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Debating Aaron Rodgers' greatness is silly

The media need to be above the fans


Robert from Coupeville, WA

Do you think a time will come when the NFL, fans and/or media push for recalibrating the whole statistics thing? Comparing Manning's touchdown count to Unitas' is beyond absurd. I've seen Brees remain in a game time and again when they were being blown out, simply to keep his passing TD streak alive. It has gone beyond obnoxious and I even find very casual fans who think it is silly. Your thoughts?

I don't want us to become so consumed with stats and rankings that we develop an algorithm for comparing the eras. That's too cold and calculated for me. I think it's good to have a romantic attachment to players and eras, and to rank those players and eras according to our romantic attachments. My eyes know what they saw. My heart knows what it felt. Nobody can use a stat to change the opinion of either.

Keith from Lake Forest, IL

Vic, I'm not attacking your choices, as they are your opinions, however, I found it odd you would pick Keenan McCardell and Anquan Boldin as Davante Adams comparisons. You couldn't have picked two more different NFL wide receivers. Yes, both were/are possession guys, but McCardell was 175 pounds drenched in sweat and Boldin at 220 pounds is among the strongest wide receivers in this decade. I'm unsure how those comparisons read for Adams?

McCardell's playing size was 6-1, 191, and that's with the sweat off. Adams is 6-1, 215 and Boldin is 6-1, 220. I think those are comparable sizes. None of them are speedsters. They're dependable, good-hands playmakers. That's my point.

Kaleb from Boulder, CO

Vic, I'm really curious about this situation involving Linsley and a returning Tretter at center. In three weeks, the coaches have to decide whether or not to put Tretter on the 53-man roster. Linsley has played pretty well, but I'd hate to see Tretter's talent not on the field at some point. What would you do, Vic?

Pick one.

Randy from Orlando, FL

I see there is yet more news about Jameis Winston. If the NFL really wants to clean up the issues with player conduct, shouldn't it start at the college level? Would it be unrealistic to ban players from even joining the NFL for infractions that happen in college or high school? We do it in the normal workplace. Or is there just too much money involved?

It's not the NFL's place to be judge and jury of the lifestyles of college football players. I don't even like the NFL being judge and jury of the lifestyles of NFL players. College football is very inconsistent in how it deals with players who've committed an infraction against the student code or against society in general. Those college football programs that don't aspire to the national title chase and the big-time arena tend to be quicker and harsher in penalizing offending players than the power programs are. The power programs tend to be arbitrary in how they handle violating players. They make sure they don't penalize themselves, and that bothers me. College football is one of the filters for the NFL.

Dominic from Islington, UK

Vic, as a (relatively) young fan, I'm amazed the 32-team league I know and love wasn't that way pre-2002, especially when eight divisions of four makes so much sense. Was it always the ambition to get to the neat 32 teams?

When I began covering the NFL, there were 26 teams in six uneven divisions. The AFC Central and West and the NFC Central and West each had four teams; the AFC East and NFC East each had five teams. The game was growing and the league expanded with the Bucs and Seahawks in 1976, but the league remained at six divisions. In 1995, the NFL expanded by two teams once more, as the Jaguars and Panthers were born, but the league remained at six divisions. It was the move of the Browns to Baltimore and the NFL's commitment to replace the Browns in Cleveland with a new Browns franchise that by and large provided the impetus to a 32-team, eight-division league, which the NFL achieved with the expansion Texans (they replaced the Oilers, which had moved to Tennessee and became the Titans), and realignment. Here we are, and I don't think I'll see another expansion. There'll be movement, but I don't think there'll be another expansion.

Jeff from Appleton, WI

Vic, as a Steelers fan, do you recognize the Packers have won more championships than them?

Yeah, and it hurts. It's tough being a fan sometimes.

Jonas from Tromso, Norway

Vic, when did pro football start going from something that happened on Sundays to something fans live and breathe every day?

The hardcore fan always lived and breathed football. It's the arrival of the casual fan that has made the NFL a national obsession.

Samuel from Green Bay, WI

I was looking at some numbers dealing with the starting quarterbacks and I noticed that not a single starting QB at the beginning of the year attended the same college. Is this the norm for the NFL or is finding the next franchise QB really that difficult?

You find football players where you find football players. That's what it says. Ohio State and Penn State have been playing football for a long time at the highest level. How many great quarterbacks have they produced? Florida? USC? Those are powerhouse programs. Unitas played at Louisville. Favre played at Southern Miss. You find them where you find them.

Jon from Nashville, TN

Man, I miss you covering the Jags. Anyways, I'm having a healthy debate about which is more important, the players or the coaches. Can coaches and schemes compensate for lack of talent on the field?

Coaches are extremely important to the success of a franchise – they determine the direction and philosophy – but there isn't a coach that won't tell you he's powerless without talented players. The Jaguars aren't 0-6 because Gus Bradley can't coach. The Jaguars are 0-6 because they're rebuilding their roster.

Jordan from Yountville, CA

Vic, you've said several times Rodgers is the best in the game. I agree. Hypothetically, if you were forced to defend your opinion of Rodgers' status as the best to Skip Bayless, what would you say? I saw Skip recently say he was zero impressed with Rodgers' final drive vs. the Dolphins because he fumbled, Grimes fell down on the fourth-down play, and the fake spike was reckless and foolish, especially to a rookie. All true. I would say they won on the road in the heat against a good defense, and if not for Rodgers they wouldn't have.

I wouldn't feel compelled to debate this subject. Debating degrees of greatness is silly. Sometimes I succumb to it before I pinch myself and stop. What are we saying here? Aaron Rodgers isn't a great quarterback? How ridiculous is that statement? Here's my argument for what Rodgers did on Sunday in Miami: The moment I knew the Packers were getting the ball back, I knew they would win. In my mind, it was over. All I had to do was get the facts right in my story.

Bill from Plover, WI

Vic, I heard two statements this weekend about how the Packers changed plays at the line of scrimmage. One said Aaron changed the play as many as five times before the snap. Another said most of the play changes are not made by voice but by gestures. Do these agree with what you know (or what you see) about Packers play calling?

I don't know the Packers' audible system, but I know from experience – as I've written – that when the other team knows your audible system, you have to dummy it up, and that means having to do a lot more work at the line of scrimmage. Maybe Skip Bayless should be reminded of that fact about Rodgers' performance on Sunday.

Brent from Chippewa Falls, WI

I just saw an article asking if Clay Mathews is starting his decline. Really? Is this sports media now, ripping apart great players for headlines? I don't like it, Vic.

I know the reason for it, but I don't like it either. The media need to be above the fans or the media become the fans.

Dennis from Guatemala City, Guatemala

Vic, some national media coverage has stated Carolina doesn't match up well with Green Bay and predicts Green Bay will win big this week. Do you concur?

I like the Packers a lot this week. I think they're playing at a very high level and I think they're going to stay on a roll.

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