Paul from De Pere, WI
Vic, is it really ridiculous that the Packers only have five coaches with winning records? Which NFL franchise has the best collection of winning head coaches?
What I meant is that it’s ridiculous to have a top 10 when half of the coaches on the list have losing records. It’s not ridiculous that a franchise would only have five winning coaches. Winning coaches stay longer and eat up more of the franchise’s history, as Curly Lambeau did with the Packers, George Halas did with the Bears and Chuck Noll did with the Steelers. The Bears only have six head coaches with winning records. The Steelers only have five. The Giants are the exception. They have 11 head coaches with winning records.
Corey from Green Bay, WI
Vic, I’ve done some research online and the majority of people believe Rodgers will end his career with at least one more ring. Do you believe that with the addition of Datone Jones, the return of Johnny Jolly and the addition Eddie Lacy that this team is being overlooked this season due to the recent success of the Seahawks and 49ers?
I don’t think the Packers are being overlooked. I think most of the football world expects the Packers to be a title contender this season. I think Packers fans are a little paranoid about the 49ers. Those two losses last season cut deep. They were dominant performances by the 49ers, here and there, early and late. You don’t easily brush that kind of thing off. It sticks with you and I think what you’re asking me to do is make you feel better, and I can do that because I think this team is loaded with talent and its fans should have every reason to be optimistic about this season. Only one thing can erase the paranoia, however, and that’s a strong performance on Sept. 8.
Jaye from Virginia Beach, VA
I just heard that the Jaguars might play the Red Zone channel in the stadium during games. What do you think about this? I think people will watch it more than the game they actually paid to be at.
I think teams are trying to improve the gameday experience. They’re concerned about the experience at home being so good that fans won’t want to attend the games. I think that’s especially a concern in places that don’t have the history of attendance the Packers have. If you don’t have a hot ticket, you have to do whatever it takes to create one.
John from Rochester, MN
Vic, in your mind, is it better to have a cornerback that can cover stride for stride, or a step back to step in front and intercept the pass?
You’re describing two coverage techniques: mirror and trail. Darrelle Revis is the best mirror technique cornerback I’ve ever seen; Deion Sanders played the best trail technique I’ve ever seen. I prefer mirror technique because trail technique is dangerous. It produces more interceptions on underthrows, but the idea of playing underneath the receiver and closing on the ball when it’s in the air is a little frightening. That’s a formula for big plays, unless the guy playing it is Sanders.
Mark from Hadley, MI
Vic, the NFL is a brand, and a very successful one. Roger Goodell has done a lot to protect and advance the brand of the NFL, but he also pushes for a team overseas. If there were a team in London, for example, the name National Football League would no longer be inclusive of all of the teams. The NFL would never sacrifice the brand to change its name to the International Football League, right? Would anybody have a problem with calling it a national league despite the international competition?
The Southeast Conference has a team in Texas. The Atlantic Coast Conference has a team in Indiana. It’s the way of the world nowadays. We’re crossing boundaries, but brands are too important to abandon. The Big Ten has 14 teams. Don’t worry about the logistics of having a team in London. That’ll all be worked out by the league. It’s going to happen and I’m one of the few who believe it’ll work. Why do I think it’ll work? Because the NFL will make it work. The NFL failed in its first attempt in Dallas. The second time it expanded in Dallas, it made it work, even though Dallas was the hub of the Southwest Conference and college football was king in Texas. People laughed at the notion of professional football in Texas. Well, the Cowboys are now one of the top brands in all of professional sports, and the Southwest Conference is gone.
Dan from Milwaukee, WI
With the parity that has been achieved across the NFL, could you imagine anything more impressive than a team going 19-0?
It’s never going to happen. The 2007 Patriots were as close as any team will ever come again to an undefeated season. That’s my opinion and I’ll go on record as expressing it. I think we’re headed toward either an 18-game season or an expanded postseason, or both, and more games mean greater difficulty at going undefeated. The Patriots came within one defensive stand of immortality. Had they stopped the Giants one more time, I believe history would’ve recorded the 2007 Patriots as being the greatest team of all time.
Jeremy from Circle Pines, MN
Who do you think is the greatest deep ball quarterback of all time? A few that come to my mind are Marino, Elway and Favre. Or is it someone before my time?
Daryl Lamonica, Terry Bradshaw and Dan Marino are the best deep-ball quarterbacks I’ve seen in my time covering the game.
Wayne from Middleton, WI
What major changes would come from an 18-game season? More injuries? Players willing to sit out an extra game to fully heal from an injury? Less competition at the beginning of the season? More difficult race to get into the postseason?
I think the predominant change would be bigger rosters, or some kind of increased talent pool that would allow for more movement within the active roster and, say, a taxi squad. I think you would see players miss a higher percentage of games, due to minor injuries. Players would have to be rested more often. The game would become an endurance test, and the best teams would be the ones that have the deepest rosters.
Joe from New Lenox, IL
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet. Nice Shakespeare reference, Vic.
I thinketh thou giveth thine too much credit.
Greg from Bellevue, WA
Vic, you mentioned that Packers fans have an almost college-like fascination with the team and even the division. What other professional-team fan bases have this trait?
In the NFL, I know of no fan base that bears a resemblance to the Packers. This is truly a unique experience. It’s almost as though Packers fans graduated from the University of Packers. They have a kind of love of dear old U.
Julian from Cali, South America
Vic, welcome back. How much has the defense improved with the rookie class? Are we going to experience better numbers than last season?
I think the defense’s numbers will improve this season for two reasons: 1.) The defense has accumulated young talent in recent years and that young talent is beginning to come into its prime years. 2.) Mike McCarthy appears to be committed to an improved running game, and an improved running game will almost always result in an improvement on defense. Time of possession and field-position football should improve, and those are a defensive coordinator’s dream come true.
Ian from Milwaukee, WI
Vic, I read your material daily and it makes me feel like I have a unique relationship with you. Describe the first time you saw your wife and where you were and what you were doing.
She walked by as I was standing outside my house. My golf clubs had just been stolen out of my garage and I was sad. She comforted me.
Chris, the Northwoods, WI
There are a lot of articles right now about the Packers having three possible 1,000-yard receivers this year. Is there any chance the Packers set a new record and have four 1,000-yard receivers this year, since Finley is in a contract year and needs a big year?
For Dom Capers’ sake, I hope not.
Todd from Fitchburg, WI
I would like your thoughts on Thursday night games. I find them to be a bit watered down, unless it’s the opener for the season.
I think Thursday night games are an example of where the game is headed: more games on more days and nights. NFL games, in my opinion, are going to take on less of a war-of-the-world feel and more of a common occurrence kind of flavor. It’ll have to be that way if the league adds games.
David from Seattle, WA
I know a lot of people out there will say the crowd isn’t all that big of a factor, but I’ve heard Aaron Rodgers in multiple huddles say they need to bring life to the crowd. Do you think hearing the crowd helps Aaron personally?
The Packers have an up-tempo approach to offense and an energetic crowd is the metronome that kind of offense likes. Pound-the-ball, control-the-clock teams march to a different and slower drummer. Yes, I think an energetic crowd assists Rodgers in producing the kind of urgency he seeks in his offense.
Chris from Andrews, TX
I love the history of the Packers. It goes way back but it wouldn’t be so much of a story without the championships. What team has a great history behind it but not the championships to back it up, in your opinion?
It’s the Vikings. That franchise played a lot of great games for a lot of years, but has never won a title. The Vikings had the misfortune of running into a dominant AFC during the franchise’s best years. They’ve had a lot of good teams but haven’t been able to get over the hump. I’m interested to see what a new stadium will do for that franchise.
Joe from Sherman, IL
Vic, while watching the Willie Buchanon interview, he mentions playing out his option. Since this was before free agency, how exactly did that work?
Free agency existed back then, but it wasn’t unrestricted and that’s why players seldom changed teams without being cut or traded. In those days, signing a high-level free agent required a team to compensate the team that was losing the player with two first-round picks. In the prime of his career, Walter Payton tried it and didn’t get so much as a nibble. Playing out your option really wasn’t an option.
Willie Buchanon: This is what I was born to do
Willie Buchanon: We had the talent