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Packers and Vikings for all the marbles?

It's a beautiful day for a shareholders meeting


Aaron from Wheeling, IL

Any similarities between Pittsburghese and the dialect from northeast Wisconsin?

They're complete opposites. One sounds like they're holding their nose as they talk; the other sounds like they've got a mouthful of oatmeal.

Dan from Elk Mound, WI

Vic, looks like the Steelers started training camp on the 26th. The Packers don't start until the 30th. Is that a difference in coaching philosophy, or is something else going on?

It's all about when you play your first preseason game. The Packers play their first preseason game on Aug. 13. The Steelers play their first preseason game four days earlier, on Aug. 9.

Jesper from Oslo, Norway

You mentioned that merchandise bought at one location has its revenue shared between all teams and other locations not. I buy (way too much) merchandise and would like all revenue to go to the Packers. Where do I buy my next jersey? Packers Pro Shop?

Yes. Buy from the Packers.

Brian from Mesa, AZ

When yur gowen to walk arahnd dahntahn, will ya stop at da Oyster House for a fish sammitch?

Don't ever ask the waiter for a menu. After he rubs out his cigarette, this is what he'll tell you: "We got fish, we got oysters. We ain't got no (expletive) menus."

Donald from Wausau, WI

Vic, the Monongahela funicular on Mt. Washington will shut down Aug. 1 for three months for major renovations. You will have to walk. Can't be worse than pumping gas in January.

Then I'll take the Duquesne funicular.

Ben from Milwaukee, WI

What player provided you with the most perspective on life?

Without a doubt, it's Joe Greene. He's the player who introduced me to the soul of the game. The quotes he gave me were so meaningful I had to think about them. He's the one that made me understand football was about human confrontation. One day, I questioned him about the game in which he had just played. He listened, but I could tell he wasn't agreeing with my assessment of it. "Don't you understand, there was some honest-to-God human confrontation going on out there?" he said. That's when I began to understand the game I would cover for the rest of my life.

Iain from Sydney, Australia

Vic, you mentioned in a question related to stadium naming rights: "Revenue is king and every team has an obligation to push the revenue envelope to the max, because the revenue is shared." Does this mean stadium naming revenue is also shared? If so, is there pressure on teams that have not sold naming rights to do so for the benefit of all?

Yes, stadium naming rights money is equally shared by the league's 32 teams and, yes, that puts pressure on teams to sell the naming rights to their stadiums. It goes to the heart of leaguethink, which is the philosophy that made this league great: What's good for the league is good for each of its members. Having said that, I think the league understands Lambeau Field is an iconic name, and exceptions have to be made for something as valuable as the name Lambeau Field is to the history and tradition of the game. One of the things I don't think Packers fans understand and appreciate as fully as they should is how this league has bent over backwards to favor this franchise. If they didn't, this franchise would have gone away a long, long time ago.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

The Packers' schedule has a few difficult stretches, including the first four games. Do you see the Packers needing to win the last game to be in the playoffs or clinching early?

I think every team should regard the final game of the season to be for all the marbles. It's healthy to think that way. The Vikings at Lambeau Field on Jan. 3 for the NFC North title and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs? I'll take it and run right now.

Ed from Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Why is the left tackle position so important? My guess is it's to protect the blind side of a right-handed QB. Love your column for the insights, football knowledge and occasional well-deserved sarcasm.

If I'm playing right defensive end, the left tackle position isn't important at all. If Reggie White is playing there, it's the most important position on the field. It's always about players.

Tom from Kohler, WI

Did any of the NFL teams that went to the AFC win championships in the NFL before the merger?

The Colts and the Browns won multiple titles. They were two of the NFL's premier franchises. The NFL was delighted to move two teams of their history and renown into the AFC.

Bryce from Chicago, IL

Vic, would you say the Packers have the best offense in the NFL?

I can't think of another offense in the league that's as balanced, consistent and explosive as the Packers' offense is. It's one of the two-best offenses I've ever covered. The '78 Steelers had the kind of balance and explosion this Packers offense does. The 2011 Packers offense set records, but it lacked balance and that made it vulnerable.

Grant from Spokane, WA

I'm not going to lie, Vic. I'm nervous about what's going to happen when the Rodgers era ends. What are the chances we have a third straight great quarterback?

It's not likely, but why worry about it now? Aaron Rodgers is in the prime of his career.

Carrie from San Jose, WI

Aside from history, how would you distinguish the identities of the NFC and the AFC?

I see no difference in how the two conferences play football. Some people would say the sameness is the result of parity. I think it's the result of homogenization.

Kent from Eagle Grove, IA

I really like the idea of practicing with other teams. I like how competitive it can be and how it brings out the best in the players. What are some disadvantages?

There's one big disadvantage: travel. You lose time the day before and after the combined practice. I think it's worth the time lost. So does Bill Belichick. Some coaches don't agree. They would rather stick to the routine.

Alex from Brisbane, Australia

I feel sorry for Saints fans. Their franchise is going through a ruthless cut and gut. How much of it is a result of the Byrd deal?

Once the train leaves the station, it's difficult to turn it around. In most cases, it's best to ride it as far as you can.

Darren from Mackinaw, IL

My parents are going up for the shareholders meeting for the first time this year. What will I most be jealous of that I didn't get to experience with them?

Lambeau Field on a hot day. It's rare and glorious.

Courtney from Butte, MT

Do yinz have a favorite restaurant atop the inclines?

Yes, I prefer the Le Mont but, of course, I'm from a wealthy town on the Allegheny River, so I can afford such fine dining; not everyone can.

Justin from Worcester, MA

Vic, how do you feel about the word very? I was told using very is lazy.

Be careful how you use it. For example, to say something is very unique is grammatically incorrect.

Joe from Clio, MI

You've written that the salary cap would have prevented the Packers dynasty of the '60s. Why didn't the presence of the AFL have the same effect?

It did. Half of the teams in the NFL were just trying to keep their head above water. Art Rooney couldn't compete with Lamar Hunt and the rich owners in the AFL that were throwing big money around to sign the best players coming out of college. I remember the Steelers trading Buddy Dial to the Cowboys for the rights to Scott Appleton. They had no chance of signing Appleton; Bud Adams whisked him away before the Steelers got a sniff. Why did they trade Dial? Most figured it was a way to cut the payroll and save face. That's what it was like for a lot of teams in the NFL during the war years with the AFL. It was about survival.

Ross from Green Bay, WI

Fred Taylor or Maurice Jones-Drew?

On the goal line, Mo. In the open field, Fred. The reason I chose this question to answer is it caused me to realize Fred and Mo are the best complementary backfield team I've ever covered. The 2007 Jaguars were an outstanding football team.

Chad from Tarpon Springs, FL

Do the emotions of fear, hate, love and others play a role in the development of teams?

I'm not a psychologist; maybe they do. I would, however, put more stock on the impact of size, speed, strength and toughness on the development of teams.

Kabir from Asheville, NC

Sintering is the process of compacting and forming a solid mass of material by heat and/or pressure, without melting it to the point of liquefaction. A metaphor for training camp?

Welcome to sintering camp.

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