Rob from Edmonton, Alberta
When we went to the 2005 Steelers game at Lambeau, it was an experience I will never forget. There were about 62,000 Packers fans and about 10,000 Steelers fans in attendance that day and even though the Steelers won and Favre didn't play very well, the atmosphere in the stadium was amazing. I didn't see one fight or hear any excessive swearing. Green Bay should be proud of how they host visitors in their shrine to football. Everyone should go to Lambeau at least once to see how great an NFL game is there. My question is that I have heard that Buffalo and Oakland are particularly tough on visiting fans. Would you agree with this assessment or do you have any others to add?
Games in Oakland are a costume party. Other than for the scary costumes and the “Black Hole” bluster, I haven’t witnessed anything out of the ordinary. That was not the case when the Raiders were in Los Angeles; the Coliseum was a dangerous place. Buffalo fans are good. My recollection of the fans in Buffalo is that they like to moon the visiting team’s buses as they move through the parking lot before and after the game. I think it’s a tradition in Buffalo to pull your pants down. I always looked forward to that; everybody laughed.
Ken from Penticton, BC
I was reading your column and the response you gave to the quarterback arm strength question started me wondering. The description of Cam Newton's throwing style shows that you have done some analysis of it. How much film study do you do?
Not much. I’m a reporter, not an analyst. When Newton was going through the draft evaluation process, I asked questions of the draftniks and scouts I know. I remember calling Tony Pauline and when he answered and I asked him what he was doing, he said, “Just watching Cam Newton throw off his back foot.” Newton had that rap coming out of college. In Week 2 of last season, I got to see it for myself. He throws off his back foot. It’s a technical flaw, but he makes it work. The Packers once had a quarterback that chucked and ducked, but he made it work. Eli Manning has some chuck and duck in him and he’s the reigning Super Bowl MVP. Just win, baby.
Sean from Chicago, IL
Vic, I know you've made a career out of covering specific NFL teams, and you seem to love it. Your job requires you to sit in the press box and you seem to love that, too. Have you ever, during your team's bye week, gone to an NFL game to experience the atmosphere as the typical fan would? If not, does that have any appeal to you?
I went to a sports bar during the bye week a few years ago. Never again. Years ago, I went to a Florida-Georgia game during a bye week. I’d ask the fans I was with what they thought of this play or that play, and the answer always came back the same: We got screwed. No thanks. People of my ilk belong in a certain place. It’s called the press box. It’s a place where I can turn to the people around me and have conversation about a particular play, acquire different viewpoints without confrontation or bias, think about what I’ve seen and decide what the proper perspective is. Doesn’t sound like fun? Hey, I like to watch.
Bill from Lakeland, MN
Vic, in response to a question about the effects of replays and challenges, you said: “If you prefer that fans be able to accept mistakes and not whine and cry about every little officiating glitch as having cost the fan’s favorite team the game, then replay review has been an unmitigated disaster. I liked it better when we were able to accept mistakes.” I've lived in Minnesota the last 34 years and can state the Vikings fans had that attitude long before replay was instituted. In fact, my first thought was Vic's describing a typical Vikings fan. Of course, that may be due to the influence of the senior senile sports writer of the Minneapolis newspaper.
Sid Hartman is a legend. He’s one of America’s most esteemed sports writers and a pioneer of professional football in Minnesota. Maybe what you consider to be senility is actually wisdom.
Paul from Ossian, IN
I bought my son that stupid football game for Christmas a couple of years ago. He was obsessed with the idea of that stupid QB throwing that stupid little ball that comes with the game. About once a month now I'll hear that stupid buzzing sound coming from his bedroom and I’ll cringe.
The football was not meant to be thrown in that stupid game. The most successful offensive formation positioned the ball-carrier behind a wall of blockers. When you flipped the switch, you hoped they would all move forward. Every play was a goal-line play. I never saw one of those games that it wasn’t dented.
Terri from Newport News, VA
I have been reading the last couple of days about Bryan Bulaga and T.J. Lang and guards vs. tackles. What are the skill sets required for the two different positions and why is it a big deal that Lang can play both?
Tackles need to be better pass-blockers because they’re going to be out in space against the defense’s best pass rushers. Once upon a time, guards needed to be a little smaller and more mobile, so they could pull and trap, but teams don’t pull and trap as much as they once did, nor do they run the ball as much as they once did. Today’s guards are largely tackles that aren’t good enough pass-blockers to play tackle, and that’s why it’s a big deal when you have a guard that can play tackle because that means you have a guard that’s a good pass-blocker.
Bridget from Chicago, IL
Vic, you said: “I would get questions from fans who would say they were going to attend an away game, and they would ask what the crowd is like there, and I would advise against wearing any kind of apparel that would identify their allegiance.” Would you give that advice to a Packers fan going to an away game? With the reach of Packer fans across the nation as it is, I'm never surprised to see green and gold in the crowd.
If you do it often enough, I think you’ll find trouble, and I don’t want any fan to find trouble. A lot of fans in a lot of towns don’t like fans of the visiting team coming into the home team’s house and rubbing the home team’s fans’ noses in it. I always advise caution.
James from Wausau, WI
I've asked it once and I'll ask it again. Why do the Giants and Jets both play in the same stadium? And why the heck is it in New Jersey? Is it because of the revenue it brings to the state? Could you give your thoughts about it? Personally, I believe if your team’s name has its state or city name in it, it should be played there.
New York is different from Wausau, James. People there don’t think in terms of states. There is no New Jersey, there’s just New York in the northern half of the state and Philadelphia in the southern half of the state. Real estate in Manhattan is pretty pricey and stadiums eat up a lot of room, and Brooklyn, The Bronx and the other boroughs of New York don’t offer much in the way of parking. To put it into perspective, more people live in Brooklyn, The Bronx and Queens than live in the whole state of Wisconsin. The Meadowlands is right across the river and it offers a wide expanse of land, and land is at a great premium in New York. The bottom line, James, is that all of the people in the New York market, whether they live in New York, New Jersey or Connecticut, see themselves as New Yorkers.
Greg from North Little Rock, AR
Is one of your new mottos going to be, “It's players, not uniforms”?
I like that. It’s the truth. An ugly uniform all of a sudden looks handsome when the team in it starts winning games. I just don’t understand why teams keep changing their uniform designs and surrendering the history the old ones represent. It’s as though those teams think they can wash away the losing by getting rid of the old uniforms. You can’t and you should never want to rid yourself of your past because even in defeat teams make fans. History is a good thing, win or lose. It tells a story and nobody’s story is only about winning. When the winning begins, the fans will speak fondly, nostalgically of all the losing they said they couldn’t endure any longer, but they did. Pick a uniform design and make it your identity. Make it the identity of today’s players and tomorrow’s players, for one day they will become yesterday’s players and all of the players from all of the generations of a team’s existence should be joined by the same identity.
Jered from Baton Rouge, LA
Vic, my father and I recently debated about who is the best running back of all time. He says Jim Brown is the best while I disagreed by saying Barry Sanders is the best. Please help us settle this debate once and for all.
Your father is correct.
Trent from Orlando, FL
Of the current starting quarterbacks in the league, who do you think will make the Hall of Fame? More interesting, who doesn't? Do you see Eli Manning making it? He has the rings but I don't see him making it at this point.
Obviously, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are locks for the Hall of Fame. After that, you turn to the quarterbacks that have won two Super Bowls, Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger. Odds are a quarterback who’s won two Super Bowls will make it into the Hall of Fame, provided he supplements those Super Bowl wins with a long and distinguished career. Jim Plunkett has the Super Bowl wins but he doesn’t have the body of work of a Hall of Fame quarterback. I expect Eli Manning and Roethlisberger to complete long and distinguished careers. Then you turn to the other Super Bowl winners, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. The numbers they’re posting, combined with their MVP awards, make them likely candidates. Those would be the six quarterbacks in today’s game that appear to have Hall of Fame written on them.
C.J. from Edinboro, PA
With the Packers earning record profits, how do these figures compare to the profits made by other NFL teams?
Nobody knows for sure because the other teams aren’t required to release their financial information. In recent years, the Packers have been fallen at and around 10th in the revenue rankings.
Rich from Melbourne, FL
How does the heat and humidity in Green Bay compare to Florida?
You’re talking apples and oranges. Summers in Green Bay are as magnificent as winters are daunting. It’s the complete reverse of Florida. I couldn’t wait for winter to arrive when I lived in Florida. In Green Bay, I wish it was always July. The advantage Florida teams enjoy against visiting teams from the north in early-season, one o’clock games is more significant than the advantage the Packers have over warm-weather teams playing at Lambeau late in the season. There’s just no way to prepare for or defend yourself against early-season Florida heat if you’re coming out of Green Bay. I can remember the IV bag counts from the visiting team’s locker room being a big deal when I covered the Jaguars. By the way, today’s the day of the “Ask Vic Golf Outing,” so I’m heading to the golf course for a day of missed putts and made new friends. I wish you were all here.
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