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At altitude, it's important to control tempo

Football is where I go to feel good


J.D. from Alexandria, MN

Vic, "stubbornness, toughness, resilience are virtues at crunch time. Playing the percentages can soften a team; they can make your team just another team." I love this statement. It should be plastered all over the locker room in every high school in America. Either win with gusto or go down in glorious flames.

I wouldn't go that far, but you have to stand for something. A football team has to have belief. It needs to be able to say, "This is what we do and this is who we are." If you're playing the percentages, you're lacking commitment and resolve. Great teams impose their will.

Brian from Green Bay, WI

Vic, I'm not a fantasy football guy, so perhaps my opinion is tainted. I am curious how you see the Fan Duels and other non-gambling fantasy sites. My gut tells me these sites are not healthy for our country or for football. Thoughts?

I have no interest in them and pay absolutely no attention to them. I wasn't even aware they were fantasy sites. Fantasy football is driving football popularity as nothing ever has. It's good for the game, but I'm sad the fantasy players won't experience football as I have. For me, football is a noble endeavor. For me, football is romantic in how men sacrifice themselves for something as unimportant as a game. But it's not just a game for those men. Football is a proving ground. It's where they go to feel good about themselves. It was that way for me as a boy, and it's still where I go to feel good. I am married to football, not to the stats, but to the struggle. The greater the struggle, the more I love football, and the stronger my bond with it grows.

Joe from Saint Paul, MN

Favre outplayed Elway. Packers still lost.

The Broncos ran the ball and got it done at crunch time.

Willie from Hayward, WI

Vic, you always say players, not plays. I get that. Why do so many teams lose the locker room and have good players quit on a coaching staff and lose regardless of talent?

Maybe they lack belief. A coach has to be demanding, but fair. I'm interested in what Dan Campbell is doing with the Dolphins. There was outrage when he made them do the Oklahoma drill, but he's yet to lose. Maybe there's still a place in this game for tough guys.

Evan from Rochester, NY

Do you think the Packers will win on Sunday night? No sportswriting analysis, just your gut feeling.

I don't have a feel for this one, yet. When that happens, it's usually good for the team I'm covering. I'm not sure why that is; it just is.

Michelle from Atlanta, GA

I watched a documentary on SMU and the death penalty they received. What do you remember from it, and do you think we will see this punishment handed down again?

I was working at a newspaper in the Pittsburgh area back then, and I remember a SMU recruit from Pittsburgh played a leading role in the saga. These days? The power five conferences are in control; the NCAA is just happy to be included. I don't see another SMU in the future.

Mark from Stewartville, MN

Vic, can the Patriots win the Super Bowl by throwing so many passes and running so little?

That's the big question. The Patriots are amazing in how they win doing it their way. I don't like one-dimensional teams, but when Tom Brady is that one dimension, you've got a shot to go all the way. Let's wait until the cold weather arrives. I have a feeling Coach Belichick will find a running game to at least quiet the rush.

Jerry from Wausau, WI

What do you think the Packers will do on Sunday night as far as a game plan?

I think they'll try to mix run and pass. It's tough to go open throttle at that altitude. No-huddle offense can gas a team. Controlling the tempo is important. Run a little, pass a little, huddle and use the play clock.

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