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Susie can't go; Sam is on his way to the playoffs

Give me the ball first and give me the ball last


Lou from Madison, WI

Vic, I am going to my first Packers game on Sunday and I'm really looking forward to a great game. I've been collecting all kinds of winter gear and getting advice on what to wear and bring. Do you have any advice on the best things to bring?

Sixteen years in Florida softened me forever. I came here without a winter coat. I have a hat, gloves and boots now. I am in awe of the players' performance in this kind of weather, and I am in awe of the fans' ability to sit out in it. You are my strength. You'll have my respect and admiration on Sunday as I sip on my coffee in the climate-controlled press box. Go get 'em.

Sam from Green Bay, WI

I'll gladly go to the game if you give me two tickets. Following the holidays, it's just tough to financially afford to go to a playoff game. The cold doesn't turn me away, the prices do.

Susie has a sinus infection (snicker, snicker). You're the first. They're yours.

Matthew from Boulder City, NV

Who do you think is the team to beat in the playoffs?

It's always the top-seeded team in each conference. All they have to do is win and the next time they'll get on a plane will be to go to the Super Bowl. Seattle and Denver are the teams to beat.

Scott from Sauk City, WI

Vic, as you pointed out in your column a couple of days ago, the Packers have received no shortage of small miracles to be alive and playing January football. If you had to pick one, which moment or storyline shocked and amazed you the most? Rodgers missing half a season and still winning the division? Pittsburgh's 97-yard TD drive? Baltimore's 61-yard FG? Epic comeback in Dallas? Play 48? Something else?

I've got special memories of each of them, but the one that really hits home for me is the Lions' loss in Pittsburgh. I was in the MetLife Stadium press box watching the Lions-Steelers game. The Lions were about to try a short field goal that looked like it would be a game-clincher. That's when it hit me that I was about to lose my December friend. I felt an abject sense of despair come over me. Then the Lions tried that goofy fake field goal, which backfired on them. I remember thinking to myself, "There's hope. Come on, Roethlisberger." Ninety-seven yards later the Steelers were in the lead and the Packers had life. Since then, everything has fallen in the Packers' favor. That's what I'll remember.

Tom from Birmingham, MI

Vic, you said you beat the 49ers by having the ball last and needing a score to win. At first I wasn't sure if you meant you wanted the Packers to have the ball last or the 49ers to have the ball last. Then I decided you meant either way, because you believe the Packers can do it and the 49ers can't. Yes?

It would be OK for the Packers to have the ball last and have a one-score lead, too. That would work, but I was suggesting that I would be fine with the ball in Aaron Rodgers' hands with two minutes to play and the Packers needing a score, any kind of score, to win the game. I was reaffirming my confidence in Rodgers and my belief that this will be a close game. That's what I was trying to say. The Packers win with offense. Just give me the ball last with a chance to win. I'll take it.

Steve from Marshfield, WI

It's 3:30 on Sunday and the temperature is minus five degrees. You are the Packers coach and you win the toss. Do you elect to play offense or defense first?

I take the ball. I want my offense to go 80 yards in 14 plays and eight minutes, and I want the 49ers offense sitting on the sideline getting cold. That's the tone I want to set for this game.

Michael from Cali, Colombia

Vic, you expect the season to continue? Way to temper those expectations. This is what I expect: one heck of a football game played in the cold, watching the human confrontation between the teams and weather. The team that wins the confrontation with the cold will win the game.

It's win-or-else time. There are no tempering expectations now. There's only one expectation, to win. I'm not a 12-4, 13-3, 10-6 kind of guy. What does it matter? Just get into the playoffs. I'm a 3-0, 4-0 kind of guy when it comes to the postseason, because only something and -0 works. You gotta win 'em all now. It has to be the expectation because there's no tolerance for anything less.

Bobby from Joplin, MO

Vic, do the same blackout restrictions apply for postseason games?


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