Mike from Yorktown, VA

Vic, as a sports fan I’m sad today. The great Yogi Berra has passed. Do you have any memories of him you could share?

I have one big one: “Here’s a swing and a high fly ball going deep to left. This may do it! Back to the wall goes Berra, it is … over the fence, home run, the Pirates win!” I was nine years old. It was the most significant moment of my life.

Sam from Lincoln, NE

I am going to submit a question every day until I see you answer it, unless I forget. Should the Packers sign Tim Tebow?

Keep trying.

John from Verona, WI

What’s really important?

Family, friends and the moments I share with each are most important in my life. Faith and health are important. So is my judgment of myself. We each decide what’s important.

Scotty from Lombard, IL

Vic, some more two-man colleges: Stanford, John Elway and James Lofton; Pitt, Mike Ditka and Dan Marino; Penn State, Lenny Moore and Jack Ham; Illinois, Dick Butkus and Red Grange; California, Aaron Rodgers and Marshawn Lynch; Wisconsin, Alan Ameche and J.J. Watt.

I love the Ameche reference. I was seven years old and he ran right into our living room.

Hunter from Sturgeon Bay, WI

Vic, which 0-2 teams do you think have the best chances to make the playoffs? I hope Seattle makes it. I want to see them again.

The Colts are in a division that’ll allow them to peak late in the season. I expect the Seahawks to be a postseason contender, but they have to be careful not to fall too far behind the Cardinals. The Cardinals are for real and the Seahawks already have a division loss. Tony Romo’s injury could buy time for the Giants and Eagles.

James from Lake Mary, FL

Vic, you stated you would make it so defenders have to be within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. I see what your goal is in doing that, but what about the prevent defense in the final two minutes?

If the result of this rule would be the end of the prevent defense, I should be named commissioner for a day. Who wouldn’t want to see the prevent go away? Think of the frustration we’ve all experienced when a defense that didn’t allow a “yard” all day is suddenly being gashed for big chunks of yardage, and a game that was in the bag is now an onside kick away from crunch time. I hate the prevent. Who doesn’t hate the prevent? I understand the theory, but the prevent is the softest strategy in all of football, and that’s why it’s so difficult to play: Hard men don’t like to do soft things.

Dan from Milwaukee, WI

You will often compare a player to players who have come and gone. Who are some special players for whom there is no comparison?

Joe Greene and Reggie White immediately come to mind. I don’t think I’ve heard a player compared to them.

Eric from Denver, CO

Vic, are stats ruining the NFL, or at least detrimental to fans’ enjoyment of the game?

I think stats dull our appreciation for football and the real-life, human confrontation that’s at the heart of the game, but stats are driving the game’s popularity as never before. Fantasy football is the most favorable invention of the last 30 years, and the league didn’t even invent it. Fantasy football can be traced back to a reporter, a PR man and a Raiders limited partner creating a game in 1962 to kill time on a trip to New York. Stats are fun, but they don’t tell the real story of football. For that, you must look much deeper. You must look into the heart and soul of the game, where fear lives. Football is all about overcoming fear. That’s the confrontation.

Terry from Brussels, WI

I need help. After watching Packers football for over 50 years, I’m getting to the point I’m afraid to lose and probably not enjoying the entertainment in front of me. Do you know of any good treatment centers, or are you it?

Overcome your fear. When you do, you will enjoy the game again.

Jeff from Dauphin, Manitoba

A friend of mine recently had a stroke at the young age of 44. I received the following text on Monday: “Mac, I was able to read my whole ‘Ask Vic’ today. I read it out loud. Took me almost an hour, but I got the whole thing done. I have loved reading Vic for three years and I’m sure glad to have it back.” Just thought you would like to know the impact you have. Keep up the great work.

I have often referred to something I like to call the “fraternity of football.” We belong to it. So do Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy. In other words, we’re all linked by this great game. We share our love for it. That’s what your friend is feeling. He’s feeling a sense of fraternity, and I feel it, too. I love the friendships I’ve made in this game. They mean far more to me than winning and losing. I want this column to be a fraternity of football. It’s my goal in writing it.

Brady from Los Angeles, CA

Vic, what team do you predict to be the biggest challenge for the Packers this season?

In the division, I expect it to be the Vikings. I made that prediction months ago. The Chiefs are going to be a big challenge next Monday. They’re coming in here with a star running back and an underrated defense. John Dorsey has assembled an impressive roster.

Phil from Plymouth, MN

Vic, I was listening to a former GM on the radio. He said good teams only get a couple of years shot at the big one, and then they have to start over with cheaper, young players. It seems like we always have a shot. Your thoughts?

He’s right. That’s the natural cycle of build and rebuild. The Patriots have long avoided the natural cycle of build and rebuild. The Packers are on a six-year playoff run and I think they’re going to have a long run of avoiding the natural cycle of build and rebuild. What do the Patriots and Packers have in common? All things are possible when you have “The Man.”

Marshall from De Pere, WI

You say football has become a year-round sport with all of the underwear leagues, combine, draft publicity, etc. When it wasn’t such a big-time thing, what did you do to stay involved in football? Make up power rankings?

We didn’t stay involved in football. The draft was in the winter right after the Super Bowl. We covered the draft and then we said goodbye to football until training camp. There was no combine, no mini-camps or OTAs. Players went home and I went back to covering basketball and baseball. The changes in the game I’ve seen are mind-boggling. I don’t think I could write a story on a typewriter anymore.

Rick from Appleton, WI

Vic, the Packers appear to be off to the fast start Coach McCarthy wanted. What’s the greatest danger this team faces between now and January?

I see no danger. Why would I look for danger? Why look for reasons to feel fear? How will that help me enjoy the game? You’re inviting fear. Don’t do that. Fear is paralyzing.

Tyler from Neenah, WI

Joe Namath and Don Hutson. Come on, Vic! Hutson is arguably the most dominant player to ever play the game. I’m sure I’m not the only one to bring this up. You’re still the man, though.

That’s the idea of the game. You pick a college, and then your friend names two NFL stars from that college, and then you name two from that college, and so on and so forth until one of you can’t name two players. It’s like musical chairs; the guy that gets caught without two players when the music stops loses and has to buy the next round. Lee Roy Jordan and Julio Jones. Your turn.

 

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