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Fans are in control of coaches' futures

Packers left halftime locker room committed to starting over


Mike from Thornton, CO

Did Garrett throw Romo under the bus?

Yeah, I think he did. I would've expected him to allow his quarterback to volunteer accountability for having changed the play, instead of assigning it.

Andrew from West Allis, WI

Amazing game to watch. The Cowboys had a huge lead, but stopped running the ball while averaging 7.5 yards a carry. The Packers couldn't run the ball well at all in the first half, but stuck to it even down by 23. Do you think this was what won and lost it for both teams?

One team left the locker room at halftime committed to playing better, the other team left the locker room to get the win they had already decided was theirs. That's the way I saw it. Mike McCarthy focused his team on getting back to the fundamentals of its game plan. He focused his team on starting over; running the ball and selling play action. The Cowboys lacked focus, in my opinion. If there is one glaring statistic from yesterday's game, it's that despite all of the yards the Cowboys gained, they hadn't converted a third down through the first three quarters of the game; they were 0-for-7. It was too easy for them. Maybe that's what caused them to lose focus.

Scott from Madison, WI

So is it hope or disbelief in your inbox today?

Mostly hope, with a large portion of disbelief and a dash of chortling.

Michael from Las Vegas, NV

ESPN, NFL Network, FOX seemed to focus on the Cowboys losing the game rather than the Packers winning it. Would you frame it that way?

There are two sides to this story. There's the side of the story that goes to the Packers' courageous comeback, and there's the side that goes to the Cowboys' careless collapse. The Cowboys have developed a penchant for losing important late-season games. That's what's causing the media to put them under the microscope. When you applaud yourself and celebrate yourself as the Cowboys do, you also make yourself a target. When aren't the Cowboys a big story?

Mark from Bettendorf, IA

Vic, what is the greatest comeback you have ever seen in person?

If you're talking about all games, then it would be a college football game I saw a long time ago between Pitt and West Virginia. The score was 35-8 at halftime; the final score was 36-35. As for pro games, I can't remember covering anything that compared to the Packers' second-half rally yesterday. I'll never forget it.

Jason from Fort Worth, TX

Vic, I experienced my first Packers game on Sunday, and boy was it a good one to start with. My question for you concerns your stance on motivational speeches. You have previously said you are not for them when, in fact, you got the crowd pretty pumped up at the Packers Everywhere pep rally in Dallas the night before. I was just wondering where that intensity came from?

That was just having fun, but I didn't lie to you. I said on Saturday night that I firmly believed that if the Packers win their remaining three games they'll win the division title, and I said the Dallas game was the big one because I thought it was the most challenging. I can't imagine another game being more challenging than the 23-point deficit the Packers faced at halftime yesterday. I like the Packers Everywhere pep rallies because everybody goes there to have fun. I don't wanna spend the night before a big game talking about what coaches need to be fired. I enjoyed the rally because I enjoyed meeting the people that attended. As Jimmy Cannon said a long time ago, he liked being a sportswriter because he liked being in happy places. Jimmy would've loved Packers Everywhere pep rallies.

Brian from Homen, WI

So if nobody that coaches deserves to get fired because their team is bad, why are so many head coaches on the hot seat? Leslie Frazier comes to mind. Is it the players or the coach of that team that are the cause of their lost season?

That's a question owners have to decide, and they often make the wrong decision. In many cases, I would even say in most cases, coaches are fired because the air has been poisoned by the fans' demands for a victim. When the public outcry becomes toxic, it becomes a severe distraction. An embattled coach will have difficulty focusing his team. They lose confidence that he'll remain their coach. When it gets to the point that he's a lame-duck coach, it's over. That's what happened to Gary Kubiak last week. Fans are in control of coaches' futures. If they complain hard enough and loud enough, they'll make it impossible for a team to stick with a guy.

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