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Inbox: Think that might've changed history?

Plus thoughts on the best coaches to never win a Super Bowl


James from New Richmond, WI

I was just at Lambeau and certainly enjoyed the peaceful trip without the chaos of game day. I LOVE game days at Lambeau, don't get me wrong, but it was nice to be able to browse without constantly being elbow-to-elbow with other fans. I never spotted you folks, but was curious as to how big your department is, and where you fellas grind away on the Inbox and other articles. I was guessing above 1919, but not sure. So where do Biff and Spoff hide during the week at 1265?

You guessed correctly. We're directly above 1919 in the area that used to be Curly's Pub (they took away the taps, sad to say). Oh, in case you couldn't guess from that last comment, this is Mike for a second straight day. Wes and I just shuffled our schedules around this week. Happy Thursday.

Ron from Waukesha, WI

I just wanted to say that yesterday's II was one of the best I've read in a long time. Great questions and great answers about game-changing penalties called and not called and solutions to same. But nothing was said about the elephant in the room...the recent legalization of gambling and its influence on sports. Was that blatant PI play in the Rams-Saints game just missed or was it "intentionally missed" to change the outcome of the game? At times I think we're all too naïve.

I appreciate the compliment, and call me too naïve if you wish, but I just don't buy all the conspiracy theories out there. Did you see the game-tying 48-yard field goal start leaking to the right and make its way back in? If Zuerlein misses that kick, how was the fix in? I didn't see a flag on the Saints, which could have been conveniently declined, just to make sure the Rams got another shot. And the 57-yarder in OT? If he misses the Saints are less than 20 yards from field-goal range. If there was a desired outcome it would have been for the Saints to win after the missed call so this disaster could have been avoided, or at least greatly diminished.

Hansen from Waukesha, WI

Julian Edelman is now second all-time in career postseason receptions, only behind the legendary Jerry Rice. They were discussing on the NFL Network if that should get him in the Hall of Fame, despite average career numbers in the regular season and no Pro Bowl selections. What are your thoughts, Spoff or Wes?

His catch in the comeback vs. Atlanta was one of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history, but even with that and the overall postseason numbers, I don't see it.

Mark from Vancouver, Canada

When does the league typically issue fines after games? I'm curious if the NFL fines Robey-Coleman for helmet-to-helmet contact on that infamous hit in the NFC game. No consolation for Saints fans, but hopefully the league does the right thing.

Usually word leaks out on Fridays.

Brad from Gallatin, TN

The running back just fumbled the ball away which the opposing team capitalized on by scoring a touchdown. As the coach, would you immediately call a running play for him, or bench him?

It depends if my game plan is built on needing that running back to win the game. I think that's one of the most overlooked moments from McCarthy's tenure – the snow globe game vs. Seattle – because it was overshadowed by the weather and the following week's heartbreak. Ryan Grant did exactly what you described twice in the first five minutes, but McCarthy kept feeding him the ball to the tune of franchise playoff records of 201 yards and three TDs. He showed early on as a head coach he was always going to believe in his players.

Snow piled up around Lambeau Field on Jan. 23, 2019, as a winter storm hit Northeast Wisconsin.

Kristen from Surprise, AZ

As someone from a hot climate, I just love Evan's pictures of Lambeau Field covered in snow. He really does a great job!

Speaking of snow globes …

Dan from Rothschild, WI

All this talk about replays got me thinking. With the advent of better technology, camera angles and views have become 1,000 times better than ever. With that in mind, which controversial call from the past would you like to see with today's tech? I would love to see the "Immaculate Reception" with the tech we have today. I think the outcome may have been entirely different, and football history would be different. What would you, or II's readers like to see?

If Pittsburgh loses the "Immaculate Reception" game, maybe Oakland beats Miami the next week and there's still no undefeated Super Bowl champion. How about the Chandler field goal in the '65 playoffs against Baltimore? Think that might've changed history?

Brant from Mills, MA

Rich Eisen told a story about the Rams that I hadn't heard before. When Jared Goff was 0-5, and looked awful in a Thursday night loss to Seattle, Rich was on the Rams' plane and it was a morgue and I'm sure the leadership was thinking, "What have we done?" Thirty-seven games played later and they are in the Super Bowl. That is how quickly things can change in this league. I don't think we are as bad as that 4-12 team, so do you think we can think optimistically about the Packers?

That's my approach, but I'm not clouding my optimism with expectations. There's a line, and not crossing it is a healthy and enjoyable way to live.

Bill from Waterford, MI

I would modify the suggestion by Miguel from Guadalajara, Mexico. Rather than giving the kicking team a win in OT if the receiving team does not score, simply eliminate the option to punt. If the receiving team does not get at least a few first downs, having four downs to make 10 yards, the kicking team gets the ball back in field-goal range. This way, both defenses would at least have the opportunity to affect the outcome.

You weren't the only one to suggest this modification, and you've got me thinking some more.

Mike from Verona, WI

Has there ever been a Super Bowl where the starting QB from one team is older than the head coach from the other team?

The more startling thing is when Brady played in his first Super Bowl, McVay had just turned 16 a week before and might not have gotten his driver's license yet.

Alan from Madison, WI

The 2018 World Series was between the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers. This year's Super Bowl features the New England Patriots' Boston metro area and Los Angeles Rams. Has this ever happened before, the same two cities represented in the two major sports championships?

No, though the Orange County Register pointed out one similar instance. In January 1969, the New York Jets and Baltimore Colts played in Super Bowl III, and nine months later, the Mets and Orioles were in the World Series. Same calendar year, but not same season.

John from Trego, WI

I was wondering how many of the Packers' past picks taken in the first round, 28th through 32nd, have ever become top-line players?

I'll list the players Green Bay has selected in that range over the last 40 years or so and let you decide: Ezra Johnson (28), George Teague (29), Craig Newsome (32), Ross Verba (30), Nick Barnett (29), Derek Sherrod (32), Nick Perry (28), Damarious Randall (30).

Todd from Owasso, OK

There was a question about packaging two first-round picks to move up, but how about trading down again to pick up another first-round pick next year? Keep doing that and we could have two every year.

Except then you'd never actually use two first-round picks in one draft, and I'd want to take advantage of that opportunity with Rodgers still going strong.

Dave from Maple Grove, MN

When are we able to negotiate with our own unrestricted free agents?

Anytime. Always could.

Steven from West End, NC

Mike, with Rivera getting into the HOF unanimously, do you feel like there will be more of the same in the future? Are there any names coming in the next few years you could see getting in unanimously? The first to come to mind for me is Jeter. What are your thoughts?

Jeter for sure. Maybe David Ortiz to follow, because the ballots aren't overloaded right now with shoo-ins, but that's still a huge Papi-sized maybe. At least Rivera's unanimous selection finally indicates the holdouts who never voted for a player in his first year of eligibility, no matter what, have moved on. It's about time. I mean, think about those voters who in certain years intentionally left off Hank Aaron, Nolan Ryan, Cal Ripken, Tony Gwynn or Ken Griffey Jr. for absolutely no good reason other than some meaningless precedent. Sheesh. That said, I'm not crazy about this veterans committee route for baseball now. Harold Baines?

Cynthia from Asheville, NC

Good morning, Mike. Consistent reader here, but I must have missed your (or Wes's) comments on chatty Romo. I can't stand his over-the-top, mouth-constantly-running, stream-of-consciousness commentary. It ruins the game for me so much that I turn the sound down, even though I have always enjoyed others' commentary. I'm more of a Collinsworth fan, or Aikman. He doesn't compare to Madden's insight, either, IMHO. I see that others like him. Is this an age thing, like video games? Ugh.

Wes commented on Romo, and in the intervening days there have been numerous submissions to the Inbox both praising and disliking him. I've enjoyed reading the opinions, frankly. As I've said before, I usually watch games with the sound off, and if it's not, I'm not really listening anyway. When I have lent an ear, what I like best about Romo is he seems to really enjoy what he's doing, and he doesn't get too caught up in premeditated remarks or catchphrases, which is refreshing, especially given his booth partner. I think he's being himself, not who someone wants him to be. Which is the way Madden was in the beginning when he taught me more about the game than any broadcaster, ever, but before he felt compelled to be "Madden."

Steve from Eau Claire, WI

Insiders, I feel so bad for Andy Reid. As a former Packers assistant I would love to see him win a Super Bowl as a head coach, but something always seems to happen that keeps him away from the Lombardi Trophy. I know he won one as an assistant, but if he never wins one as a head coach, do you think he will go down as the greatest head coach ever without one? Or does that title still belong to, say, Marty Schottenheimer?

I think the title has to go to Bud Grant or Marv Levy, but Reid and Schottenheimer are certainly in the conversation. Marty's list of tough breaks in the playoffs is extensive. I remember Reid taking the Eagles to four straight NFC title games before finally winning one, but then the catharsis was short-lived. Grant and Levy going a combined 0-for-8 in the first 28 Super Bowls is almost mind-boggling when you think about it now. For what it's worth, in the 24 Super Bowls since, only three coaches have been on the losing end more than once – Belichick, Holmgren and Fox.

Eric from Greenville, WI

The game has always survived bad calls. Can it survive this rabbit hole of using replay to "get it right"? No matter what, there will always be things missed, gotten wrong, misinterpreted, etc. Two challenges, three, 15, a safety official, two of them, more eyes, more interpretations. I'd rather they focus on competent officials, simplify rules and live with them. Replay has not made games more fair or less controversial. What's the point? Maybe this is the point? It's something to talk about.

To this I'll just say the thought of simplifying the rules, which always sounds great and for which Vic always strongly advocated, is no longer realistic. Not with the safety regulations that are necessary for the long-term future of the game. So if you can't simplify the rules, I don't see a viable approach other than turning to technology to manage the complications.

Daniel from Johnston, IA

Saying that the Saints didn't deserve to win after throwing an INT in OT is like saying the Packers didn't deserve to win after missing a field goal to beat the Vikings in regulation.

Can't have it both ways, right?

Bob from Abilene, TX

OK. Here's the deal. All these questions about whether or not the NFL asks too much of the officials are a load of crap. As high school and small-college officials, we are asked to do just as much – if not even more due to no replay – as the guys working on Sunday. And there are seven of them where in most cases in high school there are only five. Football is football no matter what level. Too much replay will ruin the game. Just play and let the human factor be part of it.

With all due respect to the work you've done at the grassroots levels of the game, for which you're to be commended, c'mon man. Seriously? Calls at the prep and small-college levels aren't being scrutinized by 50 million viewers at home in super slo-mo, and as I've said a gazillion times, the NFL has a duty for its own integrity, and ultimate survival, to make sure as best it can the results on the field match up to what everyone sees at home. In your world, a receiver makes a diving grab over the middle, and you call it complete or incomplete, and no one except maybe a select few will ever really know if it hit the ground or not, and the game rolls on. That's great. Nothing wrong with that. As it should be. But a league collecting billions of dollars from networks to televise its games can't dictate to those networks not to show slo-mo replays to millions of highly invested viewers, so the devil must be dealt with somehow. To ignore that is what will ruin the game.

Take a look at photos of Packers FB Danny Vitale from the 2018 season.

Eli from Apple Valley, MN

If you had the power to go back in time and change one draft pick the Packers have had, which selection would you choose to change?

It would have to be Mandarich in '89, right? The next three guys taken – Barry Sanders, Derrick Thomas, Deion Sanders – are all in the Hall of Fame. The only way you don't change that one is if you believe, with one of those other three picks, the Packers then don't bring in Ron Wolf three years later to straighten everything out. I could respect that argument.

Matt from Waukesha, WI

Am Fam Park kind of has a ring to it? No, not really...

I preface this by saying I proudly enter the American Family Gate at Lambeau when I come to work every day. But please, the team is the Brewers, not the Brokers.

Shane from York, NE

Tampa Bay hosts Super Bowl LV in 2021 and the Packers are scheduled to play at the Buccaneers in the 2020 season. Might this be the next best chance at playing in Europe?

Not the way Packers fans have invaded Raymond James Stadium in the past. It's the same issue with other similar suggestions. Mark Murphy mentioned in a Wisconsin State Journal story it'll likely take the league stepping in and telling one of those leveraged teams that their Packers game is getting moved. If the league wants it to happen badly enough, it could minimize financial considerations by boosting the "international stipend" it gives the home team to move a game overseas. We'll see.

Dan from Allen, TX

I can see what Nick from Portland sees in trading the No. 30 pick and our second-rounder for the 15th pick overall. But, this looks like a pretty deep draft, so I could see them dropping eight spots and picking up the 20th pick in the second round. They may have to throw in a fifth per the point system. You could package both of your fourth-round picks for the No. 88 overall pick in the third round. This would leave you with two first-, two second- and two third-rounders. Signed, The Mad Scientist. You need partners, though.

The last four words of your post meant more than the first 94. Remember that. Really, No. 88, huh?


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