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Inbox: It always has been. It always will be

The Patriots weren’t just ready to play – they were ready to win


Jeff from Ogden, UT

My takeaway from the Super Bowl? Gladys Knight knocked it out of the park!

She the real MVP. Good morning!

Bob from Colby, KS

Let's call it "The Ironic Bowl." The league has done almost everything it can to ensure high-scoring games and then came "The Ironic Bowl."

I did enjoy that aspect of it. It's like getting all revved up to watch the new "Avengers" movie only to sit down and discover "Fried Green Tomatoes" is on. It's not that it's a bad movie – just unexpected.

Michael from Savage, MN

It was good to see Aaron and Brett both acknowledge that beating the Bears feels good. As someone who lives in Viking country, the fans here think they're the Packers' biggest rival. I keep telling those fans, it may be for them but Green Bay's biggest rivalry is still the Bears. Love your forum.

The Vikings might be the modern-day division rival for the Packers, but the true diehards know it's the Bears. It always has been. It always will be.

Jack from Wauwatosa, WI

Bernie from Jersey City asked "How are we going to win the Super Bowl next year?".....Wes' answer of "it's a game of fundamentals" was spot-on! Don't turn the ball over, tackle the guy with the ball and don't forget that 5 or 7 yards is still 5 or 7 yards. All these things worked for the Pats, Rams, Chiefs and Saints this year. The Pack will be back!

No Super Bowl champion in the last 46 years went undefeated because there are few tomato cans on a 16-game NFL schedule. The key to winning consistently is playing consistently. You may win a few games with a big comeback, a stellar individual performance or a timely takeaway, but most games are won by doing the little things right and making fewer mistakes than the other team.

Rick from Conshohocken, PA

Hey Wes, where do you fall on the veteran versus first- or second-year players on special teams debate? It seems the Packers traditionally hold on to those last few roster spots in the hopes of unearthing the next UDFA star. Then, you look at what Matthew Slater and Cordarelle Patterson did for the Patriots on Sunday and it makes you wonder. With the propensity for special-teams mediocrity in Green Bay, could we see a shift in this philosophy next season? Thanks!

You need veterans in my opinion. I'm not saying an entire roster of special-teamers, but a core unit. Slater is listed as a receiver with one catch in 11 seasons, but the Pats appreciate what he offers to their ST units. The Packers have had a few of those players in the past. Jarrett Bush, Jeff Janis and Chris Banjo quickly come to mind. I think there's value in having a few of those guys around.

Team photographer Evan Siegle shares some of his favorite images of the 2018 season.

Chris from Vancouver, Canada

I know it's early to ask this question, but I'd love to get your take on the two juggernauts of the NFC – Saints and Rams. Do you think these two teams will be as dominant next year or are their arrows pointing down? Here's hoping the Packers bounce back next season.

It's difficult to dominate every year. It's what makes the Packers' streak of eight consecutive playoff appearances special. I'm sure the Saints and Rams will be back in the hunt next year, but year-after-year success is no guarantee as the 49ers and Falcons have proved in recent years.

Steve from Eau Claire, WI

Insiders, I just read that this was the lowest-rated Super Bowl in 10 years, and down five percent just from last year. Do you think that has more to do with the fact that 1) the Patriots were there AGAIN, 2) a lot of people feel the Rams should NOT have been there, or 3) that it had hardly any of the offensive fireworks and point totals that so many of today's fans love?

The best teams aren't always the most entertaining teams. There weren't many interesting storylines to pull the average viewer in and the low-scoring first half didn't do the game any favors, either. It wasn't like the down-to-the-wire games between the Patriots/Falcons and Patriots/Eagles that built towards an exciting climax.

Ken from New York, NY

So, the Patriots tried to think of something that would jar the game loose, and they came up with running the same play three times in a row. Do you think that will be regarded as the deciding factor of Super Bowl LIII?

What's funny is I Googled "Patriots run same play" and you'd be amazed how often New England has done that over the last five years. Hey, if at first you don't succeed, right?

Steve from Spooner, WI

I know everyone wants a Super Bowl, but what are some realistic expectations for the Packers next year? 

You can't win a Super Bowl if you don't make the playoffs. Ending that two-year skid is where it starts. Once you're in, anything can happen.

Chris from Minneapolis, MN

We all want the star players who can make splash plays, but the Patriots showed us that good players who execute routine football on every down come out ahead. I don't see that approach catching on across the league, so I guess we should get used to seeing Brady holding up that trophy every year until he retires.

The great thing about the Patriots is every year they seem to have guys such as Kyle Van Noy and Patterson who didn't work out in other places, but they find a place for. If New England has taught the NFL anything – it's about finding the right free agents, not the highest-priced.

Ryan from Fredericton, New Brunswick

A Hall of Famer has to be consistently head and shoulders above their peers. Can we put this Julian Edelman thing to rest? Examples of Patriot franchise records: Wes Welker holds the four highest single-season reception totals, the highest single-season yardage total, most receptions in a game, most yards in a game, and career receptions. He was able to sustain this level of play for two elite quarterbacks. Wes Welker is not a Hall of Famer, therefore Julian Edelman is certainly not a HOFer.

The law of transitive property. Thank you. Case closed.

Trevor from Seattle, WA

Call me crazy, but I didn't see anything special out of Brady this weekend. He was off all night, didn't see the end zone, threw a pick, and finished the night with a QBR of 71. What was special was Edelman's performance. I agree he's not a HOFer, but he was unstoppable in the dink-and-donk game. Why do you think it took so long for him to be double-teamed last night? Side note: it would have been nice to see the game played with a healthy Gurley.

The greats have short memories. You're correct in that Brady didn't look good early, but he was at his best when he mattered most for New England just like I said he would. I'm honestly not sure why it took so long to get help over the top with Edelman, but the guy was still finding separation.

Bill from Menominee, MI

This Super Bowl did more for Belichick's legacy than Brady's. To get that type of performance out of his roster is unreal. He annually picks at the bottom of the order, signs free agents who don't know if there's another NFL check in their future, and miraculously has everyone prepared week to week, not only to stop an opponent, but to remove their strength. Having Brady certainly helps, but when your offense puts up 13 points, it's a little more obvious of the coaching contribution. Hats off!

I tend to agree. Belichick can talk about how players win games until he's blue in the face, but that was Bill's Super Bowl. The Patriots weren't just ready to play – they were ready to win.

Rich from Lake Zurich, IL

After the low-scoring Super Bowl and all the social media bashing about a boring game, do you think the NFL will make any rule changes or do something to 'force' more offense in future games? I hope not, the Patriots' plan was great and it got the job done. If this game was during the regular season, there would be no second thought about it. Thanks!

Absolutely not. That's the one element of the game that hasn't changed – develop any game plan you want within the rules and play to win. Floyd Mayweather isn't the greatest fighter of all time because he was the most entertaining. He was smart and fought defensively on his way to 50-0. The Pats did the same thing Sunday night.

Trevor from Hartland, WI

I thought the Sullivan hold was the play of the Super Bowl, or rather, the play that determined the game. Granted, the Rams offense was putrid, but that drive was the first time they got something going and was right after they had put up their first points to tie the game. That run put them into NE territory, but then - penalty, punt, NE TD, game. Between that and a seemingly blatant PI being not called on NE, it feels like the refs had a large hand in this one, too.

It's unfortunate because it looked like a football play to me (and evidently Tony Romo). So instead of a 13-yard gain to Patriots' territory, it becomes first-and-20 and the drive stalls three plays later. To win a Super Bowl, though, teams have to overcome bad breaks.

Bryce from Kenosha, WI

I can't recall if LA had one or two timeouts at the end of the half, but with several seconds left and NE taking a knee at the 1-yard line, does Sean McVay consider using timeouts to force NE to run a play, possibly resulting in a mistake, safety, or LA touchdown? There didn't seem like enough room for multiple kneel-downs there.

I've seen quite a few takes on this in the comments, but I don't think it was a big deal. New England has a strong interior offensive line. If Brady had to sneak it once or twice, the Patriots would have been fine.

Jonathan from La Crescent, MN

Do you think that was the worst collection of offensive players to win a Super Bowl?

No way. I'd take this Patriots team over what the Broncos had three years ago during Peyton Manning's final year.

Brad from Escanaba, MI

Which young wide receiver will step up to be the No. 2 or 3 guy next year? I'd love to see Jake Kumerow get the spot, if possible.

The Packers have a lot to figure out in the next couple months with Randall Cobb an unrestricted free agent and Geronimo Allison restricted. One way or another, it's going to be a wide-open race at receiver with three returning draft picks, Kumerow and Trevor Davis all under contract. That competition will bring out the best in that entire group this summer, especially if the Packers also add another rookie.

Al from Austinmer, Australia

I'm glad you brought up the Nickell Robey-Coleman hit. What on Earth was he meant to do? Let the guy run past him? How else is he going to make a play?

"You cannot control an accident" *Kevin Greene voice*

Craig from Selkirk, Scotland

Super Bowl Saturday? Nice ring to it! Maybe I missed it somewhere, but why not? More overseas fans able to tune in without a day off work and surely the casual fans in the US would be more inclined to watch just for the social side. But maybe I'm just biased! Keep up the great work guys.

The Super Bowl became the biggest event in all of sports and TV over the last 53 years with the game being played on Sunday. I agree it's brutal for European fans, but in a business where eyeballs mean dollar signs, what possible motivation would the NFL have to change it now?

Carlos from Lima, Peru

What are the requirements for Packers players (and GM, coaches, etc.) to get their names added to the Lambeau facade? Would players like Charles Woodson or Julius Peppers, when they get inducted to the HOF, be eligible, even if they spent most of their careers in other teams? Thanks!

While I believe Peppers is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, I don't think the Packers can claim him considering the most productive chunk of his career came in Carolina. It's kind of the same story as Ted Hendricks and Jan Stenerud, who only spent a short portion of their HOF careers in Green Bay. On the other hand, I think Charles Woodson definitely qualifies to have his name on the Lambeau Field façade. He spent seven seasons with the Packers and became a Pro Football Hall of Famer in Green Bay.

Kyle from Pittsburgh, PA

If the competition committee is going to look at OT rules again this offseason, do you think the NFL would ever consider going back to sudden death? I've thrown around the idea of getting rid of the coin flip and the last team to score in regulation has to kick off in OT. I hate the current rules almost as much as I hate ties. It doesn't seem like such a difficult problem, with a pretty elegant solution.

We'll see what comes out of the league meetings next month, but I don't see any other alternatives. The way the game is structured doesn't lend itself to an absolutely fair overtime no matter how you slice it.

Dale from West Allis, WI

Regarding the NFL 100 commercial: where were the Packers? And the woman in the red dress, is she someone I'm supposed to recognize?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I didn't see any Packers. The woman was Sam Gordon. She made waves in Utah back in 2012 when she put up a ton of rushing yards as a 9-year-old girl playing in a mostly all-male youth league.

Keagan from Tomahawk, WI

With the upcoming season of the AAF, can these players be drafted or would they be treated as an undrafted player, assuming a team in the NFL wants to sign them.

I'm pretty sure all of the participants in the AAF are NFL free agents who already went through the draft process. To the best of my knowledge, they're eligible to sign with an NFL team. At least, Josh Johnson did when Washington called late in the season.

Former Packers LB Julius Peppers announced his retirement from the NFL on Feb. 1, 2019, after 17 NFL seasons. Peppers spent three seasons in Green Bay, from 2014-16.

Ed from Minneapolis, MN

Hey Wes, you mentioned the combine. How are players "tapped" for an invite? Is it a formal letter/e-mail? Does it come through their coach? Or does a prospect have an agent by this point? Thanks for holding down the fort.

The NFL sends a formal letter to the player. Most players will sign with an agent as soon as their season is over and almost always by the end of January.

Tyler from Fargo, ND

Wes, is Spoff your boss? I hear that he is gone all week. When my boss is gone I don't do a single thing all day. I just sit here and space out. Nobody ever notices that I don't do anything. Although... perhaps that means I'm... expendable. Maybe I should get back to work.

While Spoff is not my boss, your submission reminded me of my favorite Dilbert cartoon where Dilbert says "I'm tense because the company is downsizing and I don't have a project." His colleague replies: "Being worthless at work is only hard for the first ten years. After that, it's a lifestyle." Keep on keeping on, Tyler.

Mike from Fort Wayne, IN

Does the media have set schedules during the combine or is it flexible enough for Spoff and you to take an early lunch?

Spoff is an old pro. The NFL puts out breakfast and lunch for reporters at the combine and Michael times it out like a hawk to prey. It's like watching Picasso work in pastel. Spoff owns the free cereal, muffins and juice. I'm slowly learning.

Todd from Omaha, NE

Wes, was it Halftime Heat or Maroon 5 for you?

Maroon 5, regrettably.

Scott from Hamlin, NY

I spent Sunday repairing 60 non-contiguous square feet of 200-year-old heart pine flooring and wiring a circuit for a microwave. Then I took a much needed Advil and went to bed. Are you telling me something else happened Sunday?

Adam Levine took his shirt off to dozens of cheers.

Mark from Carmel, IN

Wes, in my defense, it can't be a prediction if I wait until after the game is over to hit send. Thank goodness I didn't bet that hunch!

Imagine being the poor soul who bet the over.