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Nothing unethical about the hard count

Top three Packers not named Lombardi


Mark from St. Pete Beach, FL

Vic, I feel sorry for your misinformed reader. Lombardi did call the plays. He told the shuttle tackle the play he wanted called. The shuttle tackle then told Bart Starr the play Lombardi had given him and Starr then called it in the huddle. Not complicated but easily misunderstood.

I don't know if Lombardi used the messenger system or not, but it doesn't matter because Starr knew what his coach wanted run and he ran it. Again, we put way, way too much emphasis on who is calling the plays on Sunday. The plays are called on Tuesday when the game plan is created, and it's not created without the head coach's seal of approval.

Brian from Yakima, WA

Vic, did other teams try to emulate the Packers sweep?

Everybody ran the sweep back then. Whether or not you were famous for running it depended on how well you ran it. The Packers were the best at it in the NFL. It was their signature play and the execution of it was religious. In college football, USC was known for "Student Body Right" and "Student Body Left." It was essentially the same play. It's not about the play, it's about how you run the play that counts. That's what people remember.

John from Brookings, SD

Vic, do you remember that moment when you fell in love with football?

I can remember three distinct moments. I remember the first time I wandered onto a high school football practice, and falling in love with a running back named McKinley Combs. I remember the first pro game I saw, and the brilliant colors of the Giants' scarlet numbers on their white jerseys cast against the Steelers' gold helmets and pants. I remember the first time I walked into Pitt Stadium for a college game, a game that featured Michigan State's Herb Adderley and Pitt's Mike Ditka. In each case, it was the scene that grabbed my attention. I loved the colors. Uniforms are important. They catch our eye, and we fall in love with what we see.

Matthew from Mount Pleasant, WI

Vic, do you believe the Packers offense is game-planning to include more two-point conversions this year?

I have no doubt Mike McCarthy has a creative two-point-conversion package, but I don't get the sense he wants to be as aggressive with the two-point play as Mike Tomlin is.

Ryan from Sycamore, IL

What U.S. city, in your opinion, is next to host an NFL team?

It sounds as though Las Vegas might be that city, and I think that might be a mistake. The gambling industry is a powerful entertainment force with which to compete for the entertainment dollar.

Marty from Grafton, WI

Was the "Fearsome Foursome" the best defensive line in football? If not, what line would be?

It's one of the best. It ranks with the "Steel Curtain" and two others, the '85 Bears Perry-Dent-Hampton-McMichael front and the Eagles' front that featured Reggie White and Jerome Brown. I think the "Purple People Eaters" are overrated.

Hosmel from Modesto, CA

What is your most memorable play of Aaron Rodgers?

The tight-window throw from near his goal line in Super Bowl XLV. It won the game.

Joshua from Keystone Heights, FL

Do you ever miss the Jaguars? We miss you.

I miss every place I've ever lived and every team I've ever covered. It's wonderful.

Joshua from Port Richey, FL

Vic, I am in my early 30s and I'm starting to teach my two boys about football. As I read more of your column, I grasp a deeper realization I do not know much beyond the years I have physically seen. Would you please give us younger readers a brief summary or timeline of the rule changes and the years they were implemented?

I'll do the best I can from off the top of my head. In my lifetime, the big rules changes began with moving the hash marks toward the center of the field in 1972. Then came moving the goal posts back in 1974, which was the year an overtime period was instituted for regular-season games. I covered the first such game. It ended in a tie. The move to a best-record system for homefield advantage in 1975 was enormous. Elimination of the head slap in 1977 previewed the big, offense-friendly rules changes of 1978. That's your watershed moment. I think the '70s shaped football more than any other decade. The birth of the two-point play in 1994 was big, and the major points of emphasis on the chuck rule, beginning in 2004, changed the game again, as it did for the first time in '78. Last year's PAT rules changes are big. Those jump out at me. The defenseless receiver rules have also been game-changers.

Mike from Grafton, WI

Vic, there are a group of us cheeseheads trying to hit every away stadium and I'm struggling to think of a better environment than against the Saints two seasons ago (besides losing). What's your favorite stadium to travel to?

It's not the Superdome. I hate that place. The noise hurts my ears and distracts me from the game. I like all of the new stadiums.

Matthew from Mount Pleasant, WI

Vic, today's fans put emphasis on stats. How do we determine the success of our new nose tackle if he isn't the teams sack or tackle leader?

Does he defeat and occupy blocks? Does he hold the point of attack? Watch him play. You'll know.

Reid Ribble from Sherwood, WI

Vic, not really a question but a big thanks for the shout out. As you can imagine, the game of politics doesn't often come with the word "esteemed" attached to it, but what an honor to be mentioned in your column. My son Jared is a huge fan of yours and of the Packers. He can be seen playing drums on the TV show "Nashville." He claims he is really the more esteemed reader! As usual, I agree with your assessment. Go Pack!

I'd like to run for political office: chairman of football oversight committee.

Dan from Houston, TX

Ever consider an "Ask Vic" tailgate tour for all the geography you've learned?

My drive from Green Bay to Edisto Island, SC, was an "Ask Vic" tailgate tour. The road signs reminded me of the towns that have written this column. I was blessed with a powerful memory. It's a great place to live.

Keithy from Aurora, IL

It's a constant coaching carousel in the NFL. Who is the best assistant coach to never get a real shot at a head coaching position?

Among the assistant coaches I've known and covered, it's Dick Hoak. He coached the same position on the same team for 36 years. He was offered a head coaching job by a USFL team – does that count? – but turned it down.

Christopher from Cudahy, WI

From 1960 to 1965, if the AFL and NFL had their respective champions play each other, who do you think would have won?

The NFL would've won each of those games and by a wide margin. Shortly after that, the gap began closing. Super Bowl III was not an upset. The better team won.

Lee from Claremont, Ontario

Who are your top five players who came from the Canadian Football League and went on to have an impactful career in the NFL?

1) Warren Moon, 2) Cookie Gilchrist, 3) Joe Theismann, 4) Doug Flutie, 5) Joe Kapp.

Rhyan from Hanford, CA

Vic, recently talk has stormed about the unethical use of the hard count and the blame was turned toward Aaron Rodgers. Haven't we all been taught to only move when the ball moves?

There's nothing wrong with a quarterback using the hard count to his advantage. It's an effective tool for dealing with a rush that's teeing off on the count, not the ball. My only complaint is for overusing the hard count. When that happens, you're relying on tricks, instead of execution. Too much of that becomes a distraction.

Lory from Bloomfield, NJ

Hey, wait a minute. Congressman Reid Ribble may indeed be an esteemed reader of "Ask Vic," but what about the guy who wrote "The Baby Bop Hop" and many other songs for Barney the dinosaur? Although I don't have any congressional experience, millions of kids love my songs and I am an incredibly devoted reader of "Ask Vic." Thanks for the great column, Vic!

How do I know you really are the guy who wrote "Here Comes the Firetruck" and "Let's Do the Tricks My Doggie Does"? I was born at night, but it wasn't last night, coach. I need proof.

Dave from Lake Zurich, IL

Has there ever been a better quarterback name than Willie Thrower, the NFL's first African-American quarterback? He was from New Kensington, Pa.

He was also the Big Ten's first African-American quarterback, and he played at my high school's most bitter rival. My hometown and Thrower's were connected by a bridge. When you crossed that bridge, you felt something.

Sam from Sun Prairie, WI

Vic, you went over the top three men in NFL history not named Pete Rozelle. Who are the top three men in Packers history?

How about the top three men in Packers history not named Lombardi? Lambeau, Starr and …

Dan from Minneapolis, MN

Vic, the lease on Lambeau Field runs for another 16 years to 2031. Given the continuation of the NFL's building boom and interest in finding all possible revenue streams, how much risk do you think there is the Packers may demand a new stadium at that time? Over its history, the franchise itself has always been at risk, save for this century.

Lambeau Field is the Packers' most valued asset. It will outlive everyone and everything associated with the Packers. My prediction is Lambeau Field will never be replaced. Let me know when I'm wrong.

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