Ben from Hudson, WI
I’m ready to talk about the draft. What position would GM Ketchman prioritize?
Inside linebacker would seem to be a position of interest. I’d like to see Clay Matthews returned to outside linebacker so he can do what he does best, rush the passer. He was asked to do an awful lot this year. Did it wear him down?
Don from Torrington, CT
Vic, can you write about other brutal games you’ve seen? Remember, misery loves company.
There’s a clock on my desk with the date Jan. 23, 2000 on it. It’s a souvenir from the 1999 AFC title game. That date will be fresh in my mind forever because it’s the day the expansion-franchise Jaguars died. Until that day, everything the Jaguars touched turned to gold. They were in the AFC title game in just their second year. They were in the playoffs in four of their first five seasons, and in their second AFC title game in just their fifth season, and they had the lead at halftime of that game. They were 30 minutes away from the Super Bowl. It was inexplicable that the Titans would score 23 unanswered points in the second half of that game. In some ways, the Jaguars have never recovered from that loss. Jan. 23, 2000 will forever be a haunting date. Every team has one.
Bill from Raleigh, NC
Have you heard any pros and cons about John Fox? Do you have an opinion about why Denver got rid of him?
They got tired of winning.
Trevor from Seattle, WA
And I thought getting over Micah Hyde’s missed interception was hard.
Crunch time is about making the play that decides the outcome of the game. It might be something as dramatic as an interception, or as expected as catching an onside kick.
Andy from Davenport, IA
Vic, a true Packers fan is one through thick and thin, but how does the way in which the Packers lost to the Seahawks change the way the fans look at a game? In other words, should it be a gut check to the fan that perhaps we take this game too seriously?
There’s nothing wrong with having an insatiable appetite for football, but we can’t allow it to ruin our lives. Sports are meant to complement our life, enrich our life, not devastate it. I am a passionate football fan, but I achieve perspective by reminding myself that I have no impact on what happens, therefore, I am not accountable for what happens. All I can do is watch. I think it’s important for fans to maintain an element of detachment.
Alexander from Menomonie, WI
Why is it most fans think they can call plays better than the team’s coach?
It’s because they believe their play will succeed. The coach thinks his play will work, too, and the defense is armed with a plan to stop it. Somebody has to be wrong.
Brett from Green Bay, WI
Vic, do you think New England cheated? Do you think it made that big of a difference in the game if they did?
Every time I covered a game in New England, the visiting team’s headphones went dead. It was like clockwork. In my mind, either the referee goofed or somebody doctored those balls. It doesn’t matter if it made a difference or not. What matters is the integrity of the game. The fan must know the game is clean. Deflategate challenges that belief. It’s a big problem, just as Spygate was and still is. How many of those Super Bowl wins are tainted?
Bob from Melbourne, Australia
You wanted drama and, as sports lovers we can’t get enough of it, but as you frantically wrote and re-wrote your lede, did you secretly wish for slightly less drama?
I don’t know what I wanted. When I’m writing running – that’s what we call it – I become machine-like. I become consumed by down, distance and time remaining. To keep pace, I find myself writing what I think is going to happen, and then deleting it all and writing what did happen. My fingers never stop moving. As I mentioned earlier this week, when Morgan Burnett intercepted that pass late in the game, I wrote that it was the clincher. Shortly after that, I deleted those words. Writing running is the game we play. It’s our crunch time.
Douglas from Binghamton, NY
What do you feel is the proper penalty for the deflation of the footballs?
It depends on what the investigation reveals. If it’s conclusively traced back to the coach, I would favor a lifetime suspension. The ball is the centerpiece of the game. The ball is sacrosanct.
Joe from Sherman, IL
Vic, my dad called me and said he had recovered from the game on Sunday. He also said he may not get another chance since he is 84 and has some heart issues. I told him we’ll be there next year and he’s got it in him. I believe it.
When I’m done writing my stories from a road game and there’s time left in the flight home to relax, I push back in the seat and reflect on what I had seen and what its impact is. On the way back from Seattle, I asked myself, “Will I ever get back this far?”
Matthew from Kingsford, MI
Why don’t you retire and give somebody else a chance? I thought this was a young man’s game, a game of replacement. Haven’t we put up with you long enough?
No, you must put up with more.
Andy from Kalamazoo, MI
Vic, speaking of the promise of re-birth, how about Mason Crosby? If he can almost fall out of the league, his confidence pushed to the breaking point, and come back and send an NFC championship game into OT in the final minute from 48 yards out, then there’s hope for the whole team, right?
That was Crosby’s crunch time, and he made the play.
Tom from West Bend, WI
Remember last year when Dallas had the lead against Green Bay but refused to get conservative and kept on throwing the ball? Remember how your inbox was crammed with messages applauding them for staying aggressive and playing to win, rather than not to lose? Yeah, me neither. Here’s my point: If you win, you’re a genius, no matter what tactics you employed. But if you lose …
Just win, baby.
Adam from Carbondale, IL
Vic, are the Packers faced with a decision to choose between bringing back Bulaga or Cobb, or can they afford both?
The Packers’ salary cap is healthy enough to allow the team to do anything it wants, but the Packers’ salary cap is healthy because the team refrains from doing anything it wants. The Packers are vigilant about maintaining salary cap health for the future. They make tough decisions and that’s why this team will remain a playoff contender for the long-term future. You won’t see this team have to cut and gut its roster to repair its salary cap. Whatever the Packers do, it will be the right thing to do. Their track record when it comes to these types of decisions is nearly perfect.
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