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Bakhtiari one of Thompson's best picks

Packers were just one or two plays away


Jeff from Sioux Falls, SD

What is your opinion on why the Packers were such a poor team in the '70s and '80s? Did they not adhere to the draft-and-develop philosophy?

There were too many failed draft picks and changes in coaches and philosophies. Wolf and Holmgren gave the Packers stability, just as Thompson and McCarthy are.

Craig from Weare, NH

Vic, I'm sure you are enjoying the comments section regarding your trick play. I think you did that on purpose to see what we would say.

That play was designed for a kids' all-star team. My team would play another team in preparation for tournaments. We would invent trick plays and use them on each other; hidden ball tricks, etc. It was a way to get the kids alert for such things. I created the pop up play. When the other team got a guy on first base, I said to the other manager, "Send him, Bob." I smiled, so he knew something was coming. The runner took off, our pitcher pitched out and the catcher threw a short pop up to the second baseman. Everybody started yelling "I got it, I got it." His coaches were yelling "Stay there, stay there." The runner was confused. He stopped short of second base, and then began running back to first, where he was tagged out. All he had to do was continue on to second base. The lesson was be alert.

Scott from Sauk City, WI

Vic, I've been reading your column for quite a while now, so perhaps you've already addressed this, but your answer regarding your Bill Mazeroski photo made me wonder. As a professional writer, are you allowed to step back for a moment at any point and just be in awe of the guys around you? Is it forbidden to ask a guy for his autograph?

I have never and would never, ever ask a player for an autograph. To do so would be the height of unprofessionalism. I only have one player autograph. After Fred Taylor topped the 10,000-yard mark, he walked into my office and wrote a message on a picture and signed it for me. He did it of his free will. That picture hangs in my study, mostly for the message and the memories we shared. Fred went through some tough times early in his career, and he shared them with me. He became special to me, a player on whom I could always depend on telling the truth.

Ethan from La Crosse, WI

When the big money is spent on the QB, RB and LB positions, how important (and difficult) is it to keep a consistent offensive line? If you don't have a line to protect "The Man," he might not be "The Man" for very long.

The big-money positions are generally considered to be quarterback, left tackle, premier pass rusher and shutdown corner. You don't expect to find a franchise left tackle in the fourth round, as the Packers did with David Bakhtiari. His impact on the salary cap has been as profound as the protection he's offered Aaron Rodgers. At this point, Bakhtiari has to rank as one of Ted Thompson's best-ever draft picks.

Mike from Whitefish, MT

Any hunches as to the Packers' plan for investing their profits in future years?

I suspect development of the area adjacent to Lambeau Field is a big part of their plans.

Dan from Jamestown, NY

Vic, after a few consecutive days slipping lede into this column, I'm beginning to think you included it in your initial response knowing you would be called out, and to create a controversy. Mission accomplished.

Not true. I merely used a term I was taught and used during my years in the newspaper business. Lede is a word that always appeared in the slug on the first page of your story; that's right, once upon a time we wrote stories with typewriters and paper. I didn't make it a controversy; a reader did.

Brian from Stanley, WI

Vic, did you know the Steelers' "Terrible Towels" are made in Wisconsin? They are made in Chippewa Falls by a company that hires cognitively challenged adults and provides work programs for prior incarcerated people, homeless veterans and disadvantaged adults. Just thought you should know.

Go Stillers.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Which quarterback on the roster do you think will take the most preseason snaps?

Scott Tolzien.

Alex from Madison, WI

You seem to be putting your articles up a couple of hours earlier the last few days. Are you posting early because you're as excited for the season as we all are?

I don't post it. The poster must be excited for the season. I am, too.

Derek from San Diego, CA

Being from San Diego, I was at that game in 2011 when Rivers had to use his silent count. This is what I tell Chargers fans all the time about that game. Packers fans dominated in the rain that day.

Pride is seldom gracious.

David from Sun Prairie, WI

Are the Packers even close to winning the Super Bowl this year? It seems like they are one to two players away. What's your opinion?

One or two players? How about one or two plays? That was the difference last season.

Jamie from Lincolnshire, UK

What do you think about stadiums being named after sponsors, such as Gillette Stadium or Sun Life Stadium? I know it brings in more revenue, which ultimately is what it's all about, but don't you think it gives a team more identity to have a name with meaning, like Lambeau Field or Arrowhead Stadium?

I'm OK with teams naming stadiums after esteemed local companies that have a five-star reputation and will commit to a long-term naming rights agreement. Gillette is such a company in New England. What I'm against are naming-rights deals that change every 5-10 years. That's when a stadium lacks identity. Yes, I miss the charming stadium names – Mile High, Three Rivers, Riverfront – but this is a different day and age. Revenue is king and every team has an obligation to push the revenue envelope to the max, because the revenue is shared.

Darin from Toronto, ON

Vic, when you stated the other day your career would be incomplete if you hadn't come to Green Bay, how much of that was genuine and sarcastic? There are several storied franchises.

It was completely genuine. The Packers are the first NFC team I've covered. Covering the Packers has taken me to a part of the country I otherwise would've never known. It's introduced me to fans of a unique personality. It's exposed me to a rich history I otherwise wouldn't have learned. It's reminded me how much I hate cold weather and snow. Most of all, coming here has allowed me to cover big games again, and that's where the most lasting memories are created.

Corbin from Freeport, IL

On what day did God create Packers fans?

On the morning of the seventh day – there were no Monday or Thursday night games back then – God created a special fan. He wanted this fan to be winsome, so He gave this fan a calm and gracious personality. Admiring His work, He stepped back and said, "I'll call this one a Packers fan," and then He said, "And I'll give it extra-long arms," and then He laughed.

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