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Everybody's ready; the big game is upon us

What will you do to enjoy it?


Josh from Phoenix, AZ

Jags vs. Packers 2004 being the only Lambeau game I've attended, I vividly remember it being 13 degrees at kickoff. I was horrified by the cold. I got the feeling Del Rio didn't argue much about ejecting Darius for the clothesline on Ferguson. The crowd was at a Philly-like fever pitch. What was your perspective from the Jaguars side?

It's what safeties did back then. Dick Jauron is one of the most intelligent and measured men I have ever known. He was the Jaguars' defensive coordinator when the Jaguars drafted Donovin Darius. On the day Darius was drafted, Jauron said Darius would bring some violence to the Jaguars defense. Nobody was offended. The culture, indeed, has been changed.

Greg from Franklin, WI

Vic, in your writing, I can feel your deep respect for the football player as a man. Was there a particular interaction that struck home for you?

There have been several. Here's one: A long time ago, I was walking back to the dormitory after lunch at training camp. I was walking with two coaches. They saw a young man they identified as someone the team had released a week earlier. They called to him, he stopped, and one of the coaches asked the young man why he was still at training camp. The young man said, "I have nowhere to go." It stuck with me. We were done with him. The game didn't want him anymore. It had housed him and fed him and transported him. It told him where to go and when to be there. All of a sudden, he was on his own, and he had nowhere to go. That's human confrontation. It's at the root of this game.

Russ from Platteville, WI

Why is Tom Brady able to be so successful with the dink and dunk and we aren't, when the only two pieces that are noticeably different are the coordinator and the tight end? Please don't shy away from these questions like you usually do. I need a straight answer because it doesn't align with your answer to us about needing to run the ball. They are both elite quarterbacks.

I don't know the answer. I'm not a scheme guy. Here's what I can tell you about Brady: His coach was 5-13 when he made Brady the team's starting quarterback. Since then, Brady has won four Super Bowls, played in six and, frankly, should have six wins. Yet, the cast around him has changed on a yearly basis. What does it all mean? It means Bill Belichick belongs in the Hall of Fame for making Brady his starting quarterback.

Luvas from Atlanta, GA

Vic, in what way was the psycho package found to be vulnerable?

When the element of surprise wore off, there was no advantage to how the players were positioned.

Cristian from Reston, VA

Vic, when do you expect the game you love to disappear?

When the biggest games are played in the courts.

Rad from Jacksonville, FL

Have you had the chance to see Blake Bortles play at all this year? Do you think he has a chance to be special one day? Does he remind you of any other quarterback you have covered over the years? We miss you in Jacksonville!

He's coming to life. This could be fun for Jaguars fans to watch a young quarterback grow into stardom. I see some Jim Kelly.

T.J. from Murrells Inlet, SC

Anything specific Denver needs to do to beat Green Bay?

The Packers have a pretty good pass rush, too.

James from Tualatin, OR

What does Vic do on Halloween?

He goes to Denver, which means he won't have to answer the door and give candy to kids he doesn't know.

Dylan from Amery, WI

The autumn wind is a pirate.

I can hear the song as though I'm sitting in the press box at Oakland-Alameda Coliseum right now. The Raiders had a pregame ritual. As the various units came onto the field for pregame warmups, the PA guy would announce their arrival. "The Raiders offense," he'd say in a deep voice, and the band would play the song. It was the 1974 AFC title game, and I felt as though I was covering the war of the worlds. That's what the song that's associated with that poem means to me. I felt a sense of foreboding. So did my counterparts. The two media contingents even kept their distance. I didn't like it, but I'll never forget it. The song always takes me back. "The Raiders defense," and the band would play. They had no shot.

Russ from Richmond, VA

Aeneas, Alexander, Caesar, Cortes and McCarthy. Good company.

Coach Noll told his players "the only way the Corinthians could return home was victorious on Spartan ships. Men, we have to be that committed to victory today." No one had a clue what he meant, but it diverted their attention from the pressure of a big game. After the game, a tough-as-nails safety named Glen Edwards asked me, "Vic, what do you know about these (bleep) Corinthians?" Coach Noll was a very bright man.

Vic from Spooner, WI

Vic, on some of the longer plane rides, after you've finished your bulletin story and column, do you ever just get to sit and chat with these guys and talk about things in life other than football?

This Sunday, I'll finish writing, the plane will be dark and we'll have an hour left in the flight. I'm never more relaxed than I am at that moment. I'll think about my family and where they are. I'll think about anything that pops into my head. I always think about how lucky I am to have never worked a day in my life, after the sintering plant, of course.

Joshua from Cable, WI

Vic, I don't get excited about a screen. I do like play action, though. It demoralizes their defense twice.

After an offense has pounded away at a defense between the tackles, I smile inside when I see the quarterback put the ball in, take the ball out and then tilt his head back. You can have the dink and you can have the dunk. I wanna see the quarterback tilt his head back.

Lasse from Svendborg, Denmark

Before it disappears? Hasn't it already?

No, it's still a beautiful game. I sincerely hope the league and the Patriots can avoid another court case.

Pat from Edinburg, VA

Vic, will we see a Mason Crosby 60-yard or more field goal on Sunday?

How about for the win? Would you take it right now? I'll take that action.

Spencer from Denver, CO

Vic, I'm happy to report a staggering number of Packers fans already arriving in downtown Denver. I found myself saying "Go Pack!" every couple of minutes to a new crowd in green and gold.

Well, everybody, we've spent a week building the hype for the big game. Nothing beats a big game. It's here. Make sure you do everything you can to enjoy it. I will.

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