Greg from Ashwaubenon, WI

What has prevented the expansion (or success) of more professional baseball or football teams in the South?

There weren’t any teams south of Washington when I was a kid because that’s not where the people lived. Now, that’s where the people live and more are moving south every year. Filling stadiums week in and week out, day in and day out at pro-sports prices is all about density of population. College football is a few dates a year, prices are a fraction of what they are for pro games and half the stadium lives on campus. Pro sports require density of population to succeed – especially in a city of three or four pro teams – and that’s what makes the Packers unique. The Packers are one of pro sports’ most successful franchises, despite being headquartered in pro sports’ least-dense market place.

Matthew from Glendale, AZ

It was an almond poppy seed muffin.

He should press charges against you.

Louis from Coral Springs, FL

Vic, one of the most under-appreciated receivers is Art Monk. Care to share any stats with your younger readers on just how good he was?

Monk has a full body of work, but he lacks the fame that goes with a defining postseason moment, and there are a lot of such receivers. Randy Moss lacks a defining postseason moment.

Tim from Normal, IL

Vic, occasionally I have a chance to chat with Ron Yary, the Hall of Fame offensive tackle. I asked him about defensive ends giving him head slaps and how he dealt with it. He said any defensive guys that gave head slaps to him or one of his fellow offensive linemen had their head on a swivel the rest of the game because they knew payback was coming. He didn’t elaborate. What might the payback have been back then?

The payback might’ve been cutting and leg-whipping. I covered a guard, Gerry Mullins, whose nickname was “Chopper” because he cut so many defensive linemen at the knees. If that was payback, I saw a lot of it, because I can remember seeing a lot of head slaps and a lot of cut blocks and leg whips.

David from Watsontown, PA

Vic, I liked what you said about flip-flops. Give me flip-flops, shorts and a tee shirt. I’m good to go.

In heaven, every day is summer.

Bubba from Madison, WI

Just saw that Reggie White was being talked about as the best free agency signing. Who do you think was the best person signed after being released by another team?

Johnny Unitas is the answer to your question. White wasn’t released by the Eagles.

Bronwyn from Tampa, FL

Vic, I often wonder if cost is the only reason all the NFL stadia in Florida are open air. Or do real Floridians just not care about the heat? I moved to Tampa from LaCrosse, Wisc., 10 years ago and I just can’t get used to the fact the heat index is 110 at 5 pm.

It’s not for everybody. We’re in a heat wave down here and it lasts for months, not a few days. There are no summer cold fronts. When I moved to Florida, I learned about something called acclimatization. It’s a physical change of the body’s organisms that allow the body to function more efficiently in its new environment. Not so all of a sudden, what you previously would’ve considered uncomfortable has become comfortable. It’s your new normal. Playing in domes in Florida would be an indictment against the Sunshine State’s weather. Chambers of commerce would be outraged.

Jason from Klamath Falls, OR

I know it’s early, yet, but what position group do you think will be strongest for the 2016 Packers? The running backs and wide receivers should be stronger than they were last year, the offensive line is strong and they’re all returning, the defensive line has young guys with talent, the linebackers have almost too many outsider backers and should be strong in the middle, and the secondary has talent galore. I don’t know if it’s fair to do the QB group, but Aaron Rodgers is the best player in the NFL, at least on offense (it’s hard to ignore Watt).

I think the Packers have as a strong a group of cornerbacks as there is in the league.

Mark from Stewartville, MN

Vic, do you remember having to wait for your favorite song to come on the radio? Don’t you think something has gone out of life since then?

We live in a fingertip world. I wouldn’t trade it for how it was, but I wouldn’t trade my memories, either. I love my laptop, and I think fondly of my Royal portable. It’s not one or the other. Live in the present, love your past.

Rob from Hollywood, FL

What do you think of the players’ Tribune and its idea of having the players be the contributors?

I support all forms of responsible media.

Gary from Topeka, KS

Can you name a NFL player who missed an entire year to ACL surgery and came back and had a better year than the year before he was hurt?

Terry Allen comes to mind. He sandwiched an ACL year between two comparably successful seasons. It can be done. Rod Woodson overcame ACL surgery. Tony Boselli did, too. ACL surgery was once considered to be the death knell of a player’s career. These days, it’s become one of those things a player may have to overcome in his career. Aaron Rodgers had an ACL in college. Tom Brady had an ACL year. Jordy Nelson will come back strong.

James from New York, NY

If you agree a player has to be tough to play in the extreme cold, would you also agree he has to be tough to play in extreme heat?

Playing in the cold is all about toughness. I don’t know how they do it. I’m amazed at how those guys play in frigid temperatures with nearly no decline in performance. The heat is about your body’s tank, because the heat will empty it, and that’s when the cramps begin. When the heat gets you, the body won’t go, regardless of a player’s toughness. How does a team overcome the heat? With a full roster of players that can be rotated in and out, especially on the defensive line.

Scott from Lincoln City, OR

Vic, I take it you weren’t wearing flip-flops when you went for the helicopter ride?

I was wearing flip-flops, but one of them fell off on the way to the driving range, so I arrived at the hospital wearing just one of them. Fortunately, the flip was recovered and was reunited with the flop the following day. I was worried.

Scott from Lincoln City, OR

What’s left on your bucket list?

I don’t have a bucket list. I’ve “climbed” Everest. I just want to contribute. I’ll do whatever they ask me to do.

Herb from Palm Desert, CA

Vic, I rarely disagree with you, but isn’t the spread offense in college actually causing a dearth of “The Man”? Hasn’t it made it harder to find a pro-style QB? I’ve read you enough to know you have a reason for your speculative statement. Please share it.

Yes is the answer to both of your questions, but it hasn’t hurt college football, has it? Dink and dunk spread offenses, such as the one at Texas Tech under Mike Leach, set records with quarterbacks that don’t achieve “The Man” status in the NFL. They keep plugging in new ones in college and the records continue to fall. I think we’re headed toward that type of offense in the NFL. That’s what I meant last summer when I said the Eagles’ style of offense is the future of the NFL: lots of plays, lots of matchup schemes, lots of dinks and lots of dunks. You don’t need a strong-armed guy to succeed in that type of offense.

John from Casablanca, Morocco

Vic, do you ever wear your flip-flops in Green Bay?

Yes, in the summer, both weeks.

Nathan from Baltimore, MD

Vic, if you had to rank the best players in the NFL right now, where would you put Aaron Rodgers?

He’s been a top-three player in all the years I’ve covered the Packers, and that’s another reason Rodgers is a first-ballot lock for the Hall of Fame.

Chris from Mann, DE

Vic, I enjoy the Forbes Field comments. My Little League team, from a small town in Western Maryland, would take an annual trip to see the Pirates. In the 1960s, as we approached “The Tubes,” there was little to suggest what was on the other side. When we reached the opening, a magical city appeared. It even had a real baseball park. We were amazed.

I passed through “The Tubes” and the Fort Pitt Tunnel a million times and I always marveled at the view, but never more than I did last summer when the Packers played in Pittsburgh in the preseason. I’ve moved around in this game and I’ve enjoyed many homes but, in the end, we always go back to the beginning.

Keith from Greendale, WI

What would you do if your air-conditioner broke down?

That’s a state of emergency down here. I have a backup wall unit on each floor.


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