Josh from Edmonton, Canada

Vic, I agree the definition of a catch needs to be simplified and the judgment given back to the officials, but will that solve the inconsistency problem from one official (or one play) to the next? Will we know what a catch is before they come out from under the hood?

One official makes the call, the referee confirms or reverses the call. That’s two esteemed opinions on one play, in cases when replay review is used, and I would expect it to be used in most big-play situations. That’s good enough for me. I don’t seek FULL CONSISTENCY. If it’s good enough for the officiating team, it’s good enough for me. What I don’t want is a week of mind-numbing review by the league office. It’s a catch because the officials said it’s a catch. In my opinion, we need to get back to that kind of mentality. That’s the solution.

Martin from Las Vegas, NV

Vic, the first Super Bowl I watched was between the Saints and Colts. I predicted the Saints would win. Since then, I have predicted the winner of each Super Bowl correctly. This year, I have the Broncos beating the Panthers. Do you believe my streak will end on this one?

I favor the Panthers.

Paul from Farnborough, UK

Vic, I just watched the extended highlights of the first Super Bowl between the Packers and the Chiefs. What struck me (apart from the Chiefs having their names on their jerseys and the Packers not), was the amount of empty seats in the stadium. Why was that?

It’s because the game wasn’t as important as it is today. Back then, football was the college game and baseball was the national pastime. The 1958 NFL title game began pro football’s rise to popularity, and the birth of the AFL, the drama of the “Ice Bowl” and the Jets’ win in Super Bowl III continued that rise, but it wasn’t until the playoff weekend of Dec. 23-24, 1972, that pro football became the heartbeat of American sports. That’s when pro football arrived, so to speak, as evidenced by the 1973 Act of Congress. In Don Weiss’ book “The Making of the Super Bowl,” he writes of sitting next to Pete Rozelle on the flight back to New York after Super Bowl I. Rozelle was sullen, greatly disappointed by the empty seats at the game. In a lot of ways, Super Bowl I was a loss for the NFL. NBC won the TV ratings battle with CBS, which meant more fans wanted to see the AFL. Weiss tells of Rozelle, during a somber moment, saying to Weiss that this must never happen again. It didn’t.

Jim from Perth, Australia

Vic, I am originally from Wisconsin and have remained a loyal Packers fan all my life. I really enjoy the passion and humor from your posts. My uncle is Bill Guilfoile, who served as PR Director for the Pirates in the 1970’s, and I have great memories of him and Three Rivers Stadium. Did you know him and, if so, do you have any stories to share about him?

Your uncle is a true Wisconsinite. He was never, ever anything but kind to me. He welcomed me into the Pirates press box when I was a kid coming out of college, and he welcomed me and my sons to the Baseball Hall of Fame when he worked there. I owe so much to your uncle and the other PR guy in town, whose mantra was any ink is good ink, just spell the name right. I always spelled the name right.

Dave from Germantown, TN

Vic, if you were the GM of the Houston Texans, who lack “The Man,” would you be interested in Robert Griffith III, Johnny Manziel or Colin Kaepernick, all of whom seem likely to be cut by their current teams?

Coach Noll said you don’t build from the waiver wire.

George from Mineral Point, WI

Vic, I really dislike Cam Newton. I don’t like his personality and mannerisms. Do I need help?

Too often, we expect others to be like us. Muhammad Ali wasn’t like us and he’s one of the most influential sports personalities in history. An open mind isn’t a gift, it’s an acquired condition, and tolerance is its constant companion. With an open mind, we learn.

Dan from Houston, TX

What’s more likely, the NFL adjusting its offenses to the spread quarterbacks, or returning to the 3-5 year development plan?

I think we’re going to see a continued trend toward “New Age” quarterbacks.

Paul from Beaver Dam, WI

Vic, except for a handful of games this year, the Panthers have had an early lead and then coast the rest of the way while their opponent would play catch up, but it would never be enough. The Packers, Giants and Seahawks games come to mind. My point is I think if the Panthers would keep their foot on the gas those teams wouldn’t have had a chance to come back. The Denver defense is good but the Panthers aren’t going to let up in this game. Peyton Manning and the Broncos are going to suffer another Super Bowl blow out. What do you think?

I think 15-1 and playing in the Super Bowl is validation of whatever style of play a team chose to get there.

Gary from Davenport, IA

Vic, in a few days, every Hall of Fame finalist will have his case presented by one of the selection committee members. What, if anything, would need to be said by the person making a case for Brett Favre’s enshrinement?

I would say, “Before I waste our time on something unnecessary, are we all in agreement Favre is in?” That should do it.

Brenda from Sioux Center, IA

I have a cynical statement I would like to know your response to. My hypothesis to the youth football participation issue is if the middle class continues to get squeezed, participation in youth football won’t decline. Follow the money.

A few years ago, I read a story on statements top-ranking football people made 20 years ago on how they thought the game would look 20 years later. Some of the comments were pure prophecy. The one that stuck with me was made by Marv Levy. He said the game would be played almost exclusively by the lower classes. That bothered me.

Mike from Northville, MI

Instead of a Pro Bowl, have a consolation game between the losers of the NFC and AFC title games.

It was called the “Playoff Bowl” or “Runners up Bowl.” It was in the early 1960’s and it didn’t work then and it wouldn’t work today.

Richard from Clearwater, MN

Vic, after a trying season as the Packers offense had, and the angst it caused Packer nation, I hope you are enjoying the variety of questions being asked as much as I am. The play-calling and scheme stuff was borderline suffocating.

Don’t forget the “our receivers are too slow” whine. It was a memorable season, but it wasn’t always enjoyable.

Daniel from København, Denmark

Do you think it’s the improved athleticism in the players selected and especially the emphasis on speed that have made defense able to overcome rules changes favoring the offense?

Yes. So, now you got an x through one of only three vowels in your hometown’s name? What is it with you people? What do you have against vowels?

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

The real Wisconsin winter must have been winsome enough to let you find sunshine before it commenced.

It was nearly 70 and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky here yesterday. Friends back in Green Bay told me of the great storm. My gas tank, no doubt, would’ve been empty. I am soft. I am too weak, too frail, too cowardly to live in Green Bay in the winter. The truth is the pure defense.

Andy from Marshfield, MA

Coach says we need a big WR who can work the middle of the field. Can you provide a couple of names in the draft that fit this prescription?

Tyler Boyd is 6-2, 190. He’s fearless anywhere on the field and makes big play after big play. He plays with Larry Fitzgerald-like grace and might be available to the Packers in the second round. De’Runnya Wilson is 6-5, 215. He’s a big possession receiver who should be available in the second round, maybe even later.

 

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