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Inbox: It's become more than just a game

Culture is the soil from which championships are grown 


Aaron from Tomah, WI

Want a good example as to why teams should have a quality slot receiver? Did anyone see the MVP of the Super Bowl? 'Nuff said.

What does Johnny Hekker's leg have to do with the importance of slot receivers? Good morning!

Ross from GrandView, WI

I noticed some confusion about the first two Super Bowls and no crowd. The NFL championship had already been held and many considered the Super Bowl an exhibition of little interest. The AFL at the time was just coming into its own. The fact the game was more than most thought it would be generated more interest in No. 2. The game took off when Joe Namath and the Jets won Super Bowl III. And Wes, sarcasm is difficult in print, and you are doing quite well at it lately.

I don't know about that, Ross. There were a few (very angry) readers who thought I was serious when I said Mayweather's win over McGregor solidified him as the greatest fighter of all-time.

Nate from Amherst, WI

I'll chime in on the Sean McVay coaching tree discussion with a point that seems to be missed. When Matt LaFleur spoke of what he learned from McVay, he didn't talk about his innovative offense or creative mind; rather, he talked about how he builds up everyone around him. This is why McVay isn't a flash in the pan. Leadership lasts.

That's a great point. Everyone is so enamored with McVay's offense and the Rams' quick rebuild, but few mention everything that went into getting LA to this point. McVay knows football, but he's also heavily invested into promoting the culture of his football team. Culture is the soil from which championships are grown. That's the basis of McVay's brilliance, not motioning receivers in the backfield.

Josh from Nicholasville, KY

I think one aspect from the Super Bowl being overlooked is the lack of fan base for the Rams. It sounded to me like they were at Gillette Stadium. Do you think if the Rams actually had a stronger turnout the game might have been different?

This was an underrated part of the story Sunday. I don't know if more Rams fans would have changed the outcome, but that was one of the better home-field advantages I can remember one team having in recent Super Bowl history.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

Regarding moving the SB to Saturday, you would be cutting off a whole day of extra-curricular activities and vacation spending in the host city. So revenue cuts = no dice.

Like the NFL itself, the Super Bowl has become more than just a game. It's a celebration. Fans don't just show up at 5:30 p.m. CT and take their seats. They shop. They tailgate. They participate in all the other events going on in the host city. If you move the game to Saturday, you're taking an entire day of festivities away – and a day of revenue.

Fransua from Brandon, FL

What is the status of Kapri Bibbs? Is he a FA or still on the team? I loved his story and his makeup. I really think he will be a great addition to the RB room. Thoughts?

Bibbs is a free agent, but hopes to stick around as a veteran option in the backfield. That's a decision for Brian Gutekunst and the Packers' front office, but **Bibbs’ passion for the Packers was a cool storyline** late in the season.

Jayne from Sheboygan, WI

Is it realistic to think even with the recent changes on the team, we could still build a strong enough team to win a Super Bowl soon?

Stranger things have happened in the NFL. The Rams won four games two years ago. You never know.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

What do you think will be the biggest difference between the 2018 roster and the 2019 roster?

We'll start to see more of Brian Gutekunst's imprint on the roster. It also should be fun to read the transaction tea leaves this offseason to gain a better understanding of what the Packers plan to emphasize under LaFleur.

Rob from Wilmington, NC

The win in Chicago to go to Super Bowl XLV was one of the best. I also love that we won the George Halas Trophy on the Bears' turf.

I still remember more about that NFC Championship Game than the Super Bowl itself. Having helped edit the Press-Gazette's Super Bowl book, I can't put into words how much it meant to the city of Green Bay for the Packers to beat the Bears en route to Super Bowl XLV. It was special.

Alex from Kentwood, MI

I still laugh at my Bears fan friends about not just the Cobb TD dagger, but also the Raji INT TD dagger! There is nothing like beating the Bears!

Serious question: where does the Raji touchdown rank in all-time recorded moments in Packers' history? Top five? Top three?

Al from Green Bay, WI

Wes, congratulations! The NFL has just named you (and you alone) to be the competition committee. You are free to make any rule changes or clarifications you deem appropriate over the next few months. So, what are your changes?

I'd make all 15-yard and spot-of-the-foul penalties reviewable, with automatic booth review inside two minutes. I'd also encourage referees to not put as much stock into the call on the field when reviewing penalties. Who cares what an official who barely saw the play thinks in the heat of the moment, you know?

Brian from Edgerton, WI

The Super Bowl commercial for the first responders had a picture of Clay Matthews. I never remember reading or hearing a story about his brush with death. Do you have any insight into this?

Clay was five or six when he fell face first off his scooter and onto the asphalt. He was knocked unconscious and later diagnosed with a concussion, but the first responders got there in five minutes to bring him to the hospital.

Jamie from Rhinelander, WI

When is Charles Woodson eligible for the Packers HOF?

I believe next offseason.

Cindy from Los Angeles, CA

The Bears sold a lot of draft picks getting Mitchell Trubisky and Khalil Mack, and while they had a great year, they flamed out in the first round. What do the Bears have to do to keep from going back into the dark with a lack of high draft picks for the next few years?

While the defense is excellent, the Bears need Trubisky to take the keys to the car and not give them back. Talk all you want about Mack, but that quarterback is who will determine how long this window stays open for Chicago.

Bill from Brookfield, WI

Will the Packers be able to determine Cole Madison's intentions to play or not prior to the draft?

We're getting these questions by the truckload each day. I promise you we'll ask for an update at the NFL combine. Until then, I'm shelving these Madison questions.

Davy from Chetek, WI

So Nick Foles bought out his contract, and will now likely be franchise tagged. I can't recall hearing about another player doing a contract buyout. I didn't even know it was possible. What is involved in something like that? How does it work?

Foles didn't buy out of his contract. He just exercised his player option to void the deal and become an unrestricted free agent. It's not uncommon for teams and players to work two-way options into contracts. They're extremely common in baseball.

Thomas from Dunkerton, IA

Come clean, Westinghouse. You don't like ties because you would get too many questions asking if a 10-4-2 record is better than 11-5.

You got me.

Mitch from Caledonia, WI

Wes, I am also in favor of an overtime being an additional quarter whether it's 5, 10, or 15 minutes. Your response about the length of the game mattering to TV networks got me thinking. Why should the TV networks even have a say in the matter? FOX and CBS didn't invent football. If it's better for the game and makes the outcome more fair/exciting, the networks should just have to deal with it. It's not as though an extra 10 or so minutes would cause them to not broadcast the games. Thoughts?

Networks didn't invent football, but they sure as heck pay for it. If you're a contractor building a house for somebody, you're going to listen to what they have to say.

For the first time in Milwaukee, the Green Bay Packers hosted "Empower," a leadership event for approximately 280 Milwaukee Public School middle school students.

John from Clintonville, WI

I like the idea of making OT a full quarter (even a shortened one). The answer if it ends with a tie score? Easy. Borrow the shootout idea from hockey. Both kickers alternate FG tries starting at extra point yardage and moving back 5 yards at a time. When one kicker misses and the other scores from the same distance, the game is over. That would make for nail-biting drama.

On the surface, it's not the worst idea in the world, but the home kicker would have a significant advantage over the opponent. I also don't know if I could sign off on a physical and strategic game with 92 active players being determined by two kickers. It's not soccer.

Joycel from River Falls, WI

Kyle from Pittsburgh, PA had a great point about bringing back sudden death and the last team to score in regulation has to kick off in OT. It's weird. I had the same idea a couple weeks ago. If a team knows they will have to defend a score in OT, they might be more likely to go for a TD instead of settling for a FG to tie, or go for two instead of taking the (semi) easy one-point conversion to tie. Seems like the best solution to the OT controversy is to avoid it altogether.

But what about if the last score happened in the second quarter? Does that team still kickoff 2½ quarters later?

Scott from Fredonia, WI

I'm in the minority but I don't have a problem with the current overtime rules. There's nothing unfair about it, each team has an equal chance of winning the toss. Both teams had 60 game minutes to prove themselves the victor. Let the football gods decide. Luck factors into the game so much anyway, what's a bit more? Do you want to make the ball spherical to take away unlucky bounces?

My brain is starting to hurt with all these overtime suggestions. The more we discuss it, the more I feel the current system is the best policy. It's like the old fighting analogy – don't leave it in the judges' hands. If you're not a fan of coin-flips, prove your point in the first 60 minutes.

Craig from Laramie, WY

Am I irrelevant? I watched LIII and saw an impressive display of two powerhouse teams figuring out how to stifle each other's strengths almost to a stalemate. I did not recognize one single song in the "biggest concert of the year." I felt no inclination to "change the rules so we get more offense." I am not waiting for the NFL to pander to my whims and elevate the already absurd level of fanfare just to win my viewership next year. I came here for the football. Am I irrelevant?

You are not irrelevant. You are my hero.

Derrick from Rockaway, NJ

Now it's time for one of my favorite events all year. Watching A.J. Hawk absolutely destroy a fan during the upcoming golf event. Which player on the Packers would you want to tackle you the least?

Antonio Morrison.

Chris from Richland Center, WI

The Atlanta Falcons haven't been the same team since they lost to the Patriots in SB LI. What do the Rams have to do to avoid the same fate? I'm asking because Matt Ryan was coming off an MVP season, and immediately following the SB, I didn't see the Falcons falling so far in two years. We assume the Rams are on the verge of being perennial contenders, but maybe not? Love the column guys!

The Falcons' situation is peculiar. Matt Ryan didn't have his best year in 2017, but the guy threw for nearly 5,000 yards this past season and finished with a 108.1 passer rating. I think the bigger issue is how that promising young core hasn't taken that next step. Devonta Freeman, Keanu Neal and Deion Jones have all been injured, and Vic Beasley has only 10 sacks in his last 30 games after recording 15½ sacks in 2016.

Tomáš from Ratíškovice, Czech Republic

Really Wes, you want to compare your friends watching premier league, where most of the matches are played at 4 p.m. (9 a.m. Wisconsin time) and even the earliest games are 1:30 p.m. and it's Saturday. You want to compare that to us European NFL fans who set alarms for 2:15 to watch Thursday, Sunday and Monday Night Football? Watch the game and then go to work at 6 a.m. Not even close.

Well, I could have used the example of me setting alarms for 3 a.m. to watch UFC Shanghai, ONE and Rizin, but I didn't want to make this about me.

David from Tacoma, WA

"I think writers try way too hard to make a hipster pick..." Is that the type of pick that they're "over it" once others start agreeing with them & it becomes mainstream consensus? The one where the writer dons lens-less horn-rimmed glasses, jeans so tight they're forced to speak nasally and a middle-aged man bun before they make the pick? Or the one where the writer tries too hard to be different that the general population turns them into a meme? If so, which one do you fall under?

I desperately need my glasses to see and don't have enough hair for a man bun, so definitely the last one.

Drake from Owens Cross Roads, AL

How long do you think it'll be before the next Jeff Janis gets his own street name?

I believe I saw a man in his driveway welding a 'Kumerow Court' sign on my way into the office this morning.

Larry from Green Bay, WI

Would you see any of the players from the AAF gets looks in the NFL or would they be too worn out to play two seasons in one year?

As someone who covered arena football and saw what those players go through financially, I always cheer for them to get opportunities. You are right, though. A part of me wonders whether a top player from that league would be capable of participating in a full NFL offseason program after playing a 10-week schedule.

Penni from Milwaukee, WI

Will they ever change up the uniforms and style of the prints?

Are you referring to the Packers? This isn't Oregon.

Wes from Kellogg, IA

I so very much want to submit daily solely for the Perks points, but since I'd like to maintain points privileges and to not be banned, I suppose it'll drive me to think of more creative questions to ask.

Inbox questions now only count once per week, so don't feel obligated to submit if you have nothing to ask.

Jason from Austin, TX

Wes, it's the offseason and Mike is on vacation so I have to ask you the controversial question of the day: is a hotdog a sandwich?

I got fatigued at this point, so I allowed my lovely wife, Cait, to handle this one for me. Well, Jason, that is such a well thought out and deep question. I truly thank you for your willingness to reach out on such an important and widely debated matter. I think we should start with the definition of a sandwich: an item of food consisting of two or more pieces of bread with meat, cheese, or other filling between them, eaten as a light meal per Oxford dictionary. Now a hot dog is a bread and meat combination, but it is made with a bun and said bun could be seen as one slice of bread making it fall outside of the Oxford definition of a sandwich. However, Merriam-Webster dictionary now includes a split roll with filling and one slice of bread covered with food in its definition of sandwich. As you can clearly see, you can make the case for either side of this heated debate, but for me, I see them as an American sporting event snack staple that won't be replaced by a PB&J anytime soon.