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Inbox: There have been only four

That’s why they made that move

Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton
Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton

Robert from Saginaw, MI

There was a question in the mid-week chat about moving the Super Bowl to the Sunday before President's Day. If the 2031 CBA goes to an 18-game regular season that move will happen.

And if I'm covering it, something went wrong.

Joe from Wausau, WI

The Twitterverse is characterizing the hiring of Tom Clements as just another way of getting Aaron Rodgers to return to Green Bay. And maybe it's partly that. But aren't they missing another obvious aspect to this? It seems to me that Tom Clements, having been Aaron's QB coach 2006-2011, would be the perfect coach to counsel Jordan Love in the event that Jordan is in the position of replacing a legend, as Rodgers was in 2008.

That's a valid point. It's also worth noting that Clements spent the 2019-20 seasons as passing game coordinator and QB coach in Arizona, where Kyler Murray won Offensive Rookie of the Year in '19 and made the Pro Bowl in '20. I'm not discounting the obvious Rodgers angle by any stretch, but I don't think the rest should just be summarily dismissed as it relates to Love.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

Mike Smith leaving came out of the blue. I guess next man up pertains to coaching as well. Seems like a significant loss though, doesn't it?

He'll be missed by his players and the media, that's for sure. His personality was uncommon in the coaching world, and I mean that in the most complimentary way. The move was out of the blue, yes, and I don't want to speak out of turn because I don't know the reasons for his departure, but I certainly wish him the best.

Dominic from Chesapeake, VA

Mike, in the Super Bowl there was that first deep pass to Chase down the right sideline where there was a lot of contact with Ramsey before the catch. Chase started going to the ground well before he caught the pass. He went to the ground at the 11-yard line (untouched after he caught the pass) and got up and ran until he was tackled at the 4. The refs spotted it at the 11. Can you explain that call? It was never addressed and I thought it was a blown call that really hurt the Bengals.

I wondered about it at the time, too. I think the officials missed it, but there was never much discussion about the Bengals challenging it, so I don't know.

Jim from Las Vegas, NV

Spoff, the Rams held their parade the other day. Were 70% of the attendees from San Francisco?

Good one.

Al from Green Bay, WI

Four years ago, the Bears traded for Khalil Mack, giving up two first-round draft choices and signing him to a six-year, $141 million contract. It's now evaluation time. Good trade or bad? What's your take?

Having gone seven straight years without a playoff berth, there's an argument it was a worthwhile trade if the Bears had been correct they had their guy in Trubisky. That's why they made that move. But they were wrong. So all the trade has gotten them is two one-and-done playoff appearances, the second one as a No. 7 seed that didn't really belong in the postseason anyway. And when they finally got a first-round pick again, they had to use it on a QB.

Check out photos of Green Bay Packers WR Davante Adams from the 2021 season.

Dan from Shawano, WI

What are the requirements for players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame to be recognized by the Packers and have their name on the "ring of honor" in Lambeau Field? One player whom I feel should be in the "ring of honor" is Emlen Tunnel. While he did not play the majority of his career in Green Bay, he was an important part of Lombardi's success, and especially helpful with integrating African American players into Lombardi's teams, who were major contributors to his success as a coach.

I don't know if the Packers have a specific service-time requirement for the HOFers whose names go up on the façade, or if it's more about their accomplishments while in Green Bay, or some combination of the two. But there's also something to be said for respecting another team's much stronger claim to a HOFer. While I understand what you're saying about Tunnel, he played three years for the Packers after 11 with the Giants. What he did in Green Bay did not get him to Canton, it was what he did in New York. Jan Stenerud played four seasons with the Packers, who don't claim him, and as I noted earlier this week, I don't expect the Packers to claim Julius Peppers (three seasons) either.

Kevin from Hurlock, MD

One Super Bowl does not a Hall of Famer make unless you are Joe Namath. He's been living off that one game for more than 50 years.

That's a common line of thinking but it's a bit unfair, even if you're mistakenly ignoring how significant Super Bowl III was in football history. Namath's resume includes five Pro Bowls, four All-Pro nods (one first team, three seconds), third in the MVP voting three years after he won SBIII, and three times leading the league in passing yards. He was a tad more than just some Ordinary Joe who happened to win one big game.

Jeb from Sault Ste. Marie, MI

I feel like it's time for reflection and gratefulness, and I'm goin' way back! How lucky are we to be in a division where we could have watched Walter Payton (the most determined), Barry Sanders (the most exciting), and Adrian Peterson (the most talented)? Three historically great running backs. And having two first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterbacks in a row on our squad? Sheesh, that's priceless!

There have been only four players among the Packers' NFC North foes to win Associated Press MVPs in the 65-year history of the award, and you just named three of them. (Correction: The total is five not four. The author regrets the error.)

Wilb from Mount Hope, WI

In response to Matt from Fort Worth. Clay Matthews should go in the HOF for ripping the ball out of Adrian Peterson's hands and running it in (I think), just as the announcers were raving about AP's extreme grip. I jumped out of my seat that day I can tell you.

That might be the most stunning defensive touchdown I've ever witnessed.

Giorgio from Monza, Italy

Spoff, about your answer to Mike from Toronto about sacks: Do they also keep somehow track of the down they occurred on? As you said, a sack on first down is OK, but on third down it's huge.

I've never seen that tracked in any official capacity, but I think it would be meaningful to know with any player's sack total how many occurred on third down.

Tom from Riverside, CA

How does the league determine the uniforms for the Super Bowl? Would the NFL ever allow throwbacks for the big game?

They haven't, but maybe for Super Bowl LXXV (I think that's 75), if it involves two clubs that have been around for the entire Super Bowl era, they'd have them both wear throwbacks. Then again, maybe not.

Ernie from Fairfax, VA

Spof – what is your most treasured piece of Packers memorabilia that you currently own and what is on your wish list?

I've never considered a wish list appropriate since putting a certain piece of jewelry in a safety deposit box about a decade ago. I'm forever grateful for what I have. But something else I take greater pride in is the Super Bowl book "One," for which I wrote much of the text and also worked with Charles Woodson to ghostwrite his foreword. I got to personally deliver Woodson his copy and had him autograph the foreword page in mine.

Justin from Los Angeles, CA

I know a lot changes from year to year, but one thing that doesn't look like a higher degree of difficulty next year is the schedule. The Packers in 2021 played the AFC North and NFC West, two very tough divisions (which provided the teams for the Super Bowl). Next year they play the AFC East and NFC East, as well as Tampa without Tom Brady. Still some good teams, but not as top-to-bottom scary. Would this ever influence the choice to take another shot with No. 12 versus rebuilding?

Not at all.

Dave from Germantown, TN

I was wondering about the impact of the Packers' cash situation on the salary cap puzzle. It seems to me one of the ways to comply with the salary cap is to give players large signing bonuses that are then spread over the years of the contract for cap purposes. I would expect huge bonuses would have to be paid to sign both Rodgers and Davante Adams. At what point does the Packers' cash on hand enter into the decisions to manage the salary cap?

Cash reserves haven't really been an issue for the Packers since the 2003 Lambeau Field redevelopment. Your topic is one that made it so imperative for the Packers to find more revenue streams via the stadium, in order to compete financially.

David from Cable, WI

Too much is being made about which situation is better for Rodgers, GB or somewhere else. I think it's a choice whether to finish his career in GB or to explore someplace new. Not trying to chase a title but which experience appeals to him more.

Entirely possible.

Scott from Palos Park, IL

With expected increase in the salary cap coming with the next TV deal do you anticipate more teams pushing money out to keep their own players or will the available street free agents still be a large pool?

As mentioned before, every team's situation is a little different, and I believe they're navigating the changing tides as they see fit based on whether they feel they're Super Bowl contenders, or not, as currently constructed.

Jason from Austin, TX

There are going to be two types of teams when the TV money hits: the ones that pushed out dead money so the TV money is a wash, and the ones that get a huge boost in their cap and can make large jumps in free agency and re-signings. I don't think I'm a fan of pushing dead money out so we don't see any benefit when the TV money hits. I'd rather the money come in as a boost rather than a bailout.

I think any team would prefer that. Makes all the sense in the world. For some teams like the Packers, though, it's a question of whether it's worth sacrificing the ability to contend (last season and this upcoming one) to be in the cap position you advocate down the road.

Gary from Davenport, IA

Mike, did you get a chance to get caught up on the "Ozark" episodes? What did you think?

I did get caught up, and honestly I wish I had known the whole final season hadn't been released before I started watching the initial installments. Missed that tidbit.

Scott from Sauk City, WI

Spoff, I'm really curious to get your take on MLB's lockout. I don't know why, but Rob Manfred seems to be getting most of the hate from fans (myself included.) I feel like the last major work stoppages got blamed on players, fairly or otherwise. I think MLB has by far the worst relationship between ownership and the union, but I also feel like MLB is just out there arbitrarily doing dumb things like shuttering teams and treating MiLB players like indentured servants.

Because I don't dive too deeply into the weeds, I don't really know what to make of it all, other than being frustrated as a lifelong baseball fan. But you're absolutely right, there's no more acrimonious or toxic relationship between union and management in professional sports than in MLB.

Tom from Santa Paula, CA

Hi Mike, nice closer with the catch rule. If robots are going to call balls and strikes, will they be covering the three-dimensional strike zone or only where the ball is when it enters a set two-dimensional plane? The strike zone is a three-dimensional cube, it is not the two-dimensional plane they show on TV. A pitch can enter the front plane of home plate outside the zone but carry into the zone as it passes over home plate. Curious how this all works out.

My understanding is the technology accounts for a three-dimensional zone, but I'm curious as well.

Andrew from Chicago, IL

Can we remind the folks who want to rip the Band-Aid off that sometimes the wound underneath has not fully healed? I find that people who yearn for the post-Rodgers era often implicitly assume we'll be back to where we are now after a down year or two with a boatload of picks from trading him. What if the Broncos felt that way about Elway after the divisional loss to the Jaguars, after having lost three Super Bowls with him at the helm as well? The grass is always greener, until it isn't.

That's an outstanding point about Elway.

Joe from Liberty Township, OH

I don't understand so many fans ready to trade Rodgers. I've been a Packers fan since the Lombardi years and I recall all the misfires trying to find the next Bart Starr. The NFL is even more QB-driven than it was in the '70s and '80s, and draft picks don't always provide the player the team thought they were drafting. You can't win the Super Bowl unless you make the playoffs and Rodgers gives the Packers the best shot at getting into the playoffs.

And that's where I'll leave things as I depart for a week and Wes takes the conn. Play nice while I'm gone. Have a great weekend, everybody.