Markus from Aptos, CA

It seems football over the years has developed into a more statistic-focused sport. Have coaches always been cognizant of these various stats or is the stat craze a product of satisfying fan desires?

Coaches keep a close watch on the stats, but coaches are very good at identifying the meaningful stats. They don’t bother with the garbage stats. Every so often, Coach Noll would say, “I’ve got one for you.” He’d give me the stat, I’d study it and I’d quickly understand why he was the way he was. His favorite stat almost always involved running the ball and how it related to winning, and that’s why it was so impressive when, in 1978, he was the first coach to understand what the rules changes meant and opened up his offense. He was known as a stubborn man. Would a stubborn man do that?

Jack from Green Bay, WI

After a heartbreaking loss, what is going through your mind? On the other side, after an exhilarating last-second, come-from-behind win, what goes through your mind?

Do my job; that’s all. What do you think is going to happen if I don’t do my job? Do you think my employer is going to say, “Yeah, but he was so excited or he was so upset?” I’m not like you, and I don’t have the luxury of being like you. This is what I do for a living and everything must take a back seat to it.

Peter from Polonia, WI

You always say it’s players, not plays. How does coaching staff leaving for different teams play into that?

They know your personnel. They know its weaknesses. You do everything you can to hide your personnel’s weaknesses. That’s why I don’t like trading for players. The team with whom you’re trading knows the weaknesses of the player for whom you’re trading. They did everything they could to hide his weaknesses from you. Soon, you’ll find out what they are.

Ben from Columbus, WI

Vic, tell us something we don’t know.

Old Mile High Stadium was a metal structure that shook when the fans got excited. I can still feel the press box shaking in the final minutes of an exciting game. The fans would stomp their feet; it sounded like drums. The desk top would shake. It didn’t shake much in that 1996 playoff game against the Jaguars.

Hansen from Whitewater, WI

Why are the hash marks at the center of the field closer together in the NFL than they are in college football?

The NFL moved the hashes closer to the center of the field in 1972 in an attempt to stimulate the passing game. Instead, there was an explosion of thousand-yard rushers. “She falls down a well, her eyes go cross. She gets kicked by a mule. They go back. I don’t know.”

Jon from Mount Horeb, WI

Do teams ever practice in altitude the week before playing in Denver?

It’s been done. It’s a way of getting your players to feel what it’s like. These are great athletes. They’ll find a way to deal with it and overcome it. This is new stuff for Packers fans, but AFC teams have had to deal with it often and they have.

Anthony from Baraboo, WI

Vic, the Packers and Broncos have collectively beaten one team with a winning record. How do we know if either team is for real?

Wait until late in the season. Why do we need to know now?

Randy from Burlington, IA

Seems to me all the different little screen passes all the other teams use work most of the time. Why don’t we use them more often?

This is it, Randy. This is the big screen week. I’m very happy for all of you. I feel your joy.

Kirsten from Madison, WI

“It’s not college football’s fault. It’s just the college game doesn’t translate to the pro game.” Why not?

It’s a different game. For starters, there are practice restrictions. In recent years, there was a 20-hour limit on time players could spend on football every week. College teams spend a fraction of the preparation time NFL teams do, plus, they only have their players for three or four years. Larry Fitzgerald and LeSean McCoy left after two years. Coaches can’t wait for development time. They’ve got to plug their best players in immediately and, as it pertains to quarterbacks, that means finding a way to make them a runner. Drop-back-and-run is a whole lot easier to execute than stand in the pocket, read the defense, go through your progressions, etc. As General Lee said, “There is no time for this.”

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