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Defense at key moments is the name of the game

Sanity has been restored, at least temporarily


Freddie from West Valley City, UT

Was it just me, or did the Pats' final play almost perfectly mirror the Miracle in Motown. Almost... What a game.

I thought Gronk was going to catch it. I really did.

Kevin from Solon Springs, WI

Third quarter of the Super Bowl and almost a thousand yards of offense. Maybe the Packers' defense wasn't that bad. This is the NFL.

Every game takes on a character and life of its own. No one saw this track meet coming, yet it was a defensive play that decided the game. The Eagles made one play on defense the entire second half, but it won the title. Defense at key moments is the name of the game.

Gary from Warsaw, IN

Super Bowl: Two teams who couldn't get the quarterback sack until the end. Is this now the most important part of defensive football?

It has been for a while.

Steven from La Crosse, WI

In the catch-rule wording, do they use "control" or "secure" when it comes to completing the catch? To me, those are two very different words.

On the Clement TD, I'm not sure if they ruled he had control or if they weren't absolutely sure his toe hit the end line. I'd actually like to know, because if it was the former, it's the first time in recent memory the "ball moving" didn't equate to "loss of control," which I think in this case was the right call. The ball may have been moving, but I thought he had it all the way.

David from Appleton, WI

All I could think when I saw the Ertz TD at the end of the game was, "Here we go again with the catch rule." I'm just glad they got the call right. One hundred guys in a bar without rooting loyalties would all call that a catch.

If three feet down is not possession and becoming a runner, we're all lost. Sanity with the catch rule has been restored, at least temporarily.

Chase from Sunnyvale, CA

Wow, what a game. That was no backup QB performance, and the gutsy calls made by Pederson, wow. The Eagles really earned that one.

They deserve all the credit in the world, but it's funny with all the controversies that replay reviews generate, Philly's illegal formation on the fourth-and-goal play at the end of the first half is getting zero traction. The great call and execution aren't the story today if the refs don't miss the penalty. I'm not saying it should be the story, but some missed calls clearly mean more than others.

Bryce from Billings, MT

Coach Pederson kept his foot on the gas pedal all night. Where would you rank that play call on fourth-and-goal on the gutsiest all-time list? I would put it No. 2 behind the Ice Bowl QB sneak.

I thought it was the gutsiest call in a Super Bowl since Sean Payton and the Saints started the second half with an onside kick eight years ago.

Dan from Grand Rapids, MI

I can't help but wonder how this all would have played out had the Falcons scored on fourth down. Football sure is crazy.

Congratulations, you get it. An MVP QB had four cracks on goal-to-go to knock the Eagles out in the divisional round and couldn't do it. This postseason could have gone so many different directions. Saints-Vikings, Jags-Steelers, Jags-Patriots. It's why it's so compelling.

Chris from Portland, CT

Can Gene Steratore call every game?

He's the best in the league, and he had to wait way too long for his first Super Bowl. It shouldn't be his last.

Ben from Eau Claire, WI

What do the Eagles do at QB next year? Do they go with one of the best young quarterbacks in the league in Carson Wentz, or a Super Bowl-winning quarterback and Super Bowl MVP in Nick Foles? Did one of them just go on the trading block?

C'mon now. Wentz is their guy. But with his injury occurring in December, if I'm the Eagles, I'm keeping Foles on my roster in 2018.

Nicholas from Portland, OR

The Eagles just proved why it's so important to have a solid, experienced backup quarterback. Any coincidence that their coach, Pederson, spent much of his career as one?

Probably not, but it makes for an unforgettable Super Bowl storyline.

Bruce from New Canaan, CT

Pederson called a great game but I must take issue with him running the ball on second down and 2:03 on the clock. Throw the ball and try to get a first down. An incompletion there is irrelevant from a time-management perspective.

I was thinking exactly the same thing. I was stunned Pederson didn't run play-action there. It was the perfect time for it. It was a mistake by New England to take the timeout with 2:03 left because it opened up Philly's playbook.

Trevor from Hartland, WI

I don't mean to take anything away from the Patriots' dynasty, but watching the Super Bowl reminded me again that I just don't think the Pats would've been nearly as dominant if they played in the NFC, or even a different AFC division.

Their postseason record away from Foxboro is nothing special – they've lost seven of their last 10 on the road or on neutral fields – but they get to play a lot of postseason games at home in part because they've dominated the AFC East for the better part of two decades.

Vishnu from San Luis Obispo, CA

Interesting how even the greatest of all-time can't pull it out when his defense gives up 40-plus points.


That, too.**

Keith from Normal, IL

Good morning, Mike. This is something I've always wondered. Has there ever been a Super Bowl MVP from the losing team? A player that did an outstanding job but ended up on the losing end?

Dallas linebacker Chuck Howley in Super Bowl V is the only one. Brady was outstanding in this game, his dropped pass on the trick play aside, performing as he did against that pass rush with limited mobility. He was amazing to watch. But the Eagles finally got to him when it mattered.

Brian from Schertz, TX

Congratulations to Jerry Kramer. Who do you predict will be the next Packer inducted into the Hall?


Charles Woodson in a few years. But I'm starting to wonder with what's going on at the safety position – Kenny Easley and Brian Dawkins getting in the last two years, John Lynch and Steve Atwater being finalists recently as well – if a door isn't starting to open for LeRoy Butler.**

Louie from Santa Fe, NM

No question, just a comment. "Yeah Spoff." A nice way to be greeted by Aaron Rodgers.


It was cool of Rodgers to give us a few minutes on the red carpet. We certainly appreciate it, and it was a fun conversation. I know he's disappointed about losing his QB coach, but he sounds pretty fired up about a lot heading into 2018.**

Bobby from Green Bay, WI

Is Aaron Rodgers going to stay a Packer? I've heard so many hot takes this year about how he needs to request a trade, and I have yet to hear him comment once dismissing them/saying he loves being with the Packers. Even if this isn't a good Inbox question, could you guys look into doing a story to counter some of these claims with some sanity?

I think Rodgers' on-camera interview Saturday night indicated he's not going anywhere. As for his previous acknowledgement he might, at some point, finish his career elsewhere, I think he was just being a realist, knowing what happened with his predecessor. Nothing more, nothing less.

Collin from Kirkwood, MO

During an interview last week, Aaron Rodgers raved about the Eagles' roster, emphasizing several acquisitions they made to help them get to this point. Rodgers often gives very calculated responses. Sending a message or reading too deep?

I think you answered your own question, don't you?

David from Gainesville, VA

If Jerry is not equal to Bart as to what defines a true Packer ambassador, he's a close second. Congratulations Jerry, well-deserved and overdue. Had the pleasure of meeting the man and he's a true gentleman.


He absolutely is, and it was a privilege to be there on such a special night for him. At 82, he was full of his usual vim and vigor, and he was gracious enough to stand there for 20 minutes and answer every last question from reporters. Incredible individual.**

Tim from Sun Prairie, WI

John Dorsey, Eliot Wolf, Alonzo Highsmith, Scot McCloughan, and a boatload of prime draft picks. The Browns are about to get really, really good.

I said before I think they can go from 0-16 to the playoffs in two years.

Austin from Caledonia, WI

Has a team ever had both the offensive and defensive rookie of the year before this year?

I believe you have to go all the way back to the 1967 Detroit Lions with running back Mel Farr and cornerback Lem Barney.

Michael from Eau Claire, WI

Dude. I grew up in Central Wisconsin when the only station we could get was CBS out of Wausau. We used to put tin foil on the rabbit ears to improve reception. To see Jerry Kramer on that stage tonight brought a tear to an old man's eye.

And you're starting your posts with "dude"? I love it.

Kevin from Rockton, IL

I've never been happier for any individual to be voted into any Hall of Fame. I wasn't going back to the Pro Football HOF until Mr. Kramer was enshrined. I guess I can now.


Former Packers G Jerry Kramer will be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend. Photos by Frank Rippon, AP, Laughead Photographers, Stiller-Lefebvre Collections, Evan Siegle & Matt Becker, packers.com

Kramer will be making his first visit to Canton, too. He said he was never going to go until he was invited. He had to wait 50 years into retirement to get it, and I hope he throws a party in Canton like no one has ever seen.**

Nate from Tucson, AZ

Spoff, can you please explain for Wes and Jason from Austin that there's more to officiating the out-of-bounds punt placement than "ballparking" it? It's actually a pretty slick process.

I'll let one of many Inbox readers provide the explanation.

Troy from Westminster, CO

In response to Jason from Austin, TX, officials are extremely accurate on where balls land out of bounds on punts. They're not guessing; the back judge lines up directly behind the punter and follows the angle of the ball while another official comes up the sideline until he intersects the back judge's line. That's why we see officials walking up the sideline, they're watching the back judge's signal. Technology wouldn't add much to that process.

Good old-fashioned geometry and teamwork.

Bill from Olathe, KS

When do the Packers have to decide if they are picking up the fifth-year option on Damarious Randall? Any feeling on which way the Packers will go? What is the fifth-year salary?

The deadline is usually in early May, and the salary for Randall would be the average of the third through 25th top salaries at his position. I'm not going to predict which way the Packers will go, but declining the fifth-year option does not mean the team is letting the player go. Nick Perry's option was declined but he was re-signed at a lower price for one year, and then he got a big multi-year deal later.

Ted from Findlay, OH

I have a response to Erik from Balsam Lake, WI, regarding the need for position coaches. He said, "I suspect that there's not much (fundamentally speaking) that a coach can teach an all-time great about the mechanics of the position." My best analogy is to professional golfers. They virtually all have coaches. Even the best can slip into bad habits and need the fundamentals reinforced. Same for pro football players.

For an elite player, the trick is to challenge his mind and body in different ways so the fundamentals are constantly being reinforced.

Steve from Pensacola, FL

Could a team set up all of their contracts simply as a percentage of the salary cap instead of real dollars? For example, a QB would get 20 percent of the cap for the length of the contract, another player might get 10.3 percent, another 0.4 percent, etc. It would keep your pay in line with increased cap numbers.

I don't think we'd ever see it for the full roster, but as soon as someone tries it for a franchise-type player or two, we'll see if it catches on. Douglas from Cambridge, MA, is wondering if the Packers would try it with Rodgers. I'm curious, too.

Henry from La Crosse, WI

Hey Insiders, who would you say is the most valuable linebacker the Packers have, in terms of ability and potential?

Ideally, he's not on the roster yet.

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