl is the biggest stage and the stakes are at their highest. Obviously both were great, but what would you say?
Vic: I can’t imagine why you would argue over something like that, but I agree with you that if he hadn’t sustained as many dropped passes, his statistical performance would’ve been exceptional and, of course, nothing speaks louder than the Super Bowl.
Mike from Blacksburg, VA
Vic, how did the fullback position morph from a featured runner to a blocking position, and now, in the passing climate in the league, not a major part of the offense at all?
Vic: Specialization caused it. The best explanation of it is something long-time offensive coordinator Ron Erhardt told me. He had a fullback that had some running skills complain to him about not getting the ball often enough. The guy was average 3.4 yards per carry and he was being used almost exclusively as a blocker for his running mate, who was averaging 4.6 yards per carry at the time. Erhardt listened to the fullback’s complaints and then answered him this way: “I’ll tell you what I’ll do. When I wanna gain 4.6 yards, I’ll give it to him. When I wanna gain 3.4 yards, I’ll give the ball to you.” Don’t get caught up in nomenclature. Today’s featured running backs are designated “Running Back” and the blocking back is designated “Fullback.” Those are just names that stand for runner and blocker. In split backs, both players were runners, it’s just that the fullback was the designated primary ball-carrier. None of that matters. What matters and what defines the difference between then and now is that we don’t have backfield combinations now as we did then with Taylor and Hornung, Csonka and Kiick and Harris and Bleier. Specialization caused it. Nobody wants to gain 3.4 yards anymore.