Aaron from Jacksonville, FL
Since I know you love stats, how does the total points scored in the 2011 season compare to recent years? Is it truly trending up like we all perceive, or is it just the total yards?
Yards and points were each up from 2010. Yards were up 10.8 yards per game per team, to 346.8, which is a significant increase and an explosion of yardage, compared to 1970s standards. Points were up .2 points per game per team, which is a minor increase. What's significant is that we're up to 22.2 points per game per team, which means we're well above the 20-17 score that was long considered to be the average score of an NFL game. Are points and yards truly trending upward? Absolutely.
Michael from Dallas, TX
I understand asking everyone to do his job, but two kneel-downs by the Giants and you are looking at around a 25-yard field goal. NFL kickers are nearly perfect from that range, and Tom Brady and that prolific offense gets the ball with maybe 10 seconds and no timeouts. By scoring a TD, he had a minute and a timeout. I don't see the debate. The Giants screwed up. The last minute of the game should have been a non-issue.
They won. The last minute of the game was not an issue. Why are you trying to turn it into one? I have a better question for everyone: Can anyone recall the strategy of allowing their opponent to score in that type of situation being successful? I can't think of one occasion that it worked. I don't even know why this is such an issue.
Keith from Jacksonville, FL
Why not put 13 on the field in the last 20 seconds to stop the play, every play, until the last play?
I think that truly would be an example of "fouls to prevent score," which would result in a warning and then, if the foul continued, the awarding of a touchdown to the team being fouled.
Chris from South Orange, NJ
Do you think Jim Plunkett should be in the Hall of Fame with two Super Bowl wins?
Plunkett is a great guy and a great story and you wouldn't hear a peep out of me if he was elected to the Hall of Fame, but I don't see it happening because he just doesn't have the body of work to accompany his two Super Bowl titles. On the flip side, I'd rather Plunkett be in the Hall of Fame rather than one particular quarterback that is in the Hall of Fame, a guy with a strong body of work but nothing in the way of postseason success to distinguish it.
James from Chicago, IL
Defense may not win championships, but even you will have to admit that having a great defense does shift the odds in your favor.
Absolutely, I would agree. Defense is important. It can be the difference between winning and losing. I just don't think that, in an era defined by an explosion of offense, it's logical to say defense wins championships. That's not to say teams don't win games, big games, by playing strong defense. It's just to say that it's nonsensical to suggest that in an era of 5,000-yard passers and records falling like raindrops, that defense wins championships. The Patriots and Giants were ranked in the bottom six of the league in yards allowed. The Patriots were higher-ranked in points allowed, 15th, but the Giants were 25th. Nothing about either of those teams' defenses, except the Giants' pass rush, sixth in sacks per pass play, suggests they won with defense. All of the evidence suggests they won with offense, specifically with their passing offenses, which were ranked in the top five in most important categories. This has been a nice debate, but I think a lot of people are looking at it too narrowly. They're using specific examples to make their case. Just look at the big picture and the overall trend toward increases in offensive production. It suggests that offense is more critical to victory now than it ever has been.
Drew from Oklahoma City, OK
ESPN has a poll up right now about quarterbacks with multiple Super Bowl wins. There are 11 such quarterbacks. I voted strictly by playoff passer rating. My ballot: Starr, Montana, Manning, Aikman, Brady, Roethlisberger, Bradshaw, Plunkett, Elway, Staubach, Griese. How would you vote?
In other words, you had a guy you wanted to back with statistical evidence, so you used the statistical information that addressed your need. Am I right? Here are my rankings, which are not hard and fast and I'll probably forget 10 minutes after I write this because they are not important to me and I have respect for every one of those quarterbacks: Montana, Brady, Starr, Bradshaw, Staubach, Elway, Aikman, Manning, Roethlisberger, Griese, Plunkett. I voted strictly by my memory and opinion of each quarterback.
Manley from Redding, CA
When the Giants were trying for two points at the end of the game with 57 seconds left on the clock, why didn't they run it all the way back to the 5-yard line? This would have taken 30 seconds off the clock for Brady.
Because the clock doesn't run on conversion attempts.
Josh from Lombard, IL
Is there a word or phrase you would want McCarthy to use next year as a motto for the season.
Jeremy from Boston, MA
What are your thoughts on this year's Hall of Fame class? Anyone missing?
It's a good class. All of the men are deserving. I'm particularly happy that Jack Butler finally got in. He was a great player, possibly the greatest form tackler in the history of the game. He was also the first director of scouting for Blesto, the trailblazer of scouting combines, and served in that capacity for 34 years. I think it's also noteworthy that none of the wide receiver candidates were elected. What that says is the Hall of Fame selection committee senses that the offensive explosion of this era is going to dump a lot of wide receivers on the committee, and it's time to be much more selective as to which ones are elected.
Tim from Normal, IL
Vic, why does the PFHOF continue to ignore punters? A punter is a position on every team, therefore, the great ones should be in the Hall of Fame. Why the injustice in football?
Punters? I don't even like the idea of kickers being in the Hall of Fame.
Jaime from Kingsville, TX
Roger Goodell has expressed his interest in bringing football back to L.A., adding that a two-team expansion would be likely to create balance. My question is: What other city would be a prime candidate for expansion?
I think the commissioner's comments were misinterpreted by many. In answering a question about the potential for an expansion team in Los Angeles, the commissioner responded that the league would be more likely to expand by two, which has usually been the case when the NFL has expanded: Dallas and Minnesota, Seattle and Tampa, Jacksonville and Carolina, Cleveland and Houston. In other words, I think he was saying forget about expanding by one. The problem, as I see it, is that a lot of people took the commissioner's response to mean the league was considering adding two expansion teams. The commissioner later clarified his remarks by saying expansion has not been considered and he doesn't see expansion in the league's near future.
Bill from Brooklyn Park, MN
I've noticed many game officials over the years wearing what appears to be a rubber band around their wrist and stretched around one or more fingers. What do they use it for?
It's a technique for keeping track of the downs. First down, one finger; second down, two fingers, etc.
Kim from Overland Park, KS
I'm not usually the type of person that follows the offseason that closely, but I found it interesting that teams with new head coaches meet for offseason conditioning two weeks earlier than teams with incumbent coaches. Do you see this as beneficial or detrimental? Do new coaches tend to take advantage of this?
A new coach usually brings in a new strength coach, who usually introduces a different regimen to the players. Some strength guys like power lifting. Some guys like to work on flexibility for the purpose of building a strong core. Some guys prefer machines, other guys prefer free weights. The intent for giving a new coach a head start on the strength and conditioning period is to give him a chance to introduce his program to his players. You have to know what to do before you can do it.
Brian from Little Rock, AR
The Giants' offensive line resembled a horseshoe at times, again, in the Super Bowl. Do you think they should have been penalized?
Yes, I do. I think this is an issue that should become a major point of emphasis in 2012. It's tough enough to play defense in this league; offense should at least be required to play by the rules.
Matt from Bremerton, WA
Do you think it's probable for a team to have a good running back but not commit enough to have a good running game?
Yes, and Chuck Muncie is the perfect example. He was a sensational back, but he was underused by the Chargers in the "Air Coryell" years. If they had featured Muncie, maybe they would've won a Super Bowl, instead of throwing five interceptions every time they got to a big postseason game.
Richard from Lake Havasu City, AZ
Would you put Wes Welker's drop in the same class as Jackie Smith's drop in Super Bowl XIII?
No, Smith was all alone and standing in the end zone when the ball hit him in the chest. When you look in the dictionary under the word "drop," there's a picture of Smith dropping that pass. Welker had to make an athletic move to catch the ball.
Tommy from Milwaukee, WI
How good is Jason Pierre-Paul?
He's good enough that you know he's good the moment you see him. I saw him for the first time when he was at South Florida. The guy I wanted to see in that game was the other defensive end, George Selvie, but it was Pierre-Paul that kept catching my eye. It was the same thing in New York in December. Pierre-Paul caught my eye on just about every play. Great players jump out at us, and that's exactly what Aaron Rodgers did to me the first time I saw him play. It was in a 2007 preseason game at Lambeau Field. He entered the game near the end of the first half and threw several completions in a row. I was writing an in-game blog for jaguars.com and I remember writing something along the lines of, "What are they waiting for? Rodgers is the guy." I'm not good at finding things in archives. If somebody wants to find it, please do. His talent was unmistakable.
Richard from Davis, CA
If the Packers let Flynn go and he does well, they will probably get a third-round compensatory pick. If they sign and trade him, they might only get a second-round pick, based on what the Pats got for Cassel. Isn't that a lot of risk to move up one round?
You have a sound football mind.
Belto from Canton, NC
Vic, Greg Cook, 554 yards in a college game, drafted high, what could have been. Wow! Willie Gallimore sounded like Gale Sayers before Gale Sayers. Got anymore? It's not that these guys are forgotten; we've never heard of them. These stories are awesome; keep them coming.
OK, here are a couple of players for the Big Ten fans out there: Willie Thrower and Sandy Stephens. They would've been stars in today's game. What a shame. Also, here's a league video you might enjoy.