Griffin from West Bend, WI
I know the run will never dominate again, but do you ever think in the future, when every team is going to spread it out with four-wide and no-huddle that there will be a team like the 2010 Wisconsin Badgers? I mean, two tight ends on nearly every play and big running backs and just power running.
The Wisconsin Badgers are a treasure. I love to watch them play. If you enjoy that type of football, as I do, then watch all of it you can because it’s going bye-bye. That kind of football is going the way of the “Single Wing,” and I think you’ll see Wisconsin move away from it, too. It’s just too difficult an offensive style of play to sustain when you’re the only one playing it. Where are you going to find the players for it? Drive-blocking is becoming a lost art. The days of low pads and high knees are over; the best backs coming out of high school these days are space players. Hey, when Michigan hired Rich Rodriguez, that’s when I knew the days of power football were going away. Alabama gave lovers of power football a going-away gift with its national championship two years ago, but there’s no denying the trend toward the spread. Look at the new coaches: Al Golden brings the spread to Miami, no-huddle expert Todd Graham replaces power-minded Dave Wannstedt at Pitt, spread-crazy Dana Holgorsen is the new guy at West Virginia. I’m going to be interested to see what Brady Hoke does at Michigan. Wadda ya think Urban Meyer’s value will be on the open market? I hope I’m wrong. I hope power football makes a comeback, but I just don’t see it happening.
Steve from Ithaca, NY
My reaction to Kamen's comment on Marino's postseason W/L record based on interceptions is that it likely supports the notion that Marino was a good quarterback on a mediocre team that required (near) perfection to succeed. For the record, Joe Montana was 4-1 in the playoffs when he threw two or more interceptions.
You make a good point. Montana played on a better team; he certainly had a better defense to mitigate the effects of his mistakes. Dan Marino had to play near-perfect football for the Dolphins to win. He was forced to shoulder more than what should have been his share of the burden. I acknowledge that, but it bothers me that his postseason stats represent such a dramatic decline from his regular-season stats. I don’t like that at all. That’s not the case with Montana. In the postseason, he dialed it up a notch. So did Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw and so had Tom Brady until recently. That’s what I like. I like guys whose postseason stats represent the best season of their lives.
Ric from Syracuse, NY
You said you would not admire Rodgers less had the Steelers scored on the last drive. You might have been in the minority. Aaron has been getting well-deserved credit for a fantastic year, but he did not get the job done on the Pack's final drive. That final red-zone field goal left the door open for the Steelers. Had Roethlisberger gotten it done, Rodgers would have shouldered the blame.
That’s ridiculous. He flipped the field with that drive. He took field goal out of the equation. If he doesn’t convert that third-and-10 play, the Steelers might’ve won the game. I’m a get-it-done guy, too, but you’ve taken it to a ridiculous level of expectation.
Mitch from Milwaukee, WI
Who is the best No. 87 in Packers history?
The candidates are Bob Mann, Willie Davis, Robert Brooks and Jordy Nelson. Mann is an important person in Packers history because in 1950 he became the first African-American to play for the Packers. Mann is a rather prominent figure in NFL history and I encourage readers to read on Mann’s career. Brooks was an outstanding receiver for the Packers during the Mike Holmgren years. Nelson had a big game in Super Bowl XLV and the arrow of his career is pointing decidedly upward. Davis is, without a doubt, the best No. 87 in Packers history.
Jim from Medford, NJ
If you could go back and watch any decade of football live, which would you choose and why?
I liked the game of the 1970s. It was the physical brand of football I enjoy. The players had yet to reach the jumbo sizes we see in today’s game that has caused the league to dial back the physical element of the game, so no holds were barred in the ’70s game. It was the end of that era in football history and it’s a good thing it ended, but I confess to having enjoyed it. I had a feeling back then, especially for a postseason game, that I was about to cover something momentous. It wasn’t just about the score. Those games had a kind of king-of-the-hill quality to them. There was a distinct element of shame that gripped a team when it lost the battle of the hitting.
Neil from Cheddar, UK
An interesting article on Clements, particularly talking about why his game was not suited to the NFL during his playing time. What other positions have changed where we may have had a completely different set of stars and, even better, can you come up with some names?
The two obvious positions are middle linebacker and cornerback. Middle linebacker was the star position on defense. You had to have a great middle linebacker to have a great defense. Look at the names from the 1950s, '60s and ’70s: Ray Nitschke, Dick Butkus, Chuck Bednarik, Joe Schmidt, Tommy Nobis, Willie Lanier, Jack Lambert, just to name a few. Nowadays, the middle linebacker comes off the field on passing downs, replaced by a nickel back. How many players that would’ve been stars as middle linebackers in the ’60s and ’70s have been reduced to one-down or two-down players in today’s game? How many players that might’ve been great middle linebackers are playing outside linebacker because they’re too good to take off the field on passing downs? Do you think James Harrison would’ve been a good middle linebacker? It’s a shame the position has almost become an afterthought. The cornerback position changed dramatically in 1978 when the league outlawed bump-and-run coverage. All of a sudden, big corners had to find another position. Guys that could support against the run and outmuscle wide receivers generally lacked the speed and quickness to “mirror” receivers in the chuck-rule game. Small corners, such as Hanford Dixon and Frank Minnifield became the rule, not the exception. Deion Sanders is a good example. His talents were not suited for the pre-1978 game because he wasn’t a run-support guy, but he was perfect for the chuck-rule game because corners were absolved of run-support and told to turn and run.
Craig from Wink, TX
Vic, long-time Packers fan. I started when Vince Lombardi was coaching and have been hooked ever since. Can you tell me if Mike McCarthy and Coach Lombardi have the same type of personality when it comes to coaching? It seems like they're both no-nonsense type of people. If not, what is the difference between them?
I only know what I’ve read about Coach Lombardi. Yes, Coach McCarthy is a highly disciplined person, but I don’t see him in the Lombardi mold because I don’t expect Coach McCarthy to make the “Packers sweep” the staple of his offense any time soon. There’s one coach I’ve covered to whom Coach McCarthy bears resemblance: Tom Coughlin. I see so much of Coughlin in Coach McCarthy. They’re both offensive-minded guys who love to do things by formation. They’re both pass-minded guys. They’re both high-tempo practice guys. They’re both follow-the-schedule guys. I see similarities in their personalities, too, though Coach McCarthy is more easy-going off the field and far less volatile on the sideline. Here’s another similarity: They both hired Dom Capers to be their defensive coordinator. That’s a very good similarity to have.
Marv from Houston, TX
Does the current plan by the NFL for revenue-sharing between players and the NFL include the income from the box seats? Does it include revenue from the Pro Shop?
If you don’t mind, allow me to reshape your question: Did the players share in premium-seat and merchandise revenue in the previous CBA? The answer is yes. In 2006, the NFL agreed to a TFR (Total Football Revenue) model for sharing revenue with the players. In the CBA of 2006, the players got 60 percent of the gross of all football revenue. Previous CBAs provided for a DGR (Defined Gross Revenue) model, which meant that certain revenues were exempt from being shared. For example, revenue from premium-seat licenses was not shared with the players. Here’s the best example I can provide of the difference between DGR and TFR: In my previous job, we had a little golf tournament every summer at the start of the preseason. It was a big hit; a chance to get together, celebrate the start of another season and talk some football. In the DGR days, the golfers paid us and then we paid the golf course. In the TFR days, however, we had to have the golfers pay the course directly because if we touched that money, the players would get 60 percent of it off the top, leaving us with 40 percent to pay 100 percent of the costs. If we had done that, the golf tournament would’ve quickly gone out of business.