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Mike McCarthy most underrated coach in the league

These are the games that define a team's season


James from Whitewater, WI

Vic, do you agree we can change the elite quarterback list to Brady, Manning, Rodgers, Brees, Roethlisberger and Luck?

What you're doing is adding Roethlisberger, based on his current hot streak. I guess that's what gets a quarterback on the elite list, but I've always had an elite level of respect for Roethlisberger's toughness and ability to rise to the occasion at crunch time. There has seemingly always been a barrier for him; he's lived on the edge of elite, even after his performance in Super Bowl XLIII, when I felt fate robbed him of the MVP. Hey, he put that same pass on Santonio Holmes' hands on consecutive plays; Holmes dropped the first one. Some players just never get their due. I think Packers fans feel that way about Bart Starr. What this season is doing for Roethlisberger is debunking the myth that he was a game manager. He's got some of the biggest yardage games in NFL history, it's just that early in his career he played for a team that wanted to run the ball. What they asked him to do was to make plays at crunch time, and he almost always did, and that always has been and always will be what I respect most in a quarterback.

Dwezel from Wetwang, UK

Vic, I keep hearing Jon Gruden speak about "Spider 2Y Banana" a dozen or so times throughout the course of the game. Is it a real play and has it been around the NFL for as long as he says it has?

Pop Warner dabbled with it in the 1920s; Knute Rockne scoffed at it, called it gimmicky trash. It was Clark Shaughnessy, the father of the T formation, that took the banana to new heights. Paul Brown, Sid Gillman and Bill Walsh have all added wrinkles to the banana, and now it's become a part of the football fabric that's been woven by time and innovation.

Paul from Farnborough, UK

Vic, I have read suggestions that 50-plus field goals should be worth more than just three points and 60-plus should be worth even more. Why reward a team whose offense can't get any closer to the end zone than that? I like it the way it is.

If someone asked me to vote on a proposal that would limit field goal attempts to the fourth quarter only, I'd vote for it.

Noah from Brisbane, Australia

Vic, what will it take to win the NFC North this season?

Get hot down the stretch. Every season comes down to that. September is in the rearview mirror. We're heading into the games that define a team's season. Win now!

Brett from Green Bay, WI

Vic, what's your opinion on Mark Sanchez?

The Jets quit him on him too soon.

Sergio from Pasadena, CA

Vic, how underrated as a coach is Mike McCarthy? He doesn't seem to get the same praise as some other coaches in the league, some who have yet to win a championship.

He's the most underrated coach in the league, and he might be destined to join his mentor, Marty Schottenheimer, as one of the most underrated coaches of all time. Why are some guys naturally underrated? I don't know the answer to that question. If I owned a team and I was given my choice of any coach in the league, McCarthy would be my choice. He combines old-school fundamentals with a new-age approach; a team must employ both.

Bill from Raleigh, NC

Vic, I consider Peyton the best regular-season QB I have seen play, and Eli one of the best playoff QBs. Tell me about Archie. Would Archie have been a great QB if the Saints had some players around him?

Despite playing on losing teams, Archie Manning was always considered to be a great quarterback. The interesting thing is that he was nothing like his son Peyton. Peyton is a technician. He's a coach on the field. He always makes the right decisions. He'll sack himself. His father was improvisational. He was a scrambler. He was a wild and wooly player. He was exciting in ways his son can be mechanical, and he was risky in ways his son is measured.

Kaleb from Boulder, CO

Vic, with Tretter back on the roster and Sherrod released, what moves do you see happening on our starting offensive line?

I don't see any moves, as long as T.J. Lang makes a recovery. JC Tretter was activated because he is a young and ascending lineman this team wants on its active roster. The Packers cross-train their linemen. Tretter isn't just a center. The depth on the offensive line just improved.

Mike from Wildomar, CA

Vic, have the Packers ever thought about replacing the bench seats with real seats?

It would result in Lambeau Field's seating capacity being reduced by 10,000. I don't think anybody wants that to happen.

Reiss from Virginia Beach, VA

Vic, I know you don't know the true answer to this question, but what good does releasing Sherrod do at this point in the year?

The team must've felt it was decision time. They made a decision. That's what general managers must do. When one player is replaced by another player, isn't the message pretty clear?

Greg from Melbourne, FL

Vic, it's halftime in the MNF game and Andrew Luck has thrown 31 times and the Colts have run four times (five if you count one Luck run). This seems ridiculous, especially considering they've held the lead all game. Please tell me this isn't a viable, long-term strategy. I'm pulling out my hair.

I turned on the TV to see if the Steelers and Ravens were still fighting. They weren't. Instead, TV was showing a football game. I watched for a while, but they just kept doing the same thing, so I went to bed.

Matt from Marquette, MI

Vic, if someone told you the final score, would you still watch the game?

That's an interesting question. I'm a product of the tape-delay generation. There were so few football games on TV when I was young, a tape-delayed game was fun to watch. I watched Notre Dame highlights every Sunday morning. I knew the final score and it was probably a blowout win for the Irish, but I still watched. Would I do it today? No, I wouldn't. Hmmm, what does that mean?

Matt from Pittsburgh, PA

Vic, what's it like covering the two-best teams in NFL history, Packers and Steelers, not Jags, LOL?

Don't you talk about my Jaguars like that. I was there the year they were born. I'll bet you didn't know the Jaguars led the league in revenue in 1995, their inaugural season. I saw them take their first steps, and I saw them fall and get hurt. They've gone through some tough times, but their day will come again.

Nick from Iowa City, IA

I made a mistake today by reading the comments online by people about Mike McCarthy. I find it hard to believe how people don't realize how good we have it right now. These years are possibly the best we will ever have for a long, long time, and nobody wants to enjoy it. I'm youngish and still don't want McCarthy to go because he may be the best coach this team will have until I die. I just wanted to chime in so you don't have all doom and gloom in your inbox.

It's become a game. Who can be most outrageous? The Internet has given birth to a culture of complainers that enjoy seeing their attacks in print. These are the "hungry wolves," and they must be ignored. You don't ever want them running your franchise.

Travis from Calgary, Alberta

You said you shouldn't expect to win a championship, you should expect to go to the playoffs, or something to that effect. Well, that really stuck with me and has really helped keep the season in a greater perspective. Thanks for that little bit of wisdom.

It's just a way of saying one goal at a time. The playoffs are the first goal. After you make it into the playoffs, the goal is to win a championship. I think if a team orders its thoughts in that way, it'll help avoid making wild decisions.

James from Wausau, WI

Four out of five at home and the homes games will be late games. Good or bad, Vic?

It's bad for Vic. He has trouble going to sleep if he doesn't have a chance to unwind after the game.

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