Eli from Broken Arrow, OK
I just want to say that I think it’s awesome that the Packers are going to give Al Harris a Super Bowl ring.
It has been one of the most asked questions I’ve received: Will Al Harris get a Super Bowl ring? Harris certainly is a fan favorite.
Brandon from Belle Plaine, IA
Do you believe it is the quarterback that makes a wide receiver great? I do believe the best wide receivers bring out the best in elite quarterbacks.
Great wide receivers make catches ordinary wide receivers don’t make, so it’s only logical that a quarterback benefits from having top receivers. By and large, however, the quarterback is considered to be the more valuable player in that partnership. Let’s use Tom Brady and Peyton Manning as examples. Brady won three Super Bowls pitching to a rather ordinary cast of wide receivers. Manning didn’t seem to lose much when he transitioned to Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon, low-round picks. I think the answer to your question is this: Great quarterbacks will find a way to win regardless of who’s playing wide receiver, but great wide receivers can become rather ordinary if the guy pitching the ball isn’t getting it there.
Mike from Wonder Lake, IL
I know you talk about how teams analyze situations and almost always play the percentages when it comes to calling plays. With that in mind, do you think there's any chance they might use Randall Cobb as a holder from time to time, just to give the other team something to think about? Or is that too risky, since he won't have as many practice snaps as the regular holder?
It’s something he can do, but if he’s not doing it on every kick, then what’s accomplished by him doing it once in awhile? Does it make the kick easier for the kicker because the wing-rushers might stay back? Yeah, I guess it would decrease the potential for a blocked kick, but I think that might be getting a little too cute. I think the risk outweighs the reward. Holders and kickers need consistency. The kicker needs to know and depend on his holder, and that requires a lot of practice time together. Can Cobb be a full-time holder? He’ll be spending the bulk of his time practicing with the offense, which means he won’t be hanging out with the specialists during practice. Can he get enough practice time in with the kicker to be a full-time holder? If he can, then he certainly presents some interesting possibilities as a holder.
Scott from Las Vegas, NV
The toughest Packer? Can you at least admit it is a totally ridiculous question?
The intent is not to reach a definitive answer. I think we all know that there are a lot of tough guys that didn’t have an opportunity to limp into the end zone with a turnover. I think Packers fans are smart enough to know that any offensive lineman with a long consecutive-games streak is a tough guy because those guys are always nursing some kind of injury. I’ll give you a name I didn’t receive as a nominee: Jim Ringo. Ringo was an ironman. He was a 211-pound center when he was drafted and he played in 126 consecutive games. No tough-guy conversation should exclude him. It’s just for fun, Scott. It’s the kind of thing you do during a lockout, when we’re all struggling to find topics that’ll allow us to discuss our favorite pastime and, more importantly, share our memories.
Scott from Las Vegas, NV
I am sure you loved the Players with the idiot moron Johnny Miller on; the biggest clown on TV.
Bad weekend, huh?
Tom from Phoenix, AZ
Love your “Ask Vic” daily column, Vic, along with your patience in answering repeated questions. As a lifelong Packers fan and fan of the NFL, I am not only disappointed in the current strife between owners and players, but more so in how the current lockout and court battle has taken some of the luster off the Super Bowl victory and the subsequent postseason spoils that traditionally come with it for members of the winning team. As a result of the labor issues, corporate America has distanced itself from all the potential spokesmen who proudly wore the green and gold last season. The Super Bowl champs have really missed out on the annual endorsement deals that accompany such a victory. Heck, they haven't even been able to go to the White House. I know Mike McCarthy is going to do everything he can to help the team find that new purpose to go out and play this coming season with a chip on its shoulder and work toward a repeat in SB XLVI. Do you think the non-recognition factor will be good motivation for the team?
I think that, for all of the reasons you’ve described, it’ll be easier for the Packers to transition from last season to the next season. Clearly, the celebration hasn’t been excessive.
Thaddeus from Covington, KY
Why is pass-interference a spot foul? Why is it not a 15-yard penalty? Seems very unfair that the defense can be penalized for 50 yards on one play. Would changing it to a 15-yard personal foul make defensive backs more likely to foul if they get beat?
Yes, and that’s why the penalty is assessed at the spot of the foul. If it wasn’t that way, the occurrence of pass-interference penalties would increase dramatically, and the league doesn’t want that to happen. I agree with you that it’s unfair for one play to result in 50 yards of penalty. It’s just something that has to be overcome. Look at the Ellis Hobbs call. It decided which team went to the Super Bowl. Sometimes life isn’t fair and we just have to live with it.
Steve from Franksville, WI
How does it get decided as to what music will be played at sporting arenas? Do players have an influence? Do they poll the local populous?
Teams have special events or game-day staffs that coordinate things such as the music played at games. It falls under the heading of fan experience and fans and players obviously impact the selection of the music because prior to the players coming onto the field for pregame we hear one kind of music, and then when the players come onto the field we hear another kind of music.
David from Sammamish, WA
In terms of personnel, what do you think would be a significant difference between football dynasties of the past and the current Green Bay Packers?
The dividing line is 1993, which is the advent of the salary cap. Prior to ’93, teams weren’t limited as to the size of their payrolls. They could have as many good players on their roster as they could afford. After ’93, rosters were shaped by the salary cap and even though last year was an uncapped year, the Packers’ roster was tightly shaped by the cap years that preceded last season. I don’t wanna get into the whole this team vs. that team thing, but it’s important to note that the 1960s Packers were unencumbered as to how many good players they could have on their roster. I’ll let you take it from there.
Gordon from Madison, WI
Vic, you've covered a lot of running backs. Name your favorite three with some details, please?
Franco Harris and Fred Taylor are clearly the two best I’ve covered. After that, there are Rocky Bleier, Maurice Jones-Drew and a guy named Frank Pollard, who is one of my all-time favorite players. Frank overcame a lot of adversity to carve out a wonderful career, and he was a great guy to cover. He was truly a tough guy. Franco and Fred were amazing blends of size and speed. When they ran past you on the practice field, they thundered with power. The most talented running back I ever covered, however, might be Barry Foster. He could do it all. He could run with power and beat you down the sideline. He had hands like a wide receiver. He could block like a guard. He was a smart player with instincts for the game. The only mistake I ever saw him make was letting a kickoff hit the ground when, I believe, he was a rookie. He had everything except one thing: the love of the game that’s required to be the best and do it every year for a long time. Barry was a solid citizen and a normal guy who wanted to live comfortably, peacefully and spend his time fishing. He was very frugal and as soon as he had enough money to get out of the game, he did. How do you find fault with that? That’s not, however, the attitude that makes players great.
Pete from Crystal Lake, IL
With regard to all these player-organized workouts, do they have proper medical supervision or trainers on hand? I realize most are being done on college campuses where they have decent training rooms, equipment, etc., but I can't help but wonder what will happen the first time someone pulls a hamstring or tears an ACL in one of these workouts. Is it better if players just concentrate on keeping in shape as opposed to football activity, or is it pretty much what they would normally be doing about now in team mini-camps anyway?
You’ve raised important questions. If I was a coach, I would want my players working out to stay in shape, but I’m not a fan of these player-organized workouts, for all of the reasons you’ve mentioned.
Gerald from Karlsruhe, Germany
Nice to see that you are attracted by the small-market charm. Do you think that a lot of people around the world are choosing Green Bay because of the David-and-Goliath thing of a team that is owned by a lot of people instead of a rich guy or family?
I don’t think the publicly-owned aspect of the franchise is what appeals or attracts fans with no geographical ties to the franchise. I think the Packers’ strongest appeal is its small-town quality; it’s the notion that a team from a small city can fill its stadium, which happens to be one of the largest in the league, and defeat teams from places 50-100 times larger. Yeah, I know, the Packers are a regional team and Milwaukee is only a short drive away, but even at that the Chicago market’s population is nearly twice as large as the population of Wisconsin. The Packers are an amazing success story, any way you wanna look at it.
Alex from Gillett, WI
Are NFL officials allowed to have favorite teams? Just something I've always wondered about.
They don’t have to take a test, if that’s what you mean. They’re professionals and being fair and objective is at the core of their integrity. They don’t think as fans do. They have a job to do.
Dejan from Abu Dhabi, UAE
As a follow up to John's question last week, I present to you a Lombardi quote: “Football is first and foremost a running game. That will never change.” Was one of the greatest football minds of all-time wrong or was it impossible for him to fathom the degree to which the game has evolved?
Football is no longer first and foremost a running game. It is now a passing game. Coach Lombardi didn’t know the game would evolve into “defenseless receivers,” 5-yard chuck rules and areas on the quarterback’s body that may not be contacted. Might the game go back to the days when it was first and foremost a running game? I guess it’s possible, but not in the foreseeable future. Nobody loves the running game more than I do. It pains me to have to accept that the running game is no longer the staple of offensive football.
Bart from Bartlett, IL
Vic, in the 11.7 seconds that you have to yourself each day to not answer, yet, another question about whether the Packers really draft for BAP, what music do you like to listen to? I am trying to read you and am thinking maybe early Elvis, Johnny Cash, Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen and the like. Am I close on any of these?
Sinatra, Bennett and the like.
Michael from Elk Grove, CA
How come Jim Taylor's number has not been retired?
Because a team would run out of numbers to wear if it retired the number of all of its great players. I’m not a big fan of retiring numbers and the reason is that at some point you have to draw the line and that line can get real fuzzy. I prefer the idea of taking numbers out of service; nothing official, just an acknowledgement of a player’s greatness by not using his number. It’s a more subtle and less final way of accomplishing the same thing.
Rob from Des Plaines, IL
I don't like your question and answers.
I’ll cry all night.
Chris from Kox, CA
No question, just encouragement. Keep it up; great work. We love most your broad perspective. Good example: Jim Brown. Hope the occasionally narrow fan provincialism does not get disheartening too soon.
That’s the way it should be. Fans should be narrow and provincial.
Carrie from Iron Mountain, MI
Could you please tell why do we have this lockout problem and if we do get past it, then will we have a season or what?
I love the way you have so innocently and directly asked a question to which so many people would struggle to answer. Carrie, we have this lockout problem because a lot of money is involved and money tends to cause problems. When we get past this, we will have a season and when that time comes, we won’t have to think about this problem again for a long time, I hope.
Michael from Kansas City, MO
Thanks for the great commentary! Regarding toughness, Jerry Kramer impressed me. As a college player he fell through the floor of his family’s barn and had several large wood splinters lodged in his abdomen. After surgery to remove the splinters, he returned to school to continue playing. It wasn't until after playing for several years that it was discovered that he still had splinters left over from the accident. He became very sick and it was thought he was dying, but eventually the doctors discovered what, if I recall correctly, was a 17-inch splinter. The man played out his college career and the majority of his professional career with that splinter in his gut. That had to hurt.
Kramer just went to No. 2 on the list.
Jim from Mahoney, GA
Vic, I love your column. I am a Packers shareholder and have been a fan for 50-plus years. I was wondering if the Packers will have anything special for the shareholders to purchase commemorating the team’s Super Bowl victory. I think it would be nice to give an exclusive to shareholders to purchase a replica ring (not the actual one), for example. Any thoughts?
“There will be exclusive collections made for shareholders, season-ticket holders and a fan collection.” Here’s the full story.