Al from Green Bay, WI
For the third consecutive playoff game, the Eagles are the underdog. While the media suggests this as a great motivator for Philly, do you really think it matters once the kickoff occurs?
Not really. The point spread in this game is rooted in one thing – Tom Brady vs. Nick Foles. I'm not dissing Foles, but Brady's QB matchup in the Super Bowl has never been this lopsided. Even Carolina's Jake Delhomme had done more than Foles at this point in his career. Kurt Warner, Donovan McNabb, Eli Manning (twice), Russell Wilson and Matt Ryan were all considerably more respected and accomplished than Foles, whose game has swung wildly up and down during his career and since taking over for Wentz. Brady knows this is his game to win or lose, and he wouldn't have it any other way.
Joe from Clio, MI
Guys, in every single description of Jerry Kramer's career the phrase "he delivered one of the most famous blocks in NFL history" is used. The truth is, he delivered the only famous block in NFL history. There is no other one. That's it. One. It belongs to the man who did it in one of the three most influential games in history along with being on the 1960s All-Decade team. Tell me another famous block, anybody? Anyone? Thank goodness he's still with us to see what will be one of the HOF's greatest injustices rectified.
I plan to be in Minneapolis on Saturday to cover the HOF announcement for our website. I can't imagine the emotions for Kramer as he waits, yet again, to find out.**
Joe from Pittsburgh, PA
With justice finally being served regarding Jerry Kramer, who do you think now becomes the most obvious Hall of Fame slight? I go with Kenny Anderson. If he wins that Super Bowl against Montana he would have been a slam dunk.
Pete Johnson. Less than a yard. It's a real shame. An even greater shame would be putting Kramer through this 20 years after he was last a finalist and not voting him in. It would be downright cruel.
Maggie from Kenosha, WI
With the new Hall of Fame class being announced Saturday, who would your picks for this year's class be?
I think three first-time eligible players will get in – Brian Urlacher, Ray Lewis and Randy Moss. With Terrell Owens coming so close last year, he might be the fourth this year, which would leave only one more spot from the 15 modern-era finalists. As I said on "Unscripted," I'm curious about Everson Walls, the former Cowboys cornerback. He's in his final year of eligibility as a modern-era candidate, and he's a finalist for the first time. There's obviously been a push for him before it's too late, which would relegate him to the senior-committee route. With the first four I mentioned likely to get in, it could be a tough class to crack and I'd expect some close votes.
Arthur from Chippewa Falls, WI
I'm pulling for the Eagles. Because if Foles can win it that would be two quarterbacks from the same high school to play in and win a Super Bowl. Do you think there would be some interviews with the coach that had Brees and Foles back-to-back?
I had forgotten that storyline. The Minnesota Miracle prevented a historic NFC title game matchup, I guess.
Dennis from Naples, FL
Last year about midseason I had five out of six questions published in the "Insider Inbox." Since then I am about zero for 11! Am I officially in a slump?
Brett from Green Bay, WI
What's your favorite part of covering a Super Bowl?
I've covered two, and they are a ton of work. You're exhausted by the time Sunday rolls around, and even more wiped out after all the frantic postgame coverage, but the 3½ hours you get to sit in the press box and just digest the game make it all worth it.**
Scott from Saint Charles, IL
Boys, the blue and tan throwback uniforms have run their course, I can feel it. How about those matching Kelly green jerseys and pants, or the gold jersey and pants from the 1950s? Can you put in a word with the big boys for me?
The Packers' current third jersey has been in use for three years and must run a five-year course before another third jersey can be created. So the earliest the Packers will have a new throwback is 2020.
Tong from Anchorage, AK
Hey Insiders, not sure if this question has been asked yet, but how does the NFL determine which team is home/away for the Super Bowl and/or which color jerseys the two teams will wear?
The conferences alternate home and away designations in the Super Bowl, and the home team gets to choose which jersey it wants to wear. The AFC is the home team this year, and the Patriots chose to wear white.
Dan from Wichita, KS
Inbox denizens are discussing the very public way Aaron expressed his frustration at losing his QB coach without being consulted first. Can you give us any insight as to why the team would do this to a player who seems to have earned the right to have input on such a decision?
There must be more to the story than I'm aware of, because I thought Alex Van Pelt intentionally let his contract run out after the 2017 season in order to pursue an offensive coordinator position, or another opportunity elsewhere. Rodgers' comments suggest a different side to this. I'm not sure what the truth is, frankly.
Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL
I guess the question is, how miffed is he?
Only he knows. I'm a believer that players play and coaches coach. Van Pelt is gone, but Philbin is back, and Rodgers won his first MVP with Philbin as offensive coordinator in a record-setting year. This too shall pass.**
Sam from Sioux Falls, SD
Alex Smith got a lot of money, and someone is going to give Kirk Cousins even more money. So, with Aaron Rodgers' contract coming up, how much guaranteed money do you think he would get?
More than anyone else has received to this point. He would have to get more than Smith's $70 million guaranteed, I suspect.
Gabriel from Dubai, UAE
The Alex Smith trade will surely make waves through free agency, but it feels to me that it will also impact contract negotiations. He received an overpriced contract that will make Cousins demand at least the same from somewhere, but it will most likely impact the negotiation on Brees, who's about to become a free agent and is one of the top five. This might have a domino effect on other positions, since we know some players are already asking for hefty prices (Aaron Donald, Le'Veon Bell, OBJ). Rodgers' next contract is also in this discussion and Russ will need to be VERY shrewd to manage that and not cripple us.
Ball has managed Rodgers' contract very shrewdly and fairly for a long time now. I have all the confidence in the world that'll continue.
Andy from Madison, WI
What if officials could only review live-speed replays? If they can only tell if the ball moved an inch during a catch by slowing it down to one frame per minute, maybe they should just leave it as a catch. I'd see the biggest problem being the fans still have access to slo-mo review.
Exactly. That would be a huge problem and create far more controversy than we have now.
Andy from Walpole, MA
Insiders, can you help provide a little historical perspective on instant replay? As I remember it, discussion of replay started around the time of the "Immaculate Reception," but then-Commissioner Pete Rozelle was dead set against it. He thought it would break up the flow of the game and wouldn't even provide the certainty fans were demanding. How did the league's opposition to replay get overcome and doesn't the current controversy over the catch rule tend to bear out Rozelle's initial concerns?
Replay has a rocky history. The first system in the NFL was in place from 1986-91, then the owners got rid of it because of the delays and the inability to fix enough calls, and it didn't come back until 1999. Upon its return, the average delay was three-plus minutes for several years, but there were far fewer plays reviewed. The average length has been cut down considerably in recent seasons, but with more plays being put under replay's purview (particularly the automatic reviews of all scoring plays and turnovers now), it's the number of delays drawing as much ire as the duration. I don't know what the right answer is, but the technology available to the fan at home makes it difficult to have a system that doesn't use the same technology to the fullest to get calls right. Off the top of my head, the best way to speed up the process might be to have more eyeballs looking at as many camera angles as possible, simultaneously, as soon as a review is called for, in order to decide the definitive angle(s) to use. It seems to take too long going through the angles one at a time to find the best one. That's where I'd start.
Mark from Campbellsport, WI
In regards to the Packers not drafting T.J. Watt, can you guys imagine what your inbox would be like if the Insider Inbox was around back in 1989.
Oh my. Or 1981.
Randall from Corvallis, OR
Greetings, I did not realize Justin Vogel had a record-setting year. It seemed to me that he was inconsistent, but glad to hear otherwise. Please list all his stats and accomplishments, and maybe a big impact play or two. Who have been the best Packer punters and how would you rank him?
I'm not going to rank him after just one year, but he did set the single-season franchise record for net punting average at 41.6 yards. The stat has been kept by the team since 1976, and he beat Tim Masthay's 40.3 from 2015. He also had only two touchbacks all year while placing 19 inside the 20. There was some inconsistency, and Ron Zook often commented on trying to get better ball placement – keeping it out of the middle of the field – but there's plenty to work with. I think Vogel has a bright future.
Mike from Mankato, MN
What was your overall analysis for Josh Jones in his rookie season? Seems like he has all the physical tools but now the game just needs to slow down for him to be the difference-maker this defense needs.
Jones made his share of mistakes, but I think if he's allowed to settle in and master one position – whether it's deep safety or hybrid linebacker or wherever – he'll be able to maximize on those physical tools. It appeared to me the more he moved around, the less consistently he played.
Maximillian from Sydney, Australia
How's this for a bold prediction? I wouldn't be surprised to see Damarious Randall be our shutdown corner next season. Thoughts?
I hope the Packers are strong enough and deep enough at both boundary corner spots to allow Randall to play in the slot all season long. I think that's where he can make the biggest impact.**
Tony from Bronxville, NY
Speaking of players studying the playbook, what is actually in the playbook? Of course X's and O's, positions and blocking; but what about code words, audibles? How do they know what to do if a play or assignment changes at the line?
That's why you practice. There's the playbook you learn on paper, and the one that's executed on the field.
Max from Savage, MN
Here's one thing that could instantly speed up every game: Eliminate the two-minute warning. It lengthens stoppage for nearly 10 minutes every game between the two halves, and disrupts the flow of an already cumbersome final couple minutes. It would make timeouts and challenges more valuable. Aside from some advertising dollars, what's the point? College seems to do just fine without it. Thoughts?
That's funny. Did you just hear yourself? "Aside from some advertising dollars …" The two-minute warning might be the most valuable piece of advertising real estate the NFL has. It'll never go away.
Don from Cedar Rapids, IA
Will packers.com be running a $5 million, 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl?
I came so close to getting that approved in the budget. So close.
TD from Potosi, WI
Spoff, you mentioned rooting for the Eagles against the Raiders in Super Bowl XV. Do you remember Keith Krepfle from Potosi, WI (and Iowa State fame) playing in that game? He caught the only touchdown the Eagles scored. Shout out to Keith with the Eagles back in the big game.
I vaguely remember the name. I'll have to have a Cave Ale during Sunday's game in Krepfle's honor.