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Is this the beginning of a cycle?

"Ask Vic" is taking next week off. The column will next appear on Monday, June 27.


Dustin from Jacksonville, FL

Could you explain to us what this 90 percent cash minimum means?

It means "dead money" can't occupy more than 10 percent of a team's salary cap. It's a way of guaranteeing that new money will be spent. Under the old cap rules, when a team traded or cut a player, what was left of his amortization accelerated onto the current year's cap. That's what's known as "dead money" and it occupies a portion of a team's salary cap with money that has already been paid.

Brian from Louisville, KY

I have to say I respect your stance about no statistics, but the sad but simple thing is that's all we, the fans, are fed. I am an avid Packers fan and can tell you big plays and who's reliable without using statistics, but to find out about other teams I have to listen to the stats NFL Network or ESPN gives me. They spout off things like he ran for 1,000 yards last year, he had 100 tackles. I wish I could follow the league better, but sadly I am forced to rely on statistics to get a better grasp.

There's nothing wrong with that. I do it, too. I use stats to get a feel for an upcoming game. I'll use stats to support an opinion, but only if I believe that a particular stat is truly indicative of what happened. For example, there is no doubt in my mind the Packers' plus-3 turnover differential in the Super Bowl was the difference in the game. What I won't do is use stats to tell a lie, and you can do that with stats. Why would somebody do that? Because they are a fan of a particular player or of a particular style of play, etc., and they'll do whatever it takes to support their bias.

John from Cincinnati, OH

I flew to Wisconsin a couple of years ago to catch a game against the Bengals. I brought with me a couple of friends of mine who happen to be Bengals fans. After the game was over, my friends were totally surprised at how warmly they were received by the Packers faithful. What do you attribute the great stadium atmosphere Lambeau has to?

The people here are naturally friendly. I knew that before I got here and I haven't seen anything that's changed my opinion. It's a good place for a grumpy person such as myself to spend some time. Maybe I'll change. I doubt it, but you never know.

Tom from Fairborn, OH

"After further review, the guy had it comin'." Where is Ben Dreith when we need him? "Had him down, givin' him the business." Priceless stuff.

When the NFL decided its referees needed to communicate verbally with the fans, it handed over the microphone, so to speak, to guys who weren't hired for their oratory talents, which resulted in a lot of interesting dialogue. These were guys that weren't familiar with turning communicators on and off, either, so they often left their communicators on after they were done talking, and that resulted in a lot of salty language and harsh whistles making their way into stadium PA systems. These days, an official better be able to communicate his call if he wants to make it into the ranks of the referees. There's one guy in particular, Gene Steratore, whose voice I absolutely love. Every time he talks, he reminds me of Norton from the "Honeymooners." After further review, Ralphie, the call stands.

Bob from Fargo, ND

What has two fingers and is sick of listening to idiotic arguments about statistics? This guy.

You probably use one of those belly putters, huh? Johnny Miller loves them. By the way, this is one of my favorite weekends of the year because it's U.S. Open weekend, which means I get to listen to Johnny all weekend long.

Bret from Mililani, HI

With so much emphasis on the passing game now, how do you think Vince Lombardi would've done as a coach today?

He would've won in any era because great coaches adapt and adjust to circumstances. I didn't cover Coach Lombardi; I wish I had. I did cover a coach who possessed the same commitment to the running game. I'm talking about Chuck Noll, who won two Super Bowls with a run-the-ball, stop-the-run style of play, and then won two more with a wide open passing attack. In 1978, Noll changed. He saw that the rules changes of '78 would favor the passing game, and he turned Bradshaw, Swann and Stallworth loose. I'll never forget Chuck showing reporters the video the league sent out that summer on the rules changes. Don Shula was the demonstrator on the video. When the video was over, Chuck boldly predicted what the result of the rules changes would be, and he was right on the money. Coach Lombardi would've seen the same and he would've reacted accordingly. Don't pigeonhole great coaches. They do what it takes to win because they're winners.

Alex from New York, NY

With the bump-and-run coverage you mentioned, how were defensive backs supposed to know when the ball was in the air?

They watched the receiver's eyes. When the receiver turned his head and looked for the ball, the defender turned his head and looked for the ball, too.

Mitch from Milwaukee, WI

It took me an extra day but I have the final numbers. Including postseason contests, Bart Starr's win-loss record as a Packer is 71-29, with a winning percentage of 40 percent; Brett Favre is 172-103 with a winning percentage of 59 percent as a Packer.

I don't know, Mitch. Those numbers don't look right.

Kamen from Bethel, CT

Okay, I'll put an end to this Brett vs. Bart debate. Bart 94-57-6 (.618), Brett 186-112-0 (.624). credits Starr with a 94-57-6 record and Favre with a 160-93 record while with the Packers. Their regular-season winning percentages are nearly identical.

Joe from London, UK

I just saw the new Super Bowl ring. Resplendent against Green Bay's other three, I couldn't help but shed a tear, maybe because it's only now hit home how special it is and what an historic accomplishment it was.

It's a beautiful ring and it was a sensational ceremony. It capped a season I wish I had experienced. I got the sense that everybody at the ceremony was wondering, privately, how many more of these ceremonies does this team have in it? This is a young team with a young, star quarterback on the rise. This is a team with a general manager and head coach who seem to be made for each other and tailored perfectly for the franchise. Everything I witnessed last night fits. The punch line to the night is that now it's time to put last season to rest and move on to the next season, but when you have a team this good and this young, you tend to think in terms of cycles, not seasons. I can't help but wonder, are the Packers at the start of a cycle and, if they are, how long will it last?

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