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Ron Wolf knew it; you have to have 'The Man'

Wolf made Packers a team for which players wanted to play


Robert from Provo, UT

Vic, I feel as though it's harder for an offensive lineman to get noticed when they first start. One specific person to mention is Corey Linsley. After reviewing the Pro-Bowl roster, I decided to look at game film to make sure I was not being biased, and I still felt he should have made the Pro Bowl. How does a lineman get noticed?

By doing it over and over for a lot of years. Josh Sitton would tell you that.

Thomas from Gilbert, AZ

When the book is written on Roger Goodell, what in your opinion will be his lasting legacy?

Player safety. His predecessor tried to avoid the head trauma issue. Goodell addressed it.

Kona from Kailua, HI

Vic, the Kona winds blew Tropical Storm Guillermo away from the islands here. I was looking forward to some bad weather. What's the worst weather game you've covered?

A game in Cincinnati the Sunday after Thanksgiving in 1976 is one of my all-time favorite games, and it's because of the weather. It was a four o'clock game, and temperatures were right on the freeze line. Just as the teams disappeared into their tunnels at the end of the first half, the first flake fell, and then the skies opened up and Riverfront Stadium was an explosion of white. When the teams came out of their tunnels for the second half, the players stopped and looked around, as though they were in the wrong stadium. The snow pounded down throughout the rest of the game. It made for the most picturesque football scene I have ever witnessed. The Sports Illustrated photography from that game is more art than sports. The pictures appear as paintings. The game ended with Isaac Curtis all alone in the back of the end zone, and Dwight White lying on the ground tugging at Ken Anderson's left leg. It's the most beautiful game I have ever covered.

Wayne from Las Vegas, NV

Vic, which small-time schools, like Buffalo with James Starks or Alcorn State with Donald Driver, do you think produce the most talent that is overlooked?

The Maine Black Bears football program is one of the most overlooked and underrated programs in college football. Montell Owens is a Maine product, and he's the best special teams player I've ever covered.

Brady from Superior, WI

I certainly enjoyed your interview with Ron Wolf. He seems like an insightful person about, not just football, but life in general. When he said he doesn't follow the NFL enough to know how far he thinks the Packers will go, it told me he knows there is a lot more to life than football. Am I right or overthinking this one?

He basically told you what I've been trying to describe about myself: It's a job. When he was doing it, he put everything he had into it. Now he's retired. Fans have difficulty understanding that explanation because for them it's never a job and they never retire. Here's something else the fans never have to do: Get fired. Try getting up every morning and doing it. Try dealing with the deadlines and the pressure. Your perspective might change.

Tony from Burbank, CA

Thank you for the Hall of Fame coverage. The videos have been fun to watch.

I'm happy you feel that way because driving around Canton trying to find everyone was difficult yesterday. This year has presented a special problem: The Steelers are playing in the game and Jerome Bettis is being inducted. Pittsburgh is only 50 or so miles away, not to mention southern Ohio is Steelers country, and I have never seen the Hall of Fame and the roads as crowded as they were yesterday. Steelers fans are everywhere. One restaurant sign proclaims: Welcome Steeler Nation. I was trying to get into a tent to interview Ron Wolf. Steelers fans were wrapped around the block waiting in line to get into the same tent. They had everybody frazzled and I ended up getting into an argument with a guard who didn't want to acknowledge my media credentials. Cooler heads prevailed, I got my interview and the guard offered me a ride back down the hill. Covering this event is one of the more difficult things I do. It's like covering the Olympics. It's all over the place.

Joe from Austin, TX

Vic, which has changed the most during your career, the type of reporters or the type of reporting?

The type of reporting is the big change. The long think piece has been replaced by the McStory. Once upon a time, a writer was judged by his ability to frame a story that included several facts. Now, reporters look for one fact they can tweet. Technology has caused the change, and I'm not saying it's bad. The change has made it easier for fans to acquire information. That's what it's all about in the news business, but I think there's still room for the think piece. I just wish more fans wanted to read that kind of story.

Dan from Jamestown, NY

Vic, I finally bought my tickets for the preseason game in Pittsburgh. Will the wife and I be OK to wear our Packers garb at Heinz Field?

For a preseason game? I don't even use my best adverbs and adjectives in the preseason. You'll be fine.

Chris from Appleton, WI

Vic, can you comment on the playing style of Clay Matthews III vs. his dad, Clay Jr.? I don't remember a lot about Clay Jr.; I was pretty young. How are they different or similar?

In my opinion, there are two kinds of outside linebackers: Jack Ham and Lawrence Taylor. Clay's father was Ham; Clay is Taylor.

Julie from Newport Beach, CA

Vic, the Bills GM said they are in QB purgatory and the team is just good enough that they don't get an early draft pick. How does a team like this ever find the "The Man" to take them to the next level?

Doug Whaley is a friend and one of the sharp, young personnel minds in the league. He's a young guy on the rise because he gets it, and this is an example of it. You can't win without "The Man." You must use whatever means available to you to get "The Man." If it means trading your best player to get him, do it. Houston is in that situation. They must get "The Man" or what good is it having the otherwise best player in the game? Ron Wolf knew this. He traded a first-round pick to get "The Man." If he hadn't, I don't know where this franchise would be right now.

Andrew from Wentzville, MO

Vic, I know a player doesn't get paid for a game he is suspended for, but what happens with the team? Does the salary cap adjust? Where does the money go?

If a player is suspended without pay, the money is credited back to the team's cap.

Nick from Seattle, WA

Vic, besides trading for Brett Favre and signing Reggie White, what will Ron Wolf be remembered for?

He's credited with the resurrection of the Packers franchise. Part of that resurrection is for having made the Packers a team for which players would want to play. Antonio Freeman addressed that issue in the video I did with him.

Nathan from San Diego, CA

Vic, I know a lot of great things about myself, but could you tell me about them?

Well, obviously you are a very humble person, but I think your greatest greatness is for having singlehandedly caused the Chargers to go to a silent count.

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