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Could be a big shakeup in the playoff picture

Chuck Noll helped shape my life


John from San Francisco, CA

Well, they spelled his name right. It's amazing Chuck Noll isn't more well known. His story is so cool. Sorry for your loss, Vic.

Chuck won more Super Bowls than any coach in history, but I doubt that meant much to him. Chuck loved to shape young lives, and he helped shape mine. I think he knew that.

Jake from Harrisburg, SD

Every sport requires hard work, offseason preparation, perseverance, blood, sweat, tears, etc. I wholeheartedly agree with your comparison of football to soccer, but what exactly is it about football, high school football especially, that makes it superior to any other sport in the world? What magic does it possess that teaches life lessons better than anything in life?

It possesses human confrontation as no other sport I played or could've played does. I love the confrontation between pitcher and batter with the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the ninth. That's a wonderful confrontation, but it doesn't possess the primitive physical challenge football presents on every play. Have you ever looked into the eye of another person who you know to be bigger and stronger than you, and knowing his sole purpose for the next few seconds is to hit you as hard as he possibly can? Your response will directly affect your self-esteem. I know of no sport I could've played that provided that kind of test, and I needed that test. I wanted to take that test because I needed to prove to myself I could pass it. All young men need to take that test. As George Young once said to me, that's why they send young men to war. I would rather young men take that test on a football field than in war.

Tony from Harrisonburg, VA

I just read that baseball has recently expanded its instant replay to include, among other things, manager's challenges, and I realized I'm finally on your side on this issue. Instant replay should go and we should accept that mistakes are part of the game and get on with it.

With all due respect to Bud Selig, replay review is the biggest rules mistake baseball has made since the designated hitter. An umpire makes a controversial ruling, and instead of the manager exploding from the dugout in protest, he calmly walks out of the dugout and informs the crew chief he wants to challenge the call. Everybody stands around as the play is reviewed, and then a final ruling is provided and it is accepted without further protest. The drama is gone. No kicking dirt. No picking up the base and carrying it off. No fun, just correctness. For whatever reason, replay review doesn't lend itself to baseball as it does to football.

John from Peoria, IL

Vic, what do you think kept Chuck Noll from getting another NFL job after he left the Steelers?

He wasn't fired, he retired. He was 60 years old when he retired and he had other things he wanted to do. In 1995, Chuck told me his old friend Mike McCormack, who was then the general manager of the expansion Carolina Panthers, asked Chuck about coming out of retirement to coach the Panthers, but Chuck wasn't interested. He did what he wanted to do in football and then moved on to another phase in his life, and he dropped out of football completely.

Grant from Plover, WI

I haven't heard much about Jared Abbrederis, and I think I'm speaking for most Packers fans when I ask how has he been doing?

It's spring and I think I speak for most coaches when I say nothing should be taken too seriously in the spring. Abbrederis has looked great fielding punts. He's as natural as they come. He had a tough day last Tuesday in the receiving game, but it's OTAs and no catch or drop should count too much.

Jake from Muncie, IN

With "Lighten Up and Have Some Fun Week" having come to a close, what will the theme of this week be?

Let's make it "Goodbye Spring, Hello Summer Week."

Travis from Green Bay, WI

Vic, as it stands on paper, who do you see making the playoffs this year?

My playoff favorites in the NFC would be Packers, Lions, Eagles, Saints, Seahawks and 49ers. It's in the AFC that I see the potential for major change: Patriots, Jets, Ravens, Steelers, Colts and Chargers. No Broncos? I think their performance in the Super Bowl is going to be difficult to overcome.

Don from Roscoe, IL

Vic, the yard is full of rabbits. They've taken my hickory sapling, my redbud plant, my mimosa trees and all of my tulips. Illinois bag limit seems to be four per day. If I max out, I'll rid myself of the vermin sometime before I receive my season tickets in 35 years. You want to try your hand at hunting?

After the snow melted and the winter of my discontent passed, I found a stiff piece of dried animal fur on a patch of grass outside my backdoor. It was either a squirrel or a rabbit, but either way its time had long since passed; I threw it in the weeds. A few weeks later, I saw a little bunny poke its head out of the bush outside my backdoor. He'd go to the grass line, eat some grass and then duck back into the bush. I never saw two, just one. Each day he'd get a little bigger, and he'd come a little closer to me. After a while, I noticed he was following me whenever I went outside. It could've been a she, but I usually don't have that effect on the opposite sex. He began venturing farther out into the grass, and then last week I saw him running free, back toward my wood pile, where all of the other rabbits live. I have a feeling that dried piece of fur was his mother, and his brothers and sisters didn't make it. How could I ever end the life of something with such a great will to live?

Adam from Oshkosh, WI

Vic, I think dinner and a movie at Lambeau is a great idea. What I like even more about it is this: prior "Ask Vic Days" were in the middle of the day; I assume dinner and a movie to be late enough in the day so that a guy working in Ripon, Wisc., doesn't have to take a day off to attend.

We plan to offer registration for this year's "Ask Vic Day" beginning on Tuesday. If you're interested in attending, you might want to register for it as soon as possible.

Danijel from Stolac, Bosnia and Herzegovina

"And I don't think kids can get those lessons from soccer." From my personal experience, I can tell you that you are wrong.

I've never played soccer, but I doubt seriously it can replicate the confrontation football offers. I know of no other sport I could've played that gives you the feeling of hearing your number called in the huddle for a goal line play, and then coming out of the huddle to see all 11 guys on defense looking right at you. The ball is on the one and everybody in the stadium knows who's getting it. You're getting it. You're the man. Victory or defeat rests with you. Soccer? Baloney.

Brian from Albertville, AL

If we beat Seattle, we'll go 16-0. We are better than the rest of them. If you had an opinion, what would you say about that?

I want to be careful how I express my opinion because I want to make sure nobody takes great offense, so I'll tell this story. When I was a kid, Jackie Robinson did a commercial for "Chock full o'Nuts" coffee. When Robinson expressed an opinion on a controversial issue and Casey Stengel was asked what he thought of Robinson's opinion, Stengel said he thought Robinson was chock full of nuts. Please don't take great offense. Maybe we should make this "Don't Take Great Offense Week."

Aaron from San Diego, CA

Do you think Packers fans would still hate the Bears if they knew how important they were to the Packers staying in Green Bay?

I don't think Packers fans really hate the Bears. I think it's a kind of twisted love-to-hate-the-Bears kind of thing. The Bears are part of the Packers' identity. It's the oldest rivalry in pro football and Packers fans treasure that distinction. There's a large measure of respect Packers fans have for the Bears that borders on love for the distinction the rivalry provides. Packers fans need the Bears or they lose something they treasure. The most intense rivalries don't include anything but hate or intense dislike. I don't sense any great respect for Jim Harbaugh or Colin Kaepernick, just intense dislike. My inbox is jammed with dislike for Harbaugh's sideline antics and for Kaepernick kissing his biceps. When you get that kind of nonsensical reaction to a football game, you've got the ingredients for a rivalry. Beat them and see what happens.

Nasim from East Orange, NJ

The Green Bay Packers face one of the best defenses in the league in Week 1. What do the Packers' offensive players or what specific players will have to step up against this stingy defense in order to win?

Aaron Rodgers is "The Man." He's the best quarterback in the game and I guarantee you the Seahawks are as respectful of him as the Packers are of the Seahawks defense. I think the Packers match up well against the Seahawks.

Daniel from Jerusalem, Israel

Vic, how is it possible some players don't know a game can end in a tie, while other players are savvy enough to know that if you step out of bounds before fielding a kickoff, it's like the kickoff went out of bounds?

They know what they have to know because they are taught what they need to know.

Andy from Suring, WI

Vic, I noticed Hall of Fame coach Chuck Noll passed away. Where would you rank him in the talks of greatest coaches?

This is not the time for that. A man's passing is not about lists or rankings. A man's passing is a time for appreciating his life and what it added to ours. As sports fans, we've got to take our sportsmanship to a higher and more respectful level. Watching the U.S. Open yesterday, it was again disappointing to see how rudely some fans treat golfers visiting our country. Cheer another man's miss because he's not an American? Don't we understand the rest of the world is watching and it is judging us by our behavior? We need to be more gracious. Where does Coach Noll rank? He ranks among the greatest coaches in the history of the game, a group that includes Lombardi and Brown and Landry and Walsh a lot of other great coaches whose contributions are worthy of greater regard than assigning an order to them.

Bill from Clive, IA

Recently, you mentioned this could be the best team of the McCarthy era. How would you compare the teams Rodgers has had to work with vs. the Holmgren-produced teams Favre had to work with?

The Holmgren teams were able to get better faster because free agency was just beginning and teams didn't know how to deal with it. Those teams, however, had to deal with the Dallas and San Francisco dynasties, and they often blocked the way to the Super Bowl.

Dan from Waupun, WI

Did you enjoy the Stanley Cup playoffs?

Hockey is the most underappreciated of all sports. The Kings won in the most dramatic of fashions, but there's almost no buzz about it. It's unfortunate.

Charlie from Morgan Hill, CA

Vic, I think it would be fun if all of your readers submitted their guess on Sept. 4 as to what your prediction is going to be on Sept. 5. Those that get it right go into a pool for a prize to be determined by you. I'll be on board on Sept. 4.

That might be a little over the top. I have something in mind and I think my readers know I won't lie about it, but I'm going to keep it to myself until Sept. 5 because I'm afraid somebody might take great offense. We've become a very sensitive people. We must, at all cost, make sure nobody takes great offense.

Jared from San Antonio, TX

Vic, I found the funniest thing today. There's a Facebook page called "Fire Vic Ketchman." It was started in 2013. Someone you banned had their feelings hurt. You should be careful, though; it has 15 likes in one year. I posted a comment and it was deleted.

I do not take great offense.

Brett from Green Bay, WI

Vic, I think teams need four preseason games to get ready for the season. What do you think?

I don't think they're using the preseason games fully to get ready, because I don't think teams are ready when the regular season begins. I think training camp is being used to avoid injuries and I think the preseason is being used to evaluate talent. Two games are enough.

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