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London is on the NFL horizon; count on it


The Vikings and RB Adrian Peterson beat the Steelers in London on Sunday.

Walt from Belmont, NC

It seems like helmets are coming off players at an alarming rate. I saw two hats come off on one play on Sunday. Does it have to do with changes to the helmets, or maybe changes to hair style or the caps under the helmets? I saw Matt Schaub put his helmet back on without undoing his chinstraps?

It's the helmet, not the head. Helmets are coming off more often because they are bigger and more rigid. The days of putting your helmet on by pulling at the ear flaps are over. The helmet doesn't fit around the head as snugly as it once did. It tends now to fit on the head. It's a product of new design to provide greater player safety. It's one of the changes in the game we must accept, and we've created a rule to allow for it.

Chris from Ely, England

Vic, I was at Wembley on Sunday, proudly in my green and gold, but I wanted to say it was a privilege to watch Adrian Peterson run the ball in person. The reaction when he went the distance was electric. I know there's a financial incentive for the NFL to do this but hope everyone in the U.S. understands how much these international series games mean to us. We are grateful to the league, the players, the coaches and especially to the fans who lose a home game.

Eighty-four thousand people were in attendance. Anyone that doesn't think the NFL is going to eventually put a team in London is not paying attention.

Ryan from Menomonie, WI

I know the NFL loves the idea of a team in Europe, and the games selling out over there are only helping the argument, however, couldn't it be something that they only see once a year over there so everyone goes? If they had it all the time, it might not be so popular. NFL Europe did fail.

First of all, NFL Europe did not fail. It did exactly what it was intended to do, which is to say expose the sport in Europe and identify potential hotbeds for expansion. Saying NFL Europe failed is the same as saying minor league baseball is a failure because it doesn't sell out every game. NFL Europe was minor league football; London is getting the real thing and they're selling out for games between teams with whom the fans don't have a connection. Are we sure a team in London will meet with the same success on a steady basis? No, but there's only one way to find out and you can rest assured the NFL will eventually test the market.

Peter from Waukegan, IL

Are the Packers becoming too predictable on both the offense and defense? Do the coordinators need to change their philosophy or do they need new coordinators?

When plays don't work, they're predictable. When the same plays work over and over, a team has achieved identity. When that happens late in the season, look out. When you can take what you want, why even bother taking what they give you?

Andrew from Urbana, IL

Vic, I like seeing the Browns beat the Bengals after a tough loss, but I can't help but wonder if every team circles the game against the Packers and tries even harder to beat them. It didn't seem like the Bengals prepared/executed as well on Sunday.

Prepare harder for a game against the Packers and on a short week of work than for a game against a division and in-state rival? I don't think so. I covered that division for most of my career. They feel very strongly about the games against each other. Maybe someone played the Browns a tape of Sam Wyche saying, "You don't live in Cleveland."

Dan from Green Bay, WI

I don't see how the success and (apparent) decline of the read option illustrates your players over scheme mantra. Last year, when players were unprepared for a new scheme, they got beat. Now that they're prepared, the same players don't get beat. It seems that at least a new scheme can trouble even the best players for a time.

It can. A new, cutting-edge scheme can cause hesitation. The wildcat did that. It's not whipping the coaches. They can draw up a counter scheme on a moment's notice. They know exactly what to do, but teaching that counter scheme to their players takes time. You can trick somebody, but you can't do it for long. Plays, not players can get you a win, but not often and it won't be lasting.

Joe from Sherman, IL

Vic, I just wondered if you would like to offer your thoughts about L.C. Greenwood.

Three-fourths of the best defensive line I ever covered is gone. Only Joe is left. L.C. is gone but his gold shoes will live forever. He was twice a finalist for the Hall of Fame but didn't get in, largely because it was argued, "How good do you have to be to play between Joe Greene and Jack Ham?" Unfairness offers its victims a wonderful opportunity. L.C. always took the high road.

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