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Packers fans did SD silent count first

Wildcat is nonsensical, primitive genius


Tony from Olathe, KS

In a similar vein to Hemmingway, can you tell the story of the NFL in six words?

They play for love and money.

Jackson from Minneapolis, MN

For what sport do you think a coach has the greatest influence on the success of a team? My gut would say football, but I'm curious about your opinion.

Football is the sport on which a coach's personality has the greatest impact. A team can be transformed by one man's persona. We saw that with Lombardi. I saw it with Noll. Under one coach, a team's strength is offense. Under a different coach, that same team's strength is defense. That's the thing about football coaches that intrigues me the most, the way the team takes on the personality of its coach. The Packers have Mike McCarthy's stamp all over them, as evidenced by his big-letters promises. When he says something will change, it changes. That's when you know a coach owns the locker room.

Donna from Orfordville, WI

I'm new to all of this. What is the wildcat formation the Steelers used on Monday night? The center can hike the ball to someone other than the quarterback?

Any eligible backfield player can receive the snap from center. Do a search for "single wing offensive formation." I think you'll enjoy the history lesson on the offensive formation that preceded the T formation. In the single wing, the quarterback was a blocking back, and the tailback was what we could call the quarterback of today. Paul Hornung was a single wing tailback. The wildcat is a variation of the single wing, without all of the sophisticated faking and ball handing that was the single wing's trademark. The wildcat is also nonsensical. It made absolutely no sense for the Steelers to use it in that situation last night, because it literally told everyone in that stadium who was getting the ball. So why did it work? The only advantage to the wildcat in that situation, in my opinion, is simplicity. The Steelers wanted the ball in Le'Veon Bell's hands, and they wanted him to run with it. It was a play that committed every Steelers player to one thing, making the play work. There's a primitive kind of genius that goes with that mentality. That's all it can be. One play, everything on the line. How bad do you want to win? It's what the Packers did in the Ice Bowl. I love that kind of drama. Thank you, Donna, for joining the fraternity of football. Find the human confrontation and you will find the game's true meaning.

Dan from Wichita, KS

Vic, when will the Packers wear the alternate throwback jersey this year? I love the old look and how it gives a glimpse and reminder of the teams that made this league what it is today.

They'll wear it this Sunday. It was the predominant jersey of the Don Hutson era.

Mitch from Tempe, AZ

Vic, Rivers said he had to use a silent count at home against the Steelers on Monday night. Are Steelers fans the best fans in the league this year?

Packers fans invented that silent count thing in 2011.

Kathy from Des Moines, IA

Just want to let you know how much I enjoy your column. Packers fan since '60s. I've learned a lot from you. I like how you keep us grounded. Keep up the good work!

My father was fond of saying, "Never sell; only buy." I struggled with that concept for a long time. If you never sell, what's the use of buying? As I got older, I got it. Never celebrate; only win.

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