Skip to main content
Powered by

Let's take a look at next year's Super Bowl contenders


Craig from Burbank, CA

You knew the father. I remember the son. Wonderful Monds III was in the Brewers organization. No stick, but blazing speed. Don't forget the full name: Wonderful Terrific Monds.

When your parents name you Wonderful Terrific, you better have blazing speed.

Jeremy from Stony Plain, AB

What about a football skills competition as a replacement for the Pro Bowl game? Top players compete head-to-head in mini-games, testing speed, skill and strength. Quarterbacks could have competitions with moving and non-moving targets. Wide receivers could showcase their catching ability with a diving catch off a platform onto a crash mat. Running backs could run an obstacle course.

And we could call it the Pro Bowl scouting combine. No thanks.

James from Middleburg, FL

I have really enjoyed the HBO series on Lombardi and Namath. I can remember the question coming up in your column questioning Namath's ability. After watching that program, I'm convinced that you were right on. He was special.

As a pure passer, Joe Namath had a skill set for the ages. He had a whip for an arm. He was statuesque in the pocket. His release was textbook and artistic. His accuracy is legendary. Al Davis once said of Namath that he "tilts the field." If he had played in today's game, given the favorable landscape for throwing the ball, he might've thrown for 6,000 yards.

William from Jacksonville, FL

What is the "Wide Nine" defensive scheme the Eagles tried to go with this year?

"Nine" refers to a position or gap well beyond the outside shoulder of the tackle. All it means is that the pass rusher has taken a stance well outside the offensive tackle. By doing that, the pass rusher has increased the area the offensive tackle must defend. Yeah, the pass rusher has moved himself farther from the quarterback, but he's probably a speed guy and that's a distance he can close quickly. The rusher's intent is to get the tackle out in space and put a move on the tackle that'll cause him to whiff and leave the rusher in an unencumbered sprint to the quarterback. Against less athletic tackles, creating space can be a big advantage for an agile speed rusher.

Curtis from Wausau, WI

Do you have a preference for what a Super Bowl halftime show entails? Marching bands over rock stars? I personally enjoy the technical aspect of it all: the lasers for "The Who" and the fireworks for Paul McCartney come to mind as examples of good stage shows in recent years.

I remember the guy dressed like an astronaut wearing a jet pack on his back and shooting himself into the air. Was that Super Bowl I? I liked that. "Up With People" smiled a lot and that was nice. Then came Janet Jackson. I remember turning to my wife and asking her, "Did you just see what I think I saw?" My favorite Super Bowl halftime is from Super Bowl XIV, and has nothing to do with the entertainment on the field. I was sitting in the press box at the Rose Bowl before the game when a familiar face sat down next to me. I knew right away who it was: Robert Walden, who played Rossi in the hit TV show, Lou Grant. He stuck out his hand to introduce himself and I said, "I know who you are. You're Rossi." He then explained he was in the press box to observe reporters for his role as Rossi, an ace newspaper reporter for a fictitious Los Angeles newspaper. Well, at halftime, the two of us got into a long conversation about the show, which was one of my all-time favorites. I had a great time. I remember telling him before the game that there won't be much to observe because we don't talk during the game. He was stunned. At the end of the game, I asked him what he learned. He said, "Nothing, because you guys are boring."

John from Weatherford, TX

Hey, Vic, I love your work; just the right mix of facts and fun. Rodgers commented that he was going to talk up Green Bay as a place to go for free agents when he was at the Pro Bowl. Do we still suffer from the image of a small hick town? I thought Reggie White's free agency dispelled that. Sounds like Aaron must have thought some work was needed in that area.

Nobody thinks of Green Bay as a hick town. It is thought of leaguewide in terms of a football destination, not as a population center. If Green Bay has any kind of negative attached to it, it's that because it's a small market, it doesn't offer the same kinds of endorsement opportunities large markets offer. Maybe that's what Rodgers wanted to address with players at the Pro Bowl. He's certainly cornered the endorsement market, so he'd be a good spokesman on that subject.

Jesse from Sioux Falls, SD

Thoughts on the two teams that will be in the Super Bowl next year?

If you had asked me last year at this time who my picks were for this year's Super Bowl, I probably would've said it was the Packers and Patriots. The Giants wouldn't have been far behind. I think in most years we can look a year ahead and come close to the targets. The Cardinals of 2008 would've been an exception but, in recent years, most of the teams that played in the Super Bowl were from the favorites category. Who would be favorites to play in next year's Super Bowl? I think the NFC field is distinct: Packers, Giants, Saints, 49ers, Falcons and Lions lead the way. I expect the Eagles to rebound and the Cowboys to contend, and the Cardinals may only be a few players away from being a playoff contender. The AFC might be wide open. The Patriots will remain at the top as long as Tom Brady is at the top. The Ravens are showing some age on defense, the Steelers were actually in a mild form of rebuilding in 2011 and they'll continue that in '12, the Jets need Mark Sanchez to take the next step in his development, the Broncos have a major decision to make about whether to commit to the spread, the Chiefs have a nucleus of talent, the Texans' arrow is pointing up, and the Dolphins might be on the verge of being a playoff contender. I wouldn't feel comfortable picking two teams, but I would expect them to come from those two groups.

Mitch from Big Lake, TX

You stated yesterday that the best team in college football would have trouble getting a first down against the worst team in the NFL. Please explain how Alabama, or even LSU, would do against the Colts this year.

How did LSU do against Alabama? Didn't they only run four plays on the Alabama side of the 50-yard line? Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis would devastate college tackles. The gap between college football and the NFL is enormous. For every Cam Newton that's a hit as a rookie, there are 10 rookies that can't get on the field; it might be more. There were more starts by rookies in 2011 than in any season in the last 10 years, but run your finger down the list of draft picks and once you get past the top half of the first round, the ranks of the rookies that made an impact thins quickly.

Matthew from Storrs, CT

Vic, it may also be important that coaches stay hired too long. I've read that if a coach doesn't win the Super Bowl in five years, they won't. The only exception is Bill Cowher.

Tom Landry didn't win a league title (Super Bowl) until his 12th season. Don Shula didn't win a league title until his sixth season. Chuck Noll didn't win a Super Bowl until his sixth season, and then he won four Super Bowls. Combined, those men won nine league championships. The reason today's coaches don't tend to win a Super Bowl if they haven't won one in their first five years with a team is because there aren't many that make it to year five and those that do are on the verge of being fired. Cowher is one of the exceptions. So, you sound like a guy who likes to fire coaches. Would you have fired Landry, Shula and Noll? Think about that.

Jeff from Seminole, FL

You have 10 picks. Do you try and trade up a couple of times or use the picks and give yourself more chances to hit?

I think it's all about cost. If you have the ammunition (extra picks) to use to trade up, and if the cost isn't exorbitant, go ahead and do it, provided you feel very, very strongly about the guy you're trading up to get. Trading up is a good tactic because it allows you to go get your guy and not have to worry about losing him to another team, but it's only a good tactic if the price is right and so is the player. If the player bombs, then he's cost you multiple picks and that can be devastating to a team's future.

Luke from Muskego, WI

What possible rationale is there for Joe Namath being in the Hall of Fame? Career losing record of 62-63-4, career completion percentage of 50.1 percent, 173 touchdowns against 220 interceptions, and a career passer rating of 65.5. Were the voters drunk or just stupid?

That's a pretty strong and disrespectful accusation, Luke. Are you aware of the fact that Namath might be one of the two or three most significant players in NFL history? He changed the course of professional football. He forced the merger. He scored the most important win in Super Bowl history. He is truly a player of fame, as defined by a person's importance to the game. Stat boys? Dime a dozen.

Zach from San Diego, CA

Vic, we are all eagerly awaiting the offseason and draft to try and get quick fixes to be at the top on defense again. What do you see us doing in this draft's first three rounds, based on the draft's strengths and our BAP mindset?

As I've said, I like what I saw at the Senior Bowl, as the talent there relates to the Packers' needs on defense. I think the talent in this draft is tailor-made for teams that play a 3-4 defense. I think the Packers will have a good chance to position themselves to draft a player whose talent fits at where they're picking, and have that player address need.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.