Matt from Des Moines, IA
Mike, with Wes gone what would be for lunch these days?
I've got a home fridge to clean out before I disappear to parts unknown, so I'm good. Appreciate your concern, though.
Michael from Berrien Springs, MI
Hi Mike, two things: First, you wrote, "It looks like the league is heading this direction, and the teams won't have a say." I always find this confusing. Aren't the teams the league? I mean, isn't it the gagillionaire owners (except for GB's ownership) of teams that make these decisions? If they are signing off on this then, in essence, aren't the teams as well? Secondly, you wrote "spiffballing" and I realized my whole life I thought it was ''spitballing"!? Maybe it should be "spoffballing"?
I should have said "players" instead of "teams." That's what I meant. As for the choice of pondering term, I've personally co-opted Col. Jessup's line but wasn't going to go too far.
Patrick from Folly Beach, SC
Will the new video boards be much bigger? And will that affect the wind swirling in the end zones?
I wouldn't expect much impact on the wind patterns, but the new video boards will be bigger. If you look at the current/old structure in the south end zone (see photo above), there's the video board, an ad board on each side, plus the listing of championship years on either side. My understanding is the new video boards will encompass the entire space.
Cary from Sioux Falls, SD
The Chiefs were well-coached as evidenced by Jerrick McKinnon not running in for the TD late in the game. Here's my question: If a defender had met McKinnon at the 1-yard line and instead of pushing him out of bounds had dragged him into the end zone without stopping his forward momentum, would it have been a touchdown and the Eagles had the chance for one more possession?
I believe so, yes.
Bob from Durango, CO
The type of Bermuda grass used in the Super Bowl has been available since 2007. Bermuda turns brown and so it is often over seeded with rye. Rye has a waxy surface. Too much rye and you get what you saw on Sunday.
As long as it's not a hybrid. You know, a cross of, uh, Kentucky Bluegrass, Featherbed Bent and Northern California Sinsemilla … you can play 36 holes on it in the afternoon and then … OK, sorry.
Mike from Niles, IL
Agree that running QBs are almost a necessity in today's game, but there'll always be a place for the truly outstanding pocket passers (Starr, Dickey, Brady). The running QB almost acts like an extra man on the field. The D must adapt to account for his running threat to avoid being hammered like the Pack was against C. Kaepernick. That weakens the rest of the D.
Football is a numbers game, and running QBs change the numbers, tilting them in the offense's favor. I'm not saying pocket passers can't win games, and win a lot of them. They obviously can. But I do think truly mobile QBs provide an edge in the biggest games against the best defenses. That's my point.
Kevin from Indianapolis, IN
It feels like this run of success the Chiefs have been on is what we expected to see about a decade ago with the Pack. What do you see as the major differences between the two paths that led to the Packers being competitive but the Chiefs getting to (and winning) multiple Super Bowls?
In the end it comes down to playing your best in the most important games, and having a break or two go your way. The Packers simply haven't done that nor gotten/avoided those. Going back to the immediate post-XLV period, the Packers had a shaky defense in '11 that relied too much on turnovers, tragedy struck the team the week of the divisional playoff, and they played their worst game in, literally, 13 months. The following year, a shootout loss at Minnesota in Week 17 cost the Packers a first-round bye, which altered the trajectory of those entire NFC playoffs. In '13, Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone, they barely snuck in, and then an already banged-up defense lost two starters in the first quarter of the wild-card round. In '14, they collapsed in the game that shan't be discussed. Then frankly, they weren't that good again until '20, another letdown we've discussed plenty. The Chiefs have won when they've had to in order to get home games in the playoffs, and they've proven to be very difficult to beat at Arrowhead in big games – the Patriots and Bengals both won there in overtime, or the Chiefs would've just appeared in their fifth straight Super Bowl. Play your best when it matters, to earn home games and then in those bigger games. That's what gets it done.
James from De Pere, WI
Regarding the upcoming combine, how many Packers officials will attend? I'm guessing GM, HC, OC and DC for sure. Area scouts? Position coaches? Thanks for the knowledge.
Pretty much everyone in coaching and personnel goes to Indy, though not everyone is there for the entire week. The prospects are grouped by position and have a three-to-four-day combine routine (interviews, workouts, etc.) they go through. So position coaches go for the days that correspond to their position's schedule.
Alan from Bullhead City, AZ
Morning II, have either of you gentlemen tested your athletic prowess in any of the NFL Combine tests over the years you've covered the Packers? I'd be curious to know if Spoff can still take Wes in the 40!?
I doubt it. College me definitely could have taken college Wes, but not anymore.
Ray from Weeki wachee, FL
Asked about SB performances couldn't you at least give an honorable mention to Reggie White? Though he didn't register any tackles in XXXI, likely because NE stayed away from him and because they probably put two guys on him, he still managed three sacks, including critical ones at that.
While it was awesome to see White get three sacks in a Super Bowl, I didn't put him on my list of most impactful performances because all three sacks occurred in the final 18 minutes of the game with the Packers up 14 points, and the third sack was with under two minutes left when the game was truly over. The back-to-back sacks right after Howard's return TD were big, don't get me wrong, but White's performance ranked third behind Howard and Favre that night. Others are ripping me for not including Bart Starr, who won SB MVP in I & II. I should have listed him for SB II, that's my bad, but if I'd had an MVP vote, it would've gone to McGee for SB I. Even setting aside the hangover part of the legend, only four catches all season, yet he comes off the bench to replace Dowler and catches seven for 138 and two TDs in the Super Bowl? He should've won the MVP for that game.
Paul from Lindenwold, NJ
Why doesn't the NFL see the value in adopting a less-is-more philosophy with respect to penalties? Bad calls that aren't made (discounting the egregious) are less scrutinized and remembered than those that are. A call that isn't made may not even get a replay, let alone countless angles and discussion. I'd bet most fans and players would prefer a game where almost nothing is called, as long as it's consistent for both teams, than the alternative, yet the NFL seems intent on over-officiating.
Which parallels the ever-growing size of the rulebook.
Jeff from Lake Forest, CA
Hi Mike, your thoughts on the officiating sum it all up very well. Given Goodell's comments leading up to the game that the officiating is the best it's ever been and that the former refs on TV basically have no idea what they're talking about, it's certain to not change ever. What gets me is the technology of TV has passed the game on the field. MLB is making changes the NFL refuses to and it's just disappointing. So it goes.
It took MLB a long time to come around on it. But as I've said for years, technology for the viewing public that's only partially embraced by the league has created results and outcomes that don't match what fans are seeing at home. That's the root of the problem, and you either evolve with technology or watch your problems get worse.
Dave from Germantown, TN
I think all this pushing on the quarterback sneak will end after your $40 million per year is seriously hurt on one of these plays.
A sentiment shared by many.
Jeff from Victorville, CA
In response to Curt, I do not believe Mahomes will see near the success Brady did. First, he's currently in a much more competitive division than Brady ever was and second, there is much more young talent at the QB position in the AFC than Brady had to contend with. The stars were aligned just right for Tom Brady. That won't happen again. Do you tend to agree?
I wouldn't go that far. They weren't in his division, but Brady had to contend with two other HOF QBs in the AFC throughout his time in New England – Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger. I've mentioned before I believe a lot of Brady's postseason success was predicated on playing at home in the playoffs, which does speak to your point about playing in a weak division to get higher seeds. He won two AFC title games at Pittsburgh in the early 2000s (the second one when Big Ben was a rookie), then went 1-4 in road playoff games – reaching his next three Super Bowls (winning two) through strictly home playoff routes – before his last championship with the Patriots required a road overtime win at KC.
Rich from Grand Rapids, MI
As beat writers, you both know ARod better than anybody else affiliated with II, especially the readers. Based upon what you know of the man, what do you think are the three factors that hold the most sway with ARod as he contemplates his future?
I don't want to oversimplify too much, but I think the play-or-retire decision comes down to whether he wants to embrace the grind. I have no doubt he wants to be in the locker room with his teammates, wants to compete on the field on Sundays, wants to continue pursuing wins and championships. They all want to do that forever. But he's deciding whether he really wants to put his body through the offseason regimen it takes to prepare for the season. Whether he's going to enjoy a solid month of practices and meetings over long days in training camp. Whether he's up for all the Monday through Saturday work in the film room, on the practice field, in the training room, etc., to play the best he can. The grind isn't just a buzzword. It's real, and I don't blame him for taking his time to process the commitment necessary.
Jacob from West Allis, WI
I just read the piece on the LEGO highlights creation and WOW. I knew it was a painstaking process but the article really sheds light at just how intensive it is. I was also delighted to learn that the inception of the highlights was from a fan. Shout-out to Fabian Moritz, we appreciate your hard work.
Shout-out to Monica from Blue Mounds, WI, for the story idea. I haven't had that much fun working on an off-beat, offseason piece in a long time. I hope it's as enjoyable to read as it was to write.
Laurie from Sheboygan, WI
I already loved the LEGO highlights. I appreciate them even more now that you introduced us to the creator. Thanks for that feature! I hope he continues to wow us with those creations for many years to come.
Graydon from Menomonie, WI
I sat on this question for a while because there's a rule of no math in the Inbox. However, I have seen a few math-related posts lately so here goes... The response to the question on Joe Barry's defense was 307 words long. Is that the longest response ever written in Insider Inbox history?
Don't tempt me. It's a long offseason.
Dave from Waterford, OH
I like the point that my fellow Ohioan, John, made about the GOAT acronym (or initialism?). And, I like your response too, Mike. But, if you include the "he's" part of the "one of the…" statement, then we have a HOOTGOAT. Of course, that sounds like a combination of an owl and a goat, which is really appropriate as owls have one of the widest fields of vision of all avians. And, goats are very agile and, by many accounts, very intelligent. Maybe the Insider Inbox can "initiate" this new term?
I really do need a vacation, and it's almost here. Happy Thursday.