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Inbox: The sacrifice was duly rewarded

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Jim from Eau Claire, WI

Only 85 are dirt. The last nine are grass.

That’s a relief.

Mike from Keshena, WI

Frankie "Bag-o-donuts" Winters is the best nickname in my lifetime.

The most popular nickname submission to the Inbox, by far. I lost count how many readers sent that in. It definitely ranks up there. Orv from Clarksville, VA, also brought up “The Fridge,” another of my personal all-timers.

Christopher from Hagerstown, MD

Why won't either of youse guys answer the tough question? What is the proper protocol for the disposal of a Cheesehead that has seen far better days? It is crumbly yet sticky, chunks are missing, stuff sticks to your head and falls in your beer. It is time. How do I do it? Please, I need direction. Asking for a friend. Or, just pretend I'm Lori from Brookfield...

My suggestion would be to trim and reshape it into a cheddar seat cushion until it is officially no longer useful.

Slade from Plover, WI

Regarding the foofaraw about what a diehard fan is, now hear this: Others may judge you, but never let anyone else define you. If Darren wants to consider himself a diehard fan, he should. He knows what the team means to him better than anyone else does, and doesn't need to fit himself into anyone else's narrow little box.

It’s been a fun discussion, and I am content with this serving as the last word on the subject.

Anthony from Baraboo, WI

As a Packers fan I have to admit my bias. But was a missed tackle really the best moment in all of sports last year? And shouldn’t the subsequent 38-7 drubbing the Vikings endured the very next week negate that moment exposing it for the fluke it was?

Why do things like this bother people so much? Drama is drama. This is supposed to be fun. The Motor City Miracle won the ESPY in 2015, but it shouldn’t have because the Packers didn’t win the Super Bowl? The thing I’ll confess to have wondered is if the Arizona Hail Mary would have usurped the Detroit one in recognition and prestige had the Packers pulled out the win.

Shane from Saxon, WI

Thomas missing the Rodgers-to-Rodgers play reminded me of Christmas Eve 1995. We had a crew from Saxon at the game. My uncle and another guy had to leave to make the four-hour drive back to Saxon to attend Christmas Eve Mass. Halfway through the parking lot they heard the stadium erupt. Merry Christmas from Yancey.

Sounds to me like their sacrifice was duly rewarded. And I always thought it was the football gods who made Thigpen drop that pass.

Mark from Wheaton, IL

I don't understand the way the safety position has been devalued, especially with the way the tight end position has increased in value. A truly great safety like Earl Thomas or Nick Collins can completely tilt the field. Are the hybrid linebackers getting emphasized more around the league, or do you see some other reason for the apparent devaluation?

I do think the hybrid linebackers are a factor, and while I agree a great safety can handle tough matchups and potentially tilt the field, as you say, I also think the value equation is a little different. What I mean is, the difference between a great safety and an average one, impact-wise, isn’t the same as the difference between a great corner and an average one, despite the tight end issue you mentioned. The potential tilt is greater at corner, and the salaries being paid to them reflect that.

Brandon from St. Paul, MN

Technically, Matt Hasselbeck is the only one to run the table in reverse, but he didn’t start in his L’s to Seattle and Detroit. Counting only starting L’s there is a six-way tie between Bledsoe, Brees, Favre, Hasselbeck, Kitna and Carson Palmer, who have lost to 30 teams each (Favre never lost to Washington or Houston as a starter). But the best answer is the two-way tie between Archie Manning and Joe Ferguson, who never got the L against their original teams.

Several folks chimed in on the research here, noting this Pro Football reference chart. All the legwork is appreciated. The total for Manning and Ferguson is 27, pre-expansion, but they do rank “first,” in a sense. Joel from Green Bay also mentioned that if Palmer were playing one more year for Arizona, he would’ve had a chance to hit 31 or 32 with the Bears and Redskins on the Cardinals’ 2018 schedule. For those wondering, Rodgers is at 23. The Patriots, Jets and Rams are teams he’s never lost to that are on the schedule this year, and the Eagles, Raiders and Chargers are on the ’19 slate.

Dave from Arlington Heights, IL

What interview or story in your career are you most proud of? Also, if you can interview one player or coach after any game ever played, who would it be and after what game?

Off the top of my head, I’d say Starr and the Ice Bowl. As for the story I’m most proud of, it’s the tough deadlines from my newspaper days I recall most fondly. Going back to my first job, a couple of months in, I’m covering a volleyball sectional final about 45 minutes from the office, and I hadn’t been trained on the Radio Shack portables yet. A marathon best-of-five match goes the distance and the local school wins a thriller to advance to state. I grab a couple of quotes from the coach and star player and pedal-to-the-metal it back to the office. It’s Saturday night, and the Sunday paper has the earliest press run of the week. My editor has saved me a three-column-by-five-inch hole on the sports front, and as I sprint through the door to get to my desk, he hollers at me, “You’ve got 15 inches and 15 minutes.” The presses started on time.

Joshua from Appleton, WI

Thanks to the divot for wedging Jerry Kramer into the Hall of Fame. Well deserved.

Well said.

George from North Mankato, MN

Do you think the NFL and its media partners will come up with a pay-per-view plan to allow fans the option to see all the games of their favorite team during the season? I love football but don’t have much interest in watching games that don’t include the Packers. Being stuck “behind enemy lines,” so to speak, I am limited in how many games I can watch on national television. How about a single-game fee?

I think we’re headed there eventually with internet streaming, but the economics are too complicated for me to figure out. The NFL will have to find a way to balance that with still being fair to both the broadcast networks shelling out billions for the television rights, and to DirecTV to not devalue its package. It’ll be tricky, but I think at some point it’ll get done.

Drew from Oakdale, MN

Is there any chance that Charles Woodson's "21" ever gets retired by the Packers? Or is it inevitable that the next number the Packers are going to retire is "12"?

It’ll be 12. If there had been any serious consideration to retiring Woodson’s number, they wouldn’t have given it to a first-round draft pick one year after Woodson left.

Eliot from Denver, CO

With camp less than a week away, can you set the stage for us on the offensive line battles? Who is competing for the RG spot, and who is competing for the backup RT spot? Also would like to take this opportunity to thank Jahri Evans, whom I thought we would re-sign, and whose solid contribution will place him in the annals of obscure Packers trivia contests for posterity.

The rundown on the offensive line in our Countdown to Camp series is being posted today.

Richard from Clearwater, MN

With the number of young receivers the Packers have drafted, how crucial is it for Randall Cobb to have a big year being in a contract year?

He knows it’s important, but if I know Cobb, he’s going to block it out. He has said he learned his lesson in 2014. He confessed he began that season worried about the fact it was a contract year, and after three games, he had 126 receiving yards. Once he stopped thinking about it, he had 1,339 yards over the last 15 games, including playoffs. Cobb will get an opportunity to be a big part of this offense, and I believe he’ll deliver.

Chris from Lexington, KY

Are we Packer fans or Packers fans? I always say Packers.

I prefer to always write Packers, never Packer, but in speech I’m fine either way.

Greg from Oconomowoc, WI

Shields' interception against the Cowboys was one of the, if not the, most impressive physical feats I've seen. I remember thinking I didn't know humans had that gear, and also he just got paid. Can you recall any other contract year plays where you knew a player just assured himself of a payday?

Joe Flacco’s 70-yard heave in the mountains, and his subsequent Super Bowl victory three weeks later, come to mind.

Matty from Durango, CO

I'm Stan from Merrill's brother. He went to state in track, starred in football and opened a great microbrewery in Merrill. He's more than caught up to me. About all I can do now is out-fish him since I'm willing to sit on my (rear) longer than him.

Sounds like it’s pretty even, but if Stan has ever caddied before, he gets the nod from me.

Matt from Salt Lake City, UT

I know Mark Murphy has said the Pack will never sell naming rights to Lambeau, but have the Packers received offers for that? What would the value be?

I don’t know if the Packers have ever received offers. I know they haven’t solicited any. The Vikings recently got $225 million over 20 years from U.S. Bank, if that helps. I’ve said before it was a bold move by Bob Harlan to not open the naming rights up for bid when the Packers were asking Brown County for $160 million in taxpayer dollars to help fund the $295 million stadium redevelopment. Back in the early 2000s, naming rights deals were being signed for around $75-100 million over 20 years. The Packers could have lessened the taxpayer burden by half, but they rolled the dice and the referendum narrowly passed, 53 percent to 47 percent.

Subhadeep from Detroit, MI

For the states that do not have an NFL franchise, which leads in HOF members?

If we aren’t going to split hairs with states like Virginia and New Jersey, I believe the answer is Mississippi, and the top of that state’s list is as impressive as any, with Payton, Rice and Favre.

Mike from Franksville, WI

I love following football stats and wish we had sack numbers for the old Lombardi teams or even for Ezra Johnson pre-1982. Did the Packers keep an unofficial sack count during those eras? As a fan what would be the best way to research old forgotten stats like that?

The Packers media guide notes that, unofficially, Johnson had 20½ sacks in 1978, including five in one game – numbers that would give him the single-season franchise record and tie Vonnie Holliday’s single-game team record. I’ve read an account that credited Johnson with 84 sacks in his 11 seasons with the Packers, which would rank ahead of official sack leader Clay Matthews (80). Though if we’re going there, some estimates say Willie Davis had over 100 sacks in his time in Green Bay.

Lynn from Somers, WI

At the age of 60, I did live through the lean years. But to add torment to that torture, I also lived through a father who screamed, yelled, and swore at the TV throughout the game. The fact that I am now a devoted fan and shareholder is a puzzle that I am not sure even I can figure out. So this column (plus Larry's Rock Reports) is how I learn those subtleties that my dad never passed along. Thank you for answering some of the basic questions, for people like me. I appreciate your mentorship.

We appreciate your readership.

Mitchell from Edmond, OK

The question from Shilo about the office setup for your department got me to thinking. Someone should make a department video to give us fans an inside view of a day in the life of Mike, Wes, and the gang!

And ruin the mystique? Happy Friday, everyone.

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