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Inbox: Rather fascinating stuff

They should be fun to watch

RB Aaron Jones
RB Aaron Jones

Tim from Brandon, PA

The baloney starts now.

Not until Wes comes back. All kidding aside, I just have to say how much my heart sank at the news out of Kansas City late Wednesday afternoon. I don't know what else to say, other than how much it depresses me. I'll leave it at that and carry on.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

Based on Mike's responses (Tuesday) I came away thinking that if the result of any number of plays had been different, the outcome would have been different. This reinforces the concept that more bites at the apple is the better long-term strategy. Based on what you observed, if you could play that game 10 times, what would be the split? 6-4 Chiefs?

Probably. I'd say the same about that identical Super Bowl matchup four years ago. Could've gone either way anytime they'd have played. One of my best friends from college is a California native and Niners fan, and I've always told him the bigger regret has to be the Harbaugh Bowl (against the Ravens) 11 years ago. I think that Niners team wins that matchup eight or nine times out of 10. But giving up a 56-yard TD on third-and-10, and a 108-yard kickoff return for a TD to open the second half, were two killer plays that proved too much to overcome for what I thought was the superior team.

Jack from Marshfield, WI

If the Chiefs had to settle for a field goal on their first OT drive, and the teams were both held scoreless for another 15 minutes, would there have been another kickoff at the beginning of the third quarter of the "new game"?

Yes, but there wouldn't have been a full "halftime" intermission. Just a two-minute break, and the Chiefs would've had the choice to take the ball first because they lost the initial OT coin toss.

Bob from New Britain, CT

Hey Mike, I'm sure those who conjured up the "new" overtime rules had good intentions, but now we need "new new" rules. Because now, the team that gets the ball SECOND has a built-in advantage! They can always use all four downs to gain 10 yards without impunity, while the team that gets the ball first would typically be taking a big risk going beyond three downs. And since time doesn't "run out" in the first quarter of OT, what's the point of even using the game clock?

The current OT adjustment is better than the previous version, but that "built-in advantage" will always exist if you're guaranteeing both teams possession. No different in the college OT. As I've thought about this for a few days, I wonder if the NFL's playoff OT should just be a full fifth quarter of football. Put 15 minutes on the clock and play it out. Would've put the Chiefs in an interesting spot strategically as that final drive approached the end zone. If it's still tied when the clock expires, the game continues from where it is (no reset) for a second OT and becomes sudden death.

Scott from Sauk City, WI

I didn't do any research, so I definitely don't know (IDDARSIDDK, if you want to co-opt it), but do the Packers have a reverse Brewers curse? The Brewers always lose to the eventual World Series champs (in the postseason, anyway). Have the Packers routinely beaten the eventual Super Bowl winner in the same season?

ATMR (wcbw) – thanks to Roger from McGrath, AK, who reminded me of his shorthand suggestion – it's happened five times prior to this past season. The Packers beat the Chiefs in '19 (when Mahomes didn't play), the Patriots in '14, the Giants in both '11 and '07, and the 49ers in '89.

H.R. from Henderson, NV

NE won six Super Bowls with Brady at the wheel. KC already has three with Mahomes in his short time in the league. That is nine of 23 trophies in this century. Nearly half. Tell me again about parity in the league?

I will again explain that parity isn't defined by the last team or teams standing. If that's all you look at, I can't help you. Even so, a team just repeated as Super Bowl champs for the first time in 20 years, and since free agency and the salary cap took hold 30 years ago, 16 different teams have hoisted the Lombardi.

Tim from Olathe, KS

Mike, not many are talking about the great kicking performances in the SB. The kickers were making from 50-plus like it was a chip shot, though any miss would have drastically altered the rest of the game. And the punters were bombing 55- and 60-yard punts to give the other team poor field position. Unsung heroes, I guess?

I got a kick (pun intended, I'll see myself out eventually) out of realizing Jake Moody held the record for longest field goal in a Super Bowl for about 25 game-clock minutes. But that blocked PAT was a bad, bad kick. Way low and left. Props to Chiefs punter Tommy Townsend getting that high snap down on Butker's 57-yarder. Hugely underrated play in the game.

Preston from Tallahassee, FL

Interesting thoughts shared by many on what made the difference in the "Big Game" (no need in risking a lawsuit), but I think Dre Greenlaw's injury was huge to the outcome. While any of the other plays/moments are valid, the Chiefs' offense/points prior versus after the injury is a strong indicator, plus the emotional shock to the team. Those 49er LBs are legit and bring it each play.

The Harbaugh 49ers I referenced earlier had that linebacker tandem of Patrick Willis and Navorro Bowman, which I thought was a once-in-a-generation pairing. Within the same decade they've come back with Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw. Unreal. Terrible freak injury that no doubt factored into San Francisco's defensive struggles down the stretch.

Bob from Kennesaw, GA

Mike's answer to Derek from South Point regarding Kelce's unacceptable, juvenile tantrum on the sideline was dead wrong. "In a SB? With a future HOFer?" Absolutely, YES! At a minimum, TK should have been sent to the showers immediately, and then fined enough to REALLY sting. What he did was grossly disrespectful to his coach and teammates, and it shouldn't matter who the perp is or how much money is involved. ML sat JA for an important game as a point of principle, and JA is better off for it.

I agree it was grossly disrespectful, and I also agree with your thoughts on Alexander. But the Super Bowl vs. Week 17 is apples and oranges, if not apples and orangutans. Moreover, you really think Reid should trash the whole portion of his game plan involving Kelce, which has been meticulously pondered and practiced for two weeks, because of an emotional outburst in the most monstrous of monster games? And in the process tell his entire team, after the game is well underway, he's going to undercut their chances for a championship they've busted their rumps six months for, just because one teammate lost his cool? C'mon, get real. There's not a single coach in this league who would've meted out instant punishment to a player of that caliber the way you suggest. Not a chance. Maybe bench him for a series, and/or fine him all his postseason pay if you want. In that situation, coaches and players are battling for legacies, and it's about winning a Super Bowl. That's it, that's all. The Packers were just trying to stay alive for the last wild-card spot, and they suspended Alexander during the week and planned to play the Vikings without him. Again, apples and orangutans.

Tom from Yardley, PA

If he retired today where would Andy Reid be on your list of all-time greatest coaches?

In the second tier. I'm not going to split hairs and rank every single coach. Lombardi, Halas and Belichick are the first tier. The second is now, in my opinion, Noll, Walsh, Gibbs and Reid.

Brian from Trego, WI

Mike, the common factor in the Patriots/Bucs and Chiefs winning the Super Bowl was having a dominating tight end who could not be stopped (Gronk and Kelce). Do you think any of the Packers' young TEs could develop into that level of dominance?

I'm not about to thrust potential Hall of Fame status on Luke Musgrave or Tucker Kraft, but both have a chance to become big-time weapons for LaFleur and Love. They should be fun to watch.

Jeremy from West Allis, WI

We have talked recently about our favorite Jordan Love game (I think the answer was at Detroit) and play (blitz-beating TD to Dontayvion Wicks at Dallas). Was there a particular throw that first signaled Love realistically being a special QB? Preferably in a game so we all could see, but if there's also a practice one I would enjoy a description. For me, it was the back-shoulder TD to Romeo Doubs in Chicago Week 1. Footing, arm angle, timing, placement, velocity, spiral. Wow!

For me, multiple throws in the fourth-quarter comeback to beat the Saints in Week 3 were the first signal – the two-point pass to Samori Toure, the seam route to Reed, the game-winning back-shoulder TD to Doubs. Then things got shaky for a while, but he made several throws again in the Pittsburgh loss that showed what he had in him.

Zak from Huntington Beach, CA

Welcome back from a well-deserved extended weekend away from all of us Packers nerds (Packnerds?)! Now that you've had a bit more time to reflect, what was the highlight of this past season for you?

I've mentioned games and specific highlights before. Aside from those, one memory that'll stick with me was sitting in the press box in Minneapolis on New Year's Eve before kickoff and seeing other league results fall into place to give the Packers a two-wins-and-in scenario. Mentally, that just felt so different compared to seven days prior, watching the Packers blow a two-TD lead in the fourth quarter to the league's worst team. It felt like the season was given a revival, or new lease.

Dave from Germantown, TN

Now that the offseason is officially beginning, can you give us the timeline on the significant dates until training camp opens (new NFL year, the combine, free agency, draft days, OTAs, etc.)?

The combine runs Feb. 27-March 4. The new league year and free agency begin March 13, with the negotiating window opening two days prior. The owners' meetings are March 24-27. Offseason workouts begin in mid-April, with the draft April 25-27. No specific dates are available yet for OTAs or the start of training camp.

Clint from Port Washington, WI

Hi Mike, would you give us your thoughts on how the transfer portal and NIL payments will affect the draft? It appears that each year fewer underclassmen are declaring, possibly because they can get paid (NIL) or improve their draft standing by transferring to a different program. Is the drop off in talent after the third round even more pronounced now?

That's what several analysts are saying, with the early declares dwindling. I think that's in part what made swapping a fifth-round pick for a third-rounder in the Rasul Douglas deal so attractive to Gutey.

Josh from Vancouver, WA

How advantageous is it to Gute's draft board to have a few positions (QB1, WR, TE) in seemingly great shape?

It's another element that lends itself to flexibility, to potentially move around during the draft, particularly early on. If a highly touted player at one of those spots in the first couple of rounds is there when the Packers are on the clock, and a clear drop-off at such a position is approaching, trade calls could start coming, and maybe even a bidding war ensues.

John from Madison, WI

Does our receiver group even have a depth chart anymore? It seems like whoever is on the field is going to be based on the situation and play call, not a pecking order.

There's a lot of truth to that.

Hank from Centennial, CO

I saw a podcast from the SB featuring Micah Parsons and Jordan Love in which Parsons said he was surprised during the Packers' upset victory to find Aaron Jones in places where he "wasn't supposed to be" and Love confirming that was the case. Can you shed light on what they were talking about?

They were discussing how much Jones helped out vs. Parsons in pass protection in the wild-card game, with Love mentioning how Jones instinctively stayed in to help even when his initial read indicated he should release into a route. Rather fascinating stuff, and further evidence of Jones' immeasurable value to this offense.

Jeffrey from Eveleth, MN

There was a guy on a talk show that thought an effective defensive scheme to run in this day and age would be a 3-4-5 alignment. The other guy on the talk show replied "that would create a lot of penalties." I thought that would have been a perfect Spoff reply.

Happy Thursday.

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