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It was a memorable season

Happy birthday, Coach Lombardi!


Ramiro from Orange, CA

Vic, I hope you're doing well. Speaking of cornerbacks, any thoughts on Darrell Green? Was he a case of right place and right time?

He's one of the most underrated players in NFL history. He could defend and tackle. He could cover and catch. He was pure speed, and speed is right any place and at any time.

Jerry from Wilmington, NC

Vic, why Clark Shaughnessy?

He's the father of the T formation, the foundation on which modern-era offensive strategy has been built for seven decades. If you're a devotee of football strategy, you need to read on this man.

Martin from Grafton, WI

Ok, I'll bite. Why would the "i" keep him from getting the job?

It says much about the progress we've made as a culture that you don't know the answer to that question. I'd rather you never know.

Mark from Verona, WI

Would Mel Blount be a safety in today's NFL?

I see him as the perfect cover two corner, which would probably increase his interceptions total (57). Blount had great hands. I have no doubt he could've excelled as a wide receiver. In today's game, which features creativity, Blount might've been used in ways that might've made him an even better player. He was a long-striding defender, however, and I don't see that as ideal in the mirror-coverage era. He was a bump-and-close defender. Here's what I think is most important: There isn't a defender in today's game that could've starred in Blount's game as Blount did. He didn't play now. He played then. He must be judged by then.

Shilo from Fallbrook, CA

I enjoy football and the Packers, but I won't bow to the field or pray to it. I think that was a bit overboard, even metaphorically.


Ernie from Milwaukee, WI

Vic, your "Field of Dreams" is perfectly written! You described to a tee of how I feel. I take my son on the tour each year. We touch the grass together. He's only seven but I explain to him this is the same field Lambeau, Lombardi, Taylor, Kramer, White, Favre, Matthews and Rodgers have touched. Vic, if heaven is real and there's a sporting venue, with all of my heart I believe it would be Lambeau Field! Thank you for your awesome response to that question!

So you don't think it was a bit overboard, huh?

Phil from Las Vegas, NV

Vic, when I was a kid it seemed every time I saw Muhammad Ali on TV Howard Cosell was the reporter that would do the interview. I loved the banter between the two of them. I think they helped each other's career.

You bet they did. It was brilliant on Ali's part to allow for that kind of athlete/reporter relationship. Ali played off Cosell. He used Cosell as his foil, and it was brilliant for Cosell to play to it. Ali allowed Cosell to ask the tough questions, and then Ali responded combatively, yet, playfully, creating can't-miss entertainment. Back then, every reporter had a player and every player had a reporter. They were each other's guy and they took care of each other. Ali and Cosell had that kind of relationship. I miss those days terribly.

Scott from Escanaba, MI

Vic, I just wanted to thank you for the "Field of Dreams" prose. I felt like I was in the presence of Grantland Rice or Ernie Pyle. You're a class act and a credit to your craft.

I was just trying to capture the spirit of the thing.

Matt from Los Angeles, CA

I had such a great time watching the Packers 2015 top 10 plays video. We had some lows, for sure, but boy do I cherish the insane memories I have of last season. I'm also glad to see James Jones' touchdown against the Rams made it. I was amazed he managed to keep his knee from touching the ground. Those are the moments that make me appreciate football the most.

I pity any fan who regards 2015 as a bad season. It is one of the most memorable seasons I have ever covered.

Frank from New Berlin, WI

What's the invisible paint story?

It goes back to a time when this column was searching for an identity. A reader asked how TV creates that yellow first-down line. I responded I thought it was invisible paint. I wasn't trying to mock the reader, I was attempting to poke fun at myself. I was attempting to be the reader's foil. What I didn't expect was for a large segment of the readership to believe me. That was too good to pass up. "Yeah, I figured it was invisible paint," I would agree. It went on for days. Readers would beg me to stop the charade and come clean. Other readers begged for more. The real impact of the invisible paint caper is it taught me what the real identity of the column is: the reader. The reader is the subject of the column. The reader makes it fun.

Wes from Valparaiso, IN

Vic, in the final question of Friday's column a reader asked about former players who would make good politicians. Do you think Alan Page would be a good answer to that question? What are your thoughts on him as a player and his post-football pursuits?

I covered the Hall of Fame ceremony in which he was inducted. His was a different type of acceptance ceremony. Instead of being presented by a coach or teammate, Page chose to be presented for induction by a female academician, a teacher. She didn't talk about football, she spoke about education. I can't remember what she said, but I'll never forget the message I got from her speech: Alan Page is about much more than football. He would become an associate justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. He was a great player who rose to even greater heights following his career.

Rick from Fall River, MA

Vic, really enjoying the offseason columns. You keep mentioning the offensive lines of old couldn't use their hands to block. What does that mean?

It means they couldn't use their hands to block. They had to use their shoulders and forearms. If they got their hands the least little bit away from their bodies, it was holding, and holding was a 15-yard penalty back then. Drive over! At the same time they were grabbing the front of their jersey so they wouldn't be called for holding, they would get hit on the side of the head by a defensive lineman who had wrapped his hand in tape and soaked it in water for a little extra thump. Grabbing my shirt as I get hit on the head by one of the strongest men in the world is way down my list of things to do. The next time you rank all-time offensive linemen, imagine Jerry Kramer's joy had he been informed before a game against the Lions he could use his hands to block Alex Karras and Karras would not be permitted to use his hand to hit Kramer in the head.

Tyler from Crane Lake, MN

I enjoyed the message Coach Noll sent his team. Whip the man across from you.

Some years later, in casual conversation, one of Coach Noll's players said to me of that fourth-down play, "One yard and four seconds," and he shook his head. "You know, that was Roger Staubach we had to stop. Chuck is amazing," he said, smiling.

Victor from Brasilia, Brazil

Vic, which "Hail Mary" is your favorite, the one against the Lions or the one against the Cardinals?

I like the original, the one against the Lions. James Jones (the author, not the receiver), might say it was like a "thunderclap in a cloudless sky," my favorite line in "From Here to Eternity." By the time the Packers did it again in the Cardinals game, we had already heard the thunder.

Dennis from Fayetteville, GA

Your quote, "and they will bend and touch the grass and ask, 'Is this heaven?'" is worthy of a Jim Murray comparison. It brought tears to my eyes as memories swelled from my high school and college playing days and my 73 years of life filled with Packers football. Thank you for the memories and God bless you, Vic Ketchman.

I had a feeling it wouldn't be over the top. With that, let's all wish Coach Lombardi a happy birthday. He would've been 103 years old today. The spirit he left behind is still young.

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