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League's explanation of picking up flag could be fun

Packers-Cowboys playoff game could be one for the ages


Joe from Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan

Vic, I have been waiting for next Sunday's matchup with the Cowboys for 47 years. My dad and I had to listen to the Ice Bowl on the radio because we lived too close to Green Bay to get the TV coverage. We had to listen to the radio in the kitchen; that was where we got the best signal. I can still remember the announcer saying "quarterback sneak for a touchdown." Since then, Dallas has had our number in the playoff games. I've always said, just wait until we get the Cowboys back at Lambeau, especially for a playoff game. The football gods have finally granted my wish. In my mind, I picture the final moments of the game with Green Bay ahead by four, Dallas has the ball fourth-and-goal from the one, and Murray getting stuffed at the line of scrimmage, brought down by Matthews and Peppers.

Listening to games on the radio always created great visuals.

Mike from Phoenix, AZ

Many people are wondering why the pick up of the flag after announcing a defensive pass interference penalty on the Dallas Cowboys in the Detroit game. What explanation can you give other than the NFL wanting Dallas to win the game?

Do you really think the referee got instructions from the league to pick up the flag because the league wanted Dallas in the playoffs? I don't know what happened, but I couldn't help but think back to the Ellis Hobbs call that put the Colts into the Super Bowl in the 2006 playoffs. Phil Simms was doing the game and immediately agreed with the call because Simms said Hobbs was guilty of faceguarding. The problem with that opinion is that there is no such thing as faceguarding in the NFL rules. So, when they picked up the flag, I imagined the officials meeting and one of them using the word faceguarding, and the referee saying, "Uh, there is no penalty for faceguarding," and that caused the change. That's just something that ran through my mind. I have no idea what happened. Obviously, somebody had a strong opinion that it wasn't pass interference and that was a call-changer.

Nick from Jupiter, FL

Vic, your thoughts on the Packers 8-0 at home vs Dallas 8-0 on the road?

That'll be a big storyline for this game, but I don't think it carries nearly as much importance as will be dedicated to it. The Cowboys haven't played in the kind of weather they'll face this Sunday. This won't be about playing on the road. It'll be about playing in an ice box. This will be about playing in extreme physical discomfort.

D.J. from Bristol, WI

I think if the Packers can win their game against Dallas there is a real shot the NFC Championship will be in Lambeau. Basically, I'm saying Carolina is scary. What are your thoughts?

I watched the regular-season meeting between the two teams. Carolina's defense played the Seahawks offense off its feet, until crunch time. That's when Russell Wilson kicked it into gear and I got a new-found respect for Wilson. If Carolina can play the swarming kind of defense in Seattle they played on Saturday vs. Arizona, and if Cam Newton can use his improvisational skills to surprise the Seahawks defense, I believe the Panthers can win. I acknowledge that possibility, but it is not my expectation.

Craig from Cedarburg, WI

What did you learn about the Cowboys this weekend? Is stopping Murray enough to win?

The Cowboys are for real. They can run it and they can throw it, and they have a young defense on the rise. What I learned this past weekend is that I believe those that want the Packers to beat the best to become the best are going to get their wish.

Dave from Brentwood, CA

Vic, how do you see the Packers matching up with the Cowboys team we saw on Sunday?

It's a classic matchup of two teams playing their best football, but this matchup is going to be defined by its history and the hype. My boss said this game might blow up the Internet, as a result of the teams' huge fan bases. I'll give you the nuts-and-bolts analysis in my "10 things" editorial on Thursday.

Jake from Englewood, CO

What do we take away from the Cowboys' play against the Lions?

The Cowboys got it done at crunch time. Teams that make big plays at crunch time begin to like themselves. They grow in esteem. They deepen their investment. They become very dangerous.

Tom from Melbourne, FL

What is the temperature forecast for this Sunday's game. Who do you think benefits more in extreme cold?

As I'm writing this column early on Monday morning, my phone says it's minus 11 and feels like minus 34. Anyone in Dallas reading these words must be thinking to themselves, "Why does anyone live there?" It's difficult for people from warm-weather places to imagine the kind of mind-numbing cold that's so common for us. You really can't appreciate that kind of cold until you stay out in it for a while. Sunday's forecast – it'll likely change 10 times between now and then – is calling for a high of 18 and a low of five degrees. In my opinion, the conditions will favor the Packers for the obvious reason they've played in that kind of cold often and know what you have to do to win in it.

Chris from Sullivan, WI

I didn't know the 1982 season had 16 teams in the playoffs. How did that work?

It was a strike season that lost a lot of regular-season games, so they expanded the playoff field and I thought it worked great.

Julie from St. Louis, MO

Vic, why does Randall Cobb return some punts and Micah Hyde return others? Why do they switch it up?

Shawn Slocum says it's about strategy. Apparently, the kind of punt the Packers are expecting and the kind of return they have planned dictates whether Cobb or Hyde is the return man.

Rebekah from Germantown, TN

Vic, I am very elated we are playing the Cowboys. The team that hasn't lost a road game vs. the team that hasn't lost at home. Do you think this will be one for the ages?

If it's a down-to-the-wire finish with a defining play or two, it'll absolutely be one for the ages because the hype will make it one for the ages. Get ready for it, folks. The hype this week is going to make you wish Sunday was tomorrow.

Dale from Sheboygan, WI

Just wanted to say I could not take my eyes off Suh during that playoff game. He was such a force of nature. After the game, he was nearly in tears in his press conference and it was clear how much he cared about the game. I love this version of Suh and have great respect for it.

He's really a very sensitive guy.

Mike from Kalamazoo, MI

Is Tony Romo an elite quarterback?

He is now.

Ken from Nekoosa, WI

I would like to know why Dez Bryant can run out on the field without a helmet to complain to the referee without getting a flag thrown. He was yelling about the mysterious pass interference penalty flag that was picked up.

The NFL will spend much of today cleaning up this mess, if it can be cleaned up. Wait for it. The explanation might be fun.

Tristan from Washington, DC

After watching the playoff games, I noticed that AFC games feel different than NFC games. I can't quite put my finger on what exactly the difference is, but it's palpable. As someone who spent most of his career covering AFC teams, did you feel a difference switching to the NFC when you joined the Packers?

I felt no difference at all. I just think you're sensing your bias.

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