Don from Torrington, CT
Who was your favorite pro football player when you were a kid? Mine was No. 66, Ray Nitschke.
Mine was No. 22, Bobby Layne. I loved the no-facemask, bloody-nose look. He was a swashbuckling guy. I never saw him run a two-minute drill with the game on the line when his nose wasn’t bleeding and the right sleeve of his white game shirt wasn’t stained with blood. Cliff Christl has told me Lombardi loved Layne, which only makes sense because Lombardi loved Paul Hornung. Lombardi was “Mr. Discipline,” but he was tolerant of outside-the-lines players that had the “it factor,” and Layne and Hornung had it.
Heidi from Milwaukee, WI
I’ve been watching the NFL’s Top 100 players list come out, mostly to watch great players make great plays. I saw Charles Woodson on the list. He is one of my all-time favorite players. I loved watching him play for the Packers, and it’s neat to see him playing at a high level still. I was sad to see him leave the Packers. Would you be willing to share your favorite Charles Woodson story?
I will always remember Woodson for his exchange with President Obama at the White House in the summer of 2011. It is another one of the memories that make me rich.
Italo from Gainesville, FL
Before the goal posts were moved from the front of the end zone to the back of the end zone, where was the ball placed and how long was the kick?
Placement of the ball didn’t change; just subtract 10 yards from the field goal. If the ball was kicked from the 20-yard line, it was a 20-yard field goal. Today, it would be a 30-yard field goal. To put the new PAT rule into perspective, what once was a 9-yard or 10-yard kick, is now going to be approximately a 33-yard kick.
Dan from Woodland, WI
I found it interesting that of the top 10 schools to produce Packers, the majority were Midwestern or Big Ten schools. Is this because in the old days, before the huge scouting programs, you were more likely to draft local players?
That’s it. The NFL had a distinct regional flavor back then. A lot of Packers players, such as Johnny Blood, came from small colleges in the region. I wish we had a little more regionalism in today’s game. Imagine the pride Packers fans would have if Aaron Rodgers or Brett Favre were local products.
John from Chippewa Falls, WI
Vic, given how much you don’t like having to edit spelling in the questions people ask, I was surprised to see the word speficifically in your “News now!” article today. Or was that just a test to see who’s paying attention to detail?
You got me, John.
Jim from Fort Laramie, WY
Vic, you seem to be what I would term thick-hided. If I had your job, I would lay awake at night in frustration. Do you sleep well?
Only if a bat isn’t flying over my head in the middle of the night.
Joe from Wichita, KS
It is 2:42 p.m. and still no “Ask Vic” column. What happened?
Your computer broke.
Joe from Clio, MI
What do you think will happen concerning Tom Brady’s appeal?
It’ll result in Brady’s suspension being reduced to two games, and no one will be happy.
Dave from Franklin, WI
Are Packers fans spoiled? Seems like anything but a Super Bowl win is treated like a wasted season.
I really dislike that attitude, but I don’t think it’s the result of being spoiled, I think it’s the result of mismanaged expectations. I’ve never enjoyed a season more than I enjoyed the 2013 season. December was special; it was my Super Bowl. I think we need to limit our expectations, and just enjoy the ride. Too many fans want the season to follow a script, but most seasons don’t. Did the 2010 season follow a script? Winning the Super Bowl is about getting hot at the right time. Did the Patriots look like a Super Bowl champion when they played at Lambeau Field late last season? I thought Tom Brady looked ordinary that night. I also thought the Packers were on their way to the big game last season and, with four minutes to play in Seattle if you had asked me who would win the Super Bowl, I would’ve said the Packers would. The twists and turns in a season are the drama. Just sit back and enjoy the drama. Find the joy in something other than winning it all.
Austin from Denver, CO
Vic, once practices are open to the media, would it be possible to record one and put it up on the site? I would love to see how the Packers practice and get a look at the young guys. Is this possible or would the team not allow it?
It’s not possible, and any site that found a way to do it would be providing a scouting report for the rest of the league. Every media with whom I’ve worked has agreed to play by the team’s rules. I’ve never worked with a media that didn’t have respect for the team it covered and for the game. I was coming out of Hinkle Field on Thursday when a man and woman were passing by and saw the sign defining the media entrance. The comment was made, “They’re very important people.” It hurt. I’ve spent 44 years dedicated to providing information my readers might enjoy. I don’t understand this media hate. Do fans not want to read information about their favorite team?
John from San Diego, CA
Vic, can you outline the differences between training camp and OTAs?
Training camp has half-line drills.
Tanner from Chicago, IL
What’s a crab block?
The blocker drops to all fours and uses his hips to turn the defender. It was the signature blocking technique in the Wing-T’s post-and-turn block. The tackle would stand up the end, and the wingback would turn him with a crab block. Not today.
Carl from Londonderry, NH
Since you once covered Pirates games, are you or have you ever been a member of the BBWAA?
Back then, membership to the Baseball Writers Association of America was reserved for beat guys. It was an esteemed group. They took their position and place seriously, and they still have a high place in the game. They are official scorers and gatekeepers to the baseball hall of fame. I wasn’t a beat guy, just a fill in.
Brett from Green Bay, WI
Vic, what happened in 1996?
Fox News was born and the cable news rush was on to see who could make us the angriest.
Easton from Milwaukee, WI
Can you tell us a great story from one of your general assignments?
I was fresh out of college when I was assigned to a magazine-type story on Amtrak, which was resurrecting its passenger service. My assignment included riding the Broadway Limited from Pittsburgh to Chicago to New York and back to Pittsburgh. I had never slept in a train, so I was unfamiliar with the accommodations. The train left Pittsburgh late at night. I jumped up on the bed and took off my shoes. I saw a little door marked “shoes”, so I put my shoes in the little compartment inside the little door. The next morning, I woke up, opened the little door and my shoes were gone. I didn’t know what to do. Somebody had come into the room during the night and stolen my shoes. They were the only shoes I had. I sat in my room in disbelief as we rolled toward Chicago. I looked all over the room; no shoes. Out of desperation, I opened the little door again, and my shoes had magically reappeared, freshly polished. Man, did I feel stupid.
Matt from Sun Prairie, WI
You said the Packers have international appeal. Why do you think that is?
The Packers are the team from the little town that could. It’s a wonderful and ongoing story. We all want to be from the little town that could, but so many of us are from little towns that couldn’t. I think of the towns from when I was a kid. They were powerhouses, and now they are ghost towns, abandoned by the factories that once made those towns great. Green Bay has survived, largely thanks to the Packers.
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