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We're at No. 8 in the 'Hero's Journey'

You throw to score; you run to win


Tristan from Broomfield, CO

Where do you think we are in the "Hero's Journey"?

8. THE ORDEAL – Near the middle of the story, the hero enters a central space in the Special World and confronts death or faces his or her greatest fear. Out of the moment of death comes a new life.

Willie from Hayward, WI

Vic, there was some comment last week about the music used in "Video Ask Vic." I have several old VHS tapes I recorded in the '80s and '90s. The music used in your video piece was in a NFL Films highlights of the 1966 Green Bay Packers. The film was titled "A Team, A Town, A Title." I would be surprised if NFL Films did not use it in other pieces.

If I never hear that song again, it'll be too soon.

Jim from Des Peres, MO

It was an exciting tutorial and excellent, at that, but it didn't answer Mike's last point: Why not change something that isn't working? Always change a losing game.

There are two answers to that question – hey, I didn't want one question and answer to use up the whole column. There's the logical answer, and then there's the philosophical answer. Logical – The Packers were 6-0. Why would you change something that helped make you undefeated? Philosophical – This is who we are and this is what we do. It is our identity, and no one will force us to abandon our identity or our commitment to it. Jim, if a team changes game to game, half to half according to its opponent, then its opponent is making the team's game plan. This is part of the "don't take what they give you, take what you want" philosophy. It's not just about calling plays, it's about doing something so well it can't be stopped. The Packers sweep is an example of that. It was something on which Lombardi's teams could depend. Great teams have that kind of identity. The Packers' way of playing offense has helped Aaron Rodgers win two MVPs in the last four years. It has given the Packers a reputation for being one of the most prolific offenses in football. That success is built on belief.

Casper from Langeskov, WI

Vic, the Vikings are 5-2 and, at this point, a real threat in the NFC North, but they seem a little bland. They don't get as much media attention as many other teams. Why do you think that is?

It's because they're on the way up. We tend to identify the teams on the way up later than we should, and hang onto the teams headed down longer than we should.

Jonathan from Dudeldorf, Germany

Vic, I apologize for going back to the Denver game but shouldn't we expect more from the broadcast? Collinsworth on two occasions mentioned Rodgers on "Dancing With The Stars" and winning. That is not true, it was Driver; Rodgers did win Jeopardy, though. Just seems lazy to me.

With this, we have exhausted every last drop of criticism of Sunday's game in Denver. As late as Saturday morning, the day before a game of critical importance in Carolina, we continue to perseverate on the game in Denver. Why?

Jon from Charlotte, NC

I saw something yesterday in your chat about a hangover for the Panthers. Living in Charlotte, all I hear is how big of a game this is against the Packers. I haven't heard a mention of the last game and these fans are fired up for one.

You bet they are. This is the biggest regular-season game in Panthers franchise history and Bank of America Stadium is going to be throbbing on Sunday. Meanwhile, we've spent a week replaying the game in Denver, and trying to convince ourselves the Panthers really aren't as good as their record. Fortunately, Mike McCarthy's team didn't do that. They're ready to play. Are the fans ready to watch?

Del from Sterling, IL

I think we'll be OK against Carolina, and even if we're not, I think we'll be OK. Know what I mean?

I know exactly what you mean. Congratulations, you get it.

Brad from Gallatin, TN

Just like Coach McCarthy won't throw his players under the proverbial bus, I notice you never throw anyone under that bus. It worries me that apparently few of your readers comprehend this.

It worries me you don't know how to read a column of this nature. I'm not one of those wild, online columnists that can write anything he wants without consequence because he doesn't cover the team and doesn't have to worry about fracturing relationships. Hey, he's not a news gatherer. He just takes the news and shapes it to suit his poison pen. That's not me, but it doesn't mean I don't get my opinion across. I ask my readers to be more sophisticated in their consumption of the written word. When you come to know how I write, you'll know who's under the bus. If I stop writing about a guy, the bus has hit him.

Tim from Grand Rapids, MI

Vic, I've worked hard all week, and when I turn the game on Sunday, I expect the team I've invested my time and personal heartache over to win. Do I expect too much?

There's more to it. You should expect the team you support to give you every ounce of energy to win the game, just as it expects you to support its effort. Expecting to win every game is OK if you can accept defeat without meltdown. We had a meltdown this week and I'm disappointed by that reaction. Win on the road against an undefeated team? I don't think losing that game should be reason for a meltdown.

Curt from Oronoco, MN

Isn't draft and develop just football speak for buy shovels in July; winter will surely come again?

I prefer take care of the future and the future will take care of the present.

Brad from Tinley Park, IL

Vic, you say you like the beach. What's your take on "The Beach Boys"?

If they had come to Natrona dressed like that and with those goofy hair-dos and singing those whiny songs, they would've been thrown in the slag dump. We were all Motown, baby.

Derek from Greenfield, WI

"The run fixes everything." Do you think you can print that on a t-shirt?

It wouldn't sell, but it's at the core of my football belief. You throw to score; you run to win. Even today, it's still true.

Greg from Conway, AR

Vic, can't Aaron help the receivers out by throwing them open, as coach suggested?

He will. He's been doing it for a long time.

Eric from Corfu, NY

Just a small bit of constructive criticism for you. It's apparent you have a vast and thorough understanding of the game. The long-winded cutback lane response was wonderful. I learned something from what I thought was an amateur question. Lengthy responses are what we all want, or maybe it's just me. Either way, the long route is always more scenic.

All industry standards, including the little tool I have on my computer that tells me how many people are reading and exactly what percentage of the audience is still reading at each line of the column, says you're wrong. I'll compromise.

Thomas from Brooklyn, NY

I think Narduzzi has done a stellar job with this Pitt squad. How do you like their chances against Notre Dame?

Pat Narduzzi is the real deal. He's got that program on the rise and if recruiting improves, look out. Be that as it may, Pitt has no chance tonight. Why? Because Notre Dame is loaded and is beginning to play to the level of its young talent. I'd love to see a Notre Dame-Clemson rematch in the playoffs. I'll make this prediction: Notre Dame wins the national championship in 2016.

Bob from Beaver Dam, WI

Vikings host the Rams. Other than Packers-Panthers, this is the game to watch. Identical teams with up-pointing arrows! Great football!

It could be the Vikings' coming-out party.

Brad from Parker, CO

You've been traveling with NFL teams now for 43 years. Has flying to road games always been as comfortable and reliable as it is today? If not, do you have any stories you could share?

This is season No. 44, and traveling has always been comfortable, but different. When I began, the Steelers didn't have assigned seats. We just all got on the plane and seated ourselves. How did we ever do it? I only ever remember one problem: Justin Strzelczyk was sitting in a seat that belonged to Barry Foster the previous week, and Foster wanted it back because he had a big game the previous week. Justin said no. Foster wouldn't relent, and it was getting tense. I said, "Justin, come back and sit with me." It took some persuading before he did, but I think he was ready to go, if you know what I mean. Justin was a good man. I liked him very much. The news broke my heart.

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