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My parting words for the week that was


Scott from Livingston, NJ

What just happened?

The time stamp on this question is 10:53 p.m. CT on Monday night. It might be my favorite "Ask Vic" question of all time.

Jim from Menasha, WI

Don't you think it would show the Packers' class if they invited the two refs in the controversial play to be guest of the Packers for a game?

How about a Packers Hall of Fame exhibit similar to that of the Ice Bowl, which arranges statues in the famous quarterback sneak play? At the debut of the exhibit, the goof balls that made that terrible call on Monday night could be invited to sign autographs. Hey, at least they could make some money out of the ridicule they've endured.

Tyler from East Troy, WI

Vic, maybe I'm just too young to understand how big of a deal the Immaculate Reception is but I don't see the controversy of that play. It is one of the most fluke plays I've seen but there have been a lot of those in NFL history. What makes the Immaculate Reception stick out over all others in NFL history?

First of all, it was a playoff game. It was also Christmas weekend; Christmas was on a Monday and the game was on Saturday, so the nation was in the midst of a long Christmas weekend and the Immaculate Reception gave us all a talking point. What you're probably too young to know is that back then it was forbidden for one offensive player to tip the ball to another offensive player. That's the controversy. Did Jack Tatum touch the ball or did Frenchy Fuqua touch it? The real impact of the Immaculate Reception is that it helped give us the TV blackout rules by which we have lived ever since. It was the early game; the Cowboys' rally in San Francisco was the late game that day. A lot of people believe that was the day pro football became our national pastime. The Redskins played at home the following day, and Congress became incensed that they couldn't see the game on TV, hence, the 1973 Act of Congress that ended TV blackout of games that are sold out.

Bryden from Centerburg, OH

Vic, I was wondering what your thoughts were on this. Let's say it was called an interception; would the review have upheld the ruling?

I believe it would; replay just didn't show enough of the ball to allow the original call, whatever it was, to be overruled. That's why it was so important to get the original call right. The officials standing there had a perfect view of the play. It should've been an easy call.

Kyle from Madison, WI

I haven't seen a "Tuesdays with McCarthy" article in a while. Do you still do those every week or have you discontinued that?

Coach McCarthy took the week off because it was a Monday night game and the Packers wouldn't arrive back in Green Bay until Tuesday morning. If there was ever a good week not to do the column, this was it. I don't think Coach McCarthy would've felt much like answering the question "What's your favorite food?" on Tuesday morning, and I'm absolutely sure he wouldn't have wanted to answer questions about "the play" 10 times.

Andrew from South Saint Paul, MN

In your humble opinion, since you started covering football, which NFL commissioner has had the greatest influence on the game?

It would be impossible for any commissioner in any sports league, including baseball's Kenesaw Mountain Landis, to match the impact Pete Rozelle had on the NFL.

John from Port Edwards, WI

Why does the NFL tell the teams who's coming to officiate the games? What's the point?

Teams have scouting reports on officiating crews, too. Certain crews and certain officials have specific tendencies. Ben Dreith, for example, was known as the "holding ref." Part of a team's preparation for its game is to acknowledge the tendencies of the officiating crew that will be working the game, and to adjust accordingly.

Koigi from Lynchburg, VA

After watching the game on Thursday night, I think we are back to good, crisp, fast football.

Gene "Ed Norton" Steratore is the best at communicating the call to the fan. "After further review, Ralphie, the call stands." The NFL knew Steratore was the guy they needed for the first game back. His clear and concise communication of the officiating lingo would immediately restore fan confidence and favor in the game. To that end, I thought Steratore was magnificent last night. He was absolutely on his game. I knew his father, Gene Sr., when he was a top high school and college football and basketball official. It's an esteemed officiating family, as Gene's brother, Tony, is an NFL back judge.

Jeremy from Reedsburg, WI

Vic, I really got into football last year as a spectator. I read many of your articles about running the ball and bull-nose defense. I never really understood why you cared about them so much after watching our offense go to work in the air. Now that I see us running and our defense stopping opposing offenses, I must say it turns out it is pretty fun to watch. Maybe you old guys know a thing or two after all.

Yeah, I like that kind of football, but I've also grudgingly yielded the flavor of the game to the young fans that prefer a more wide open game, until recent years. The concern for injuries and the threat they pose to the future of the game have me favoring a return to the running game, which I believe is a safer game. I think we need to identify the plays that are mostly likely to result in fearful-type injuries, plays such as deep-seam and over-the-middle passes, and shape the game in such a manner that discourages or eliminates those plays from the game. I think we're asking defensive backs to do what can't be done: Hit a moving target without bumping heads. Fining them isn't solving the problem, and neither is an over-sensitivity to those hits that often result in penalties, such as the one last night, that aren't deserved. What we're asking just can't be done. In my opinion, the solution rests with eliminating the plays that are a problem.

Brett from Glen Rock, NJ

The Packers haven't had a real, fast start to a game, yet, and I just wanted to get your take on how important it is that they have one on Sunday.

That 16-play, 81-yard touchdown drive in Seattle on Monday night is the drive opponents are going to force the Packers to make this season. I think we all need to get last season out of our head and move into 2012. It just isn't going to be as easy this year as it was last year. Defenses aren't going to allow it.

Brian from Ames, IA

Steve Young said he would like the NFL to extend the five-yard bump rule. He said it would bring back the value of the running game and physical corners and wide receivers, like football used to be. What's your take on this? You seem like a guy that would support a 10-yard bump rule.

I've been campaigning for the league to compress the field and the action for several years. Wide open spaces are what create violent collisions. Bump-and-run coverage eliminates space and reduces violent collisions. I've also raised the possibility for making all defenders line up within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. That might also serve to eliminate space and the timing hit on wide receivers crossing the middle. In my opinion, we're approaching player safety from the wrong direction. We're spreading the field; we should be tightening it.

Rand from Hudson, WI

Vic, while the play is over and order is restored to the NFL, I am curious about your thoughts on this observation. I haven't seen it talked about anywhere but I am convinced that the ref who signaled touchdown believed that Jennings was the offensive receiver and thus scored. The ensuing uproar has probably led to him not fessing up to that major blunder. Your thoughts?

I'm only sure of one thing: The guys that made that call did not know the NFL definition of a simultaneous catch. "It is not a simultaneous catch if a player gains control first and an opponent subsequently gains joint control." That's from the rulebook.

Anthony from Minneapolis, MN

Vic, I want to move on from the Monday night game as much as the next person. I mean, the NFL issued a statement, the real referees reached a deal, so I'm ready for the Saints. Then Lance Easley provides a statement saying he believes the original call was correct. His statement has no validity in terms of the rules and just further proves how incompetent he is. Please provide a response, any response (sarcastic, humorous, heart-warming, etc.) so that I can have some closure.

Lance, sit down and shut up.

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