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Remember, you might have to play them in two weeks


Rob from Champaign, IL

I don't have a problem with players, fans and even coaches getting excited about records. What I have a hard time with, however, is the context to which some records are broken (or were set). Did Marino's yards all come in normal game circumstance and not throwing the ball just to pile up yards? I think the records are skewed when you play outside of your normal team strategy just to get certain numbers.

Let it go, Rob. Brady's likely to break the record this week. Think about that: Marino's record stood for 27 years, but Brees' claim to it might not last a week. What does that say? It tells me we're comparing apples to oranges. It tells me that what Marino did was more significant than what's being done now.

Daniel from Williston, ND

I'm in a 20-team fantasy league. I have Rodgers and Flynn. Who should I start?

Well, I'd start Rodgers, let him a play a quarter, maybe a half, so he keeps his feel, and then I'd replace him with Flynn for the rest of the game.

Mike from Jacksonville, FL

Since you saw him play for a few years, what do you think of Maurice Jones-Drew being selected as a back-up to the Pro Bowl when he is leading the entire NFL in rushing by over 150 yards? I think it's a travesty.

It's just one of the many travesties of Pro-Bowl voting but, of course, that's what drives the Pro Bowl's popularity. It's not about getting it right, it's about creating controversy. Baseball learned that a long time ago about its all-star game. It let the fans vote and that's when the travesties began and that's also when the game became an event, not just something to watch during a break in the season. I can remember when they actually played two All-Star games. What Mo has done this year is extraordinary. He's gonna win the rushing title on a team that has presented little or no threat of pass. He's all they have. He's rushed for over 1,400 yards and everybody knew who was getting the ball. I've covered great backs, Hall of Fame backs, but none of them dropped their pads like Mo does. Amidst the losing, I hope he's found a way to enjoy his accomplishment and can remember it fondly, because what he's done this season is special and I congratulate him.

Corey from Richland, WA

I know players don't go into the Hall of Fame as a member of a specific team, but how do you feel about players signing a one-day contract with a former team to enable them to retire from that team? I would like to see Al Harris retire as a Packer if he so desired.

I don't know what it accomplishes but sure, fine.

Dustin from Dell Rapids, SD

I was curious: if Rodgers (502 attempts) had as many attempts as Brees (622 attempts) has had this year, what would his stats be? He would have (622 throws), 5,753 yards, averaging 384 yards per game, and 56 touchdowns, and still have a week to go, which would give him 6,137 yards and 60 touchdowns on the year.

You're making me feel like Dustin Hoffman in "Rain Man." I just wanna see two men collide.

Ivan from Jacksonville, FL

I got two pairs of khakis for Christmas.

It's the gift that keeps on giving all year long.

Robert from Harvel, IL

Which team do you think will represent the AFC in the Super Bowl?

The Patriots.

Kyle from Chicago, IL

What is your New Year's resolution?

I wanna be kinder to people I don't like.

Jack from Naperville, IL

How do you feel the loss of Cullen Jenkins affects the Packers' defense?

I think if the Packers had Jenkins this season they would've won home-field advantage for the playoffs. I wonder how Tom Lasorda would've answered your question.

Don from Tomball, TX

Vic, what is the likelihood of the rules tipping the scales back the defense's way a bit?

That's never been the way it's worked. It's always been my experience that the defense catches up to the rules, and then the league changes them again to favor offense. Do I think defense will catch up to these rules? Yes, I do. Because I only know of one Darrelle Revis, I think defensive coordinators will elect to rush instead of cover, and I think we're going to see an explosion of new, quick-twitch pass-rushers and pass-rush schemes, which will further endanger quarterbacks, which will cause the league to initiate more game-softening rules, as they pertain to the quarterback. As I've written, I think the league should allow quarterbacks to spike the ball to avoid a sack any time they want, as long as they're in the pocket. I think that's the ultimate quarterback protection and if they elect not to spike the ball, then they're on their own.

James from Ashland, WI

How long has Aaron Rodgers been taken out of games due to big leads? In my opinion, he would've broken both the yardage and touchdown records had he played the whole game.

All season long, when the Packers would get a big lead, I'd get a flurry of the usual question to my game-day blog: When will Matt Flynn play? OK, so what does everyone want, Flynn or the record? Here's what I want: a win and a healthy quarterback. That's all.

Ida from Pasadena, CA

Rodgers' passer rating is 122.5, higher than Peyton Manning's record of 121.1 for 16 games. If Rodgers' doesn't play this Sunday, is he still considered to have broken the record, or does he need a minimum number of throws?

He can rest on what he has and the record is his. Ted Williams could've sat on his .400 batting average, but he played and there was a tense moment in the game when he delivered a hit that protected his average, but this isn't a baseball game, it's football and it's dangerous and breaking a record isn't nearly as important as it is to go into the playoffs with a healthy quarterback. Here's another perspective: The Packers will be playing against a team that might be their playoff opponent in the divisional round. Do you wanna give a team you might have to beat in two weeks a chance to gain an advantage for that game, if you know what I mean? Please, let's be smart about this. Let the record stuff go. It's about winning the Super Bowl. I don't know how much or even if Rodgers will play on Sunday, but nothing at this point can or will taint the season he's had.

Alex from Merrill, WI

How do you think Matt Flynn will play against the Lions on Sunday?

I'm sure he understands the significance of this game in his career and I have no doubt he'll play well. If he is to receive extended playing time on Sunday, this will be the game that provides the tape teams watch to evaluate him as an unrestricted free agent.

Chris from South Orange, NJ

I am a long-time fan of yours. I am curious about what you thought of RGIII's quarterbacking performance last night? Will he be a good pro?

He can make all of the throws and he certainly has "New Age" mobility, so, yes, I think he'll be a good pro quarterback. I saw him for the first time when he was a freshman; I turned on the Baylor-UConn game to watch the tackle the Rams drafted. What I saw was this fantastic athlete at quarterback that ran all over the field but lacked polish in the passing game. I made a mental note of him but I sort of figured he was just another running quarterback that would never be a good enough passer to translate on the NFL level. I was wrong. They did a fabulous job at Baylor of developing his passing skills and I think he has a chance to become the best quarterback in the history of a conference that has a reputation for not producing great pro quarterbacks. John Hadl is probably the best of the bunch. Sam Bradford might still develop into a great quarterback, but his second season is a disappointment.

Frank from Ithaca, NY

I was watching the "10 Most Controversial Calls" on NFL Network the other day and one of the top ones (as well as the Immaculate Reception) was the 1979 AFC Championship game at Three Rivers when Dan Pastorini throws a would-be TD pass to Mike Renfro in the back of the end zone, only to be ruled incomplete by the officials, much to the dismay of Bum Phillips. Replay clearly shows both of Renfro's feet were in bounds. Unfortunately for Houston, replay was not used by officials at that time. I immediately thought of you and how you must have been there. What are your memories of that play?

My fondest memory of that play is what happened a week-and-a-half later, at the Super Bowl, when the league announced that the right call was made; video from a camera angle in the upper deck above Renfro showed the ball moving between Renfro's hands and chest as he went out of bounds. At that point, Bum Phillips, who is one of my all-time favorite coaches, said something I'll never forget. He said, in effect, we didn't complain about it then, so I don't like having it rubbed in our face now. That's my idea of what it means to be a pro. I remember writing a column from the Super Bowl that supported Phillips' statement. The Oilers never complained about the call, so why did the league feel compelled to defend it? I think we've gone way over the line in evaluating officials' calls. I prefer a more manly approach to disappointment.

Mason from Madison, WI

What determines strength of schedule?

The winning percentage of your opponents.

Andy from Ottawa, WI

Vic, the Thompson quote about worry is just one of many variants of a quote from the Dalai Lama: If you can control something, you don't need to worry about it; if you can't control it, there's no need to worry about it.

Big hitter, the Lama.

Chris from Fort Worth, TX

What does it take to be considered a tried and true journeyman quarterback?

I consider three teams to be the threshold. Once you've played for three teams, you're a journeyman.

Darren from Honolulu, HI

Is it possible for an offensive player besides the quarterback to recover a fumble behind the line of scrimmage and throw the ball away past the line, thereby negating the potential lost yardage?

Samkon Gado did something similar. Once upon a time, it was even legal to cross the line of scrimmage and then retreat behind it and throw a forward pass. I think that rule has been changed. The game has changed so much that it's difficult to keep up with all of the changes.

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