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Appreciate the absurdity?

Posted Jul 13, 2017

Plus a couple of memorable postgame scenes


Dillon from Minneapolis, MN

Call me cocky, but if Jared Cook doesn't catch the pass at the end of the playoff game against the Cowboys, I would bet Rodgers would have thrown a Hail Mary TD with no time left which would have also won them "Play of the Year."

Would’ve been one heckuva throw with the Packers on their own 32-yard line. That’s 7 yards farther than Detroit, which was as high and far as I’ve ever seen someone toss a football. Be that as it may, congrats to the Packers on their three ESPYs, and to the fans for their part in the voting process. Another awards show done, another day closer to the season.

Denise from Bloomer, WI

If memories make us so rich, how come I forgot where I hid my winning Lotto ticket? Seriously though, if you do a trio picture, Aaron Rodgers HAS to photobomb it.

We’re not worthy.


Mark from Houghton, MI

What are the rules for a QB's cadence? Could Rodgers say something comical, catch the D off-guard and perhaps with uncontrollable laughter? Or, state the name of a business, or person? I can see the potential for a lot of abuse, illegal payoffs, etc., so there must be something in the rule books. Payton Manning had his "Omaha." I was waiting for his "Papa John" play.

Rodgers got a lot of attention for “New York bozo” a few years ago, but I don’t know if he’s ever resurrected it.


Greg from Cuenca, Ecuador

Insiders, if the Packer faithful believe in yin and yang, or karma, the Packers' success with Hail Mary passes since the “Fail Mary” fiasco has evened the scales (at least somewhat) in the grand scheme of things. Don't you think Vic would see it in this rather "whimsical" way?

Maybe. I’ve always looked at the “Fail Mary” and its aftermath as one of the reasons the Packers went 10-2 over their next 12 games that year.


Tyler from La Crosse, WI

With everyone talking about the “Fail Mary” and how much composure Mike McCarthy had, could you ever imagine how hard it was for the 11 players that had to go onto the field for the extra point? It's amazing the players had the composure and respect for the game to go out there and put salt in their wound.

Some players refused to go back out there. Those that did were grabbing a random helmet from the bin, unable to find their own. It was the most surreal postgame locker room scene I’ve ever witnessed.


Bill from Iowa City, IA

With training camp coming up, who do you think is likely to start on PUP? Linsley? Others?

I have no knowledge of anyone’s injury status during this “dead zone” period, but Linsley would be a candidate depending on his recovery from offseason surgery. Vince Biegel is another obvious possibility. We’ll find out on July 27.


Kevin from Rockton, IL

Wes, I'm glad you highlighted Cecil Isbell as overlooked. My wife and I went through the Packers Hall of Fame a few weeks ago for the first time since its renovation. I made it a point to look at the Don Hutson video at the case dedicated to his memorabilia for his enshrinement. To watch the highlights of the two of them at work was as if I was watching a game in the current era. I suspect defenses at the time had no idea what to do with them.

I was in high school when Steve Largent recorded his 100th touchdown reception to break Hutson’s (then) all-time record of 99. I still remember how stunned I was to learn his record had stood for 44 years. Amazing.


Mark from Salisbury, MD

Has this become a column about nothing?

No story? No, forget the story. You gotta have a story. Who says you gotta have a story?


Ben from Chicago, IL

There was an article about NFL advertisers spending less this year. Would that cause the cap to come down? Are teams prepared for that possibility?

If you’re talking TV advertising, the league’s revenue is from the broadcast rights fees in the TV contracts. The networks would take the hit if advertising revenue were to go down, so there’d be little to no effect on the cap until the TV deals expire and are renegotiated.


Richard from Madison, WI

"I’d argue Wisconsin’s biggest rival is Minnesota." You might well have mentioned that it's the nation's OLDEST football rivalry as well, with a history of 126 games stretching back to 1890, continuous except for that one time in 1906 when President Roosevelt banned the game.

Paul Bunyan’s Axe has to be the best rivalry trophy in college football. I was at the game at Camp Randall in 2004 when the Badgers stole it back, and it hasn’t changed hands again since.


Susan from Santa Cruz, CA

Since so many of us are having a hard time letting Vic go, maybe there could be a "Best of Vic" section on the site, where we can find links to some of his more memorable “Ask Vic” columns.

I wouldn’t want to be the judge, but if you want to pick a date after a particular game and reminisce, you can go
here on the desktop site and plug in the month and year and find any of his columns, all the way back to his first column on Feb. 21, 2011, and even his personal introduction to all of you.

JD from Palm Bay, FL

With the depth at WR, TE, and DB, what do you think a guy like Joe Kerridge has to do to make the 53? Seems like a real uphill battle, but I liked what I saw last year.

It will be tough, but if he proves to be one of the top players on multiple special-teams units, he can stick.


Carrie from San Jose, CA

I was surprised to see a question about the refs for the “Fail Mary” game, as the reffing situation is seared into my memory. It was the last game in 2012 officiated by replacement refs. Those first three weeks of the 2012 season taught me that the refs make a significant (albeit frequently invisible) impact on the quality of product the NFL puts on the field.

When I saw the question about whether any of those officials were still in the NFL, I was going to make the reader the last inductee into the “Ask Vic” hall of fame. Alas, it was Wes’s day. As several have pointed out, the “Fail Mary” spurred the settlement of the labor dispute with the officials’ union. I think the signatures were on the contract less than 12 hours after Lance Easley raised his arms in the air. The Packers took one for the league that night.


Cindy from Oshkosh, WI

Thank you, Logan from Lino Lakes, MN. I am still bitter about the Jerry Rice fumble that wasn't called in the 49ers game that made Terrell Owens a hero and bounced us out of the playoffs. Glad I'm not the only one.

Along the same lines, that missed call in the 1998 playoffs was a big impetus to a replay review system being re-implemented for the ’99 season, even though the Rice call could not have been changed had the new system been in effect.


Charlie from Cameron, NC

I realize he is now 100 percent running back, but is Ty Montgomery being groomed to fill the versatile playmaker void in the event of a Cobb departure? They seem to be very similarly dynamic. I remember AR12 saying simply that the team is better with 18 on the field. I anticipate a similar statement about 88 in the near future if he hasn't said it already.

Apples and oranges to me. Montgomery has 24 pounds on Cobb. I don’t think one’s presence in the backfield has much of anything to do with the other’s.


Jerry from Kansas City, MO

I will concede that running back is probably the most important position battle of the offseason, but I'm most excited to watch the wide receiver battle. After seeing Allison and Davis play last year, the prospect that there may be even better players in that group now is very intriguing. If I get the chance I'm hoping for this year to head north to watch a practice, is there anything to look for to see who has an edge?

Though it’s not absolute, reporters get their read on the depth chart by watching the order of substitutions for practice reps. If the first unit is out there and goes four wide, who’s No. 4? Or if Nelson, Cobb or Adams takes a play off in the traditional three-receiver set with Rodgers at QB, who’s stepping in? It gives you an idea.


Andrew from Fullerton, CA

If you had to guess Vic's last line in Monday's column, would you guess A) "Just win, baby", B) something where he calls the readers "folks", C) "It's time to be new again", or D) "Memories make you rich"?

I’ll vote for A.


Robert from Waxahachie, TX

That is getting away in my book, Mike. I have been looking at land about 40 miles northeast of Casper for about three years and still can't pull the trigger but love the solitude. Glad you are back and ready to fill some rather large sandals. I would love to see pictures of your trip, sir.

I won’t bore everyone with images they’ve probably viewed elsewhere, but it was a thrill to see the Badlands, Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone for the first time in my life. My only regrets are it took me so long and I couldn’t stay longer.


Robert from Portland, ME

Hi Spoff and Wes, I was on vacation last week in Provincetown. I'm wondering what's the biggest Packer story I missed?

Apparently not much, until Vic’s news I guess. When I got back, Wes told me last week was so dead league-wide that PFT picked up almost every one of his player feature stories, so we had that going for us, which was nice.


Jacob from Milwaukee, WI

When I was younger I recall going to a Pack vs. Vikes game that we won in the final minutes thanks to Brett. On the walk down out of the stadium I noticed an 8- or 9-year old Vikings fan leaving with his family. He was in tears after the loss, when all of a sudden a GO PACK GO chant erupted out of nowhere. He lit up and actually cracked a smile. Have you seen something like this happen during your time covering the game?

After home games, I’ve walked the Lambeau catwalk – from the bottom of the press box elevator over to the stairway that leads to the media auditorium and locker room – countless times. I’ve heard plenty of “Go Pack Go” chants break out in the concourse after victories, but without question, the loudest and most vociferous of those was just after 10:30 p.m. on Oct. 24, 2010. Having lost three of their previous four games, all by a field goal, the Packers had just beaten their former QB who had downed them twice the previous year. You could just feel the cathartic release, and I’ll never forget it.


Rick from San Francisco, CA

Thinking of the free plays that should be called dead if an offensive lineman moves when a defender comes over before the ball is snapped, if he doesn't move, he likely gets walloped and you have a free play with a defender running mostly free in the backfield. If the offensive lineman gets hit before the ball is snapped, is the play called dead? If a defender did jump offside, knock over the offensive lineman and knock the QB into the ground like Wile E. Coyote, would he be penalized?

If any contact is made between opponents before the ball is snapped, the play is supposed to be blown dead. If the offensive lineman doesn’t move and the defender is “unabated to the quarterback,” the play is supposed to be blown dead. If he still levels the QB, he faces a personal foul and possible ejection. Rodgers at times gets frustrated with the “unabated” whistle, because he believes he can pull a patented Roadrunner-type escape and still make a play, as he often does when there’s a free blitzer, but the officials are always going to err on the side of caution there.


Chase from Hanover, VA

Everyone is talking about Rodgers throwing 300 TDs with under 100 picks, but I have a feeling he will throw 400 TDs with under 100 picks. What is your take?

You aren’t the only reader to mention it. Rodgers’ full-season averages as a starting QB are 34.8 TD passes and 8.4 interceptions. At 297-72 right now, the math says yes, barely.


Darren from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Insiders, did Vic give any advice regarding answering questions in this column which helped you stay sane when you wanted to throw in the towel?

No. That was his parting gift.


Brandon from Appleton, WI

I completely agree with Chuck, and he has been watching and following the Packers for a lot longer than I have. I think the reason that fourth-and-26 sticks out so much, even more than the onside kick in Seattle, is because that year was supposed to be a special year. We had the best offensive line in football, an AMAZING running back who had one of the best seasons ever, and a future Hall of Fame quarterback who led the league in touchdowns with a broken thumb on his throwing hand and was playing lights out after the memorial game in Oakland for his father. You put all of that together and it felt like it was destiny for the Packers that year ... All to see it end because of a weak defense that couldn’t hold its end of the deal. It still bugs me to this day as well.

It speaks to the crazy nature of this game, to which I often refer, that everything you’ve mentioned would have gone for naught anyway had Josh McCown, piloting a 3-12 Cardinals team, not somehow – after back-to-back sacks, the second of which forced a fumble Arizona recovered – found Nathan Poole for a last-play touchdown to beat the Vikings in Week 17, getting the Packers into the playoffs. The down and distance? Fourth-and-25, and the final drive was set up by a successful onside kick, too. I don’t have a catchy Vic-like phrase for it, but if you don’t appreciate the absurdity of how all this unfolds sometimes, you’ll go nuts. Is that the phrase? Appreciate the absurdity?


Paul from Northbrook, IL

I love Mike Tyson's, "Everyone has a plan 'till they get punched in the mouth."

There’s that, too.


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