John from Las Vegas, NV
If the Packers believe in BAP, have you ever asked why they didn't draft Michael Crabtree?
Vic: The answer’s obvious, isn’t it? That’s one of the great things about BAP. According to whom they pick, a BAP team is giving you a significant piece of its board.
Jeff from Fayetteville, NC
What is your opinion of end-zone celebrations?
Vic: I’m old-school and I could do without them, but I know the fans like the dancing so I just turn the other way and let the fans enjoy it. Where I draw the line is when the TEAM sustains a penalty because ONE PLAYER needed to call attention to himself. If I was a head coach, I would draw a celebration circle along my sideline and players would be required to restrict their celebrations to within that circle. I would demand that immediately upon scoring a touchdown you were to report to the celebration circle, where you could dance until your pants fall down. I might even work it into the practice schedule. The TV networks could just train their cameras on that spot and get all of the Ochocinco-type celebrations they want without the danger of the team sustaining a penalty.
Hans from Tucson, AZ
How do you feel about expanding the playoffs instead of the regular season? I've heard the argument that too many teams in the playoffs will make the games less meaningful. Although, when it’s a one-and-done tournament like the NFL or “March Madness,” more teams just seem to add drama. Let's face it, most fantasy football leagues don't even count week 17 because 90 percent of the games are meaningless. What do you think, Vic?
Vic: How many teams do you want to put into the playoffs? We already had one 7-9 team in the postseason. You’re talking about a lot of revenue from the loss of 32 regular-season games that you’re going to have to make up for in the postseason. You’re thinking in terms of the game you wanna watch, instead of all of the games and the revenue that would be lost by shortening the preseason to two games and not expanding the regular season. Think in terms of money, not entertainment. Revenue drives this league; it always has, it always will.
James from Denver, CO
What do you think would have happened if with the first pick of the 2005 draft the 49ers had called Aaron's name and not Alex's? Would Aaron still be a top-tier quarterback? Or would he have the same fate as Alex Smith?
Vic: The 49ers might be the reigning Super Bowl champions. That’s how important the quarterback position is and how delicate the draft is as it pertains to the fate of the teams that participate in it. What if the team ahead of the Patriots in the supplemental phase of the sixth round of the 2000 draft had selected Tom Brady? What if the Colts had picked Ryan Leaf instead of Peyton Manning? You can ask these types of questions all day.
Joe from Hall, NJ
Out of all the players on injured reserve for the Packers this season, which one do you think will make the biggest impact next year?
Vic: I think it was obvious that Jermichael Finley was on his way to stardom. Now we wait to see if he can make a complete comeback. I’m looking forward to seeing the two draft picks, Mike Neal and Morgan Burnett. Getting those guys back from IR is the equivalent of having extra second- and third-round picks this year.
Julian from Memphis, TN
Eleven months ago I felt we had a steal in James Starks. It took him awhile to prove me right. Do you see a struggle between Grant and Starks in the next season?
Vic: I would hope so.
Matt from Iron Mountain, MI
Wearing full pads makes you feel invulnerable. Do you have any thoughts on scaling back protective equipment?
Vic: Just the helmet; that’s all. I’d like to see football return to the day of form tackling and get away from the missile shots. I wanna see a return to the days of driving the shoulder through the thighs and wrapping the arms around the man with the ball. In my opinion, today’s bad tackling is the result of a mania for stripping the football and coaches’ obsession for players staying on their feet in practice. I understand why coaches want their players to stay off the ground in practice, but how do you practice tackling without going to the ground? By reducing the size of the facemask and the helmet itself, I think players would be forced to go lower with their tackles and rely more on form than impact. Hey, you can’t protect everything. At one point, the NFL went out of its way to protect the knee and that brought the head further into harm’s way. I’m onboard with the emphasis on protecting the head.
Todd from Fitchburg, WI
Who is your all-time favorite player in the NFL? Not just on the field but off the field, as well.
Vic: It’s Joe Greene. He’s one of the best football players I’ve ever seen, he was one of the stars of the game when I began my sportswriting career and he welcomed me into his training camp dormitory room day after day to talk football and help me understand the business, not just the game, I was covering. My memories of those days are so distinct that sometimes I think I’m still in them. One day, after Joe had become a coach, I was in his room talking to him and he was in his usual position, lying on his back on his bed, and he blurted out, “14.” I said, “Fourteen what, Joe?” He said, “Fourteen ceiling tiles. It’s the same number of ceiling tiles in this room that there were in the room I stayed in when I was a player.”
Bruno from Paris, France
Snoop was here a few days ago and he told me he is happy with your new work.
Vic: Yeah, he called.
Nathan from Shakopee, MN
Assuming the Packers keep both James Jones and Jordy Nelson, which receiver do you think will be the number two guy behind Greg Jennings, once Donald Driver is done?
Vic: Competition will decide that, as it should. I’m not big on ones, twos and threes. In my world, all distinctions should be open to renewal at all times, including editor/producer.
David from Sammamish, WA
Eli Manning over Josh Freeman? Yeah, sure, Manning has a ring. I suppose that's why Brady is number three, right?
Vic: Rings are big in my world. Brady should be number two and Peyton Manning should be number three. That was a gross error on my part.
Jamie from Watertown, SD
It seems like when other teams sign/extend contracts of players and coaches, the terms and money are released right away. How come with the Packers it doesn't seem like it is released right away, if at all?
Vic: I don’t know of a team – I certainly haven’t covered one – that releases contractual information. What you’re talking about has to come from the outside.
John from St. Augustine, FL
A long time ago you hinted that Urban Meyer would stay in the broadcasting booth until the job he really wanted became available: Ohio State. I thought you were nuts; Jim Tressel wasn't ever going to leave. Now there are news reports that Tressel might be fired. How did you know?
John from Duluth, MN
I love my wife and I love my kids, but following Tramon Williams' pass breakup to end the Super Bowl, I nearly hyperventilated and realized it was the happiest moment of my life. Am I a bad person?
Vic: Not as long as they didn’t notice. If she asks you about it, tell her you were thinking of the day you met, or that you had a little gas, whichever you think you can sell.
Cole from Jacksonville, FL
I heard the Jacksonville firing had something to do with black-market coffee mugs that were made of low-quality material and frequently self-destructed when put in a dishwasher. Is this true?
Vic: There were a couple of lawsuits and management felt it would be a good idea for me to move on.
Caleb from Baker, NV
Do you think the Packers will repeat as Super Bowl champs? Or do you think it’s too early to tell?
Vic: It’s probably a little too early to tell. Give me at least until May.
Paul from Charlottesville, VA
Response to the helmet safety question: I believe Don Beebe, WR for the Bills and Packers, had extra-padded or gel-filled pockets inside his helmet.
Vic: I think Larry Csonka wore a special helmet, too.
Don from Fond du Lac, WI
All the first-round tackles, linebackers and wide receivers are gone. Do you take Mikel Lashoure?
Vic: Is he at the top of the board?
Chad from San Francisco, CA
If they are truly drafting the best available player based on those evaluations, then whoever they choose is not a reach. Your thoughts?
Vic: That’s correct. One of the charms of that kind of disciplined drafting is that, if it fails, you know where the blame lies: in the evaluating. When you pick according to need, who or what do you blame? BAP drafting promotes accountability.
Bob from Providence, RI
I really enjoy reading your columns and perspective. You've covered the “Steel Curtain” and seen some great defenses and last year's Super Bowl championship for the Packers included critical, last-minute defensive stops in the last regular-season game vs. Chicago and in every postseason game except the blowout vs. the Falcons. In prior years, our defense wasn't able to consistently protect leads late in games. Do you think the defensive unit as a whole has the potential to rise up to the level of greatness, such as the ’70s “Steel Curtain?”
Vic: Easy, now. I don’t wanna have to give you a speeding ticket. Do you fully understand the greatness of that “Steel Curtain” defense? Four of its members are in the Hall of Fame and another two have narrowly missed election. In a Pro-Bowl game during that era there were eight Steelers in the defensive huddle, Jack Lambert started calling Steelers defensive plays in the huddle and told the other three guys to stay out of the way. Over the last nine games of the 1976 season, with their backs to the wall and needing to win-out to make it into the postseason, that defense surrendered a total of 28 points; in five of those games they shut out the opposition. Don’t let time yellow the pages of history. What that defense achieved in the ’70s and what the Packers achieved in the ’60s is of such magnitude that comparison to either should be very, very guarded.