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Week 12 match already creating excitement


Tim from Cincinnati, OH

So they put Perry at LOLB so he could play the typically less-athletic RT instead of LT. Is he athletic enough to drop into coverage and be a complete OLB?

Nick Perry is an athletic marvel; that's not the issue. The issue is how long will it take him to learn to be a complete outside linebacker?

Tom from Fairborn, OH

Interesting how the game bows to the power of the casual fan. The almighty buck rules. Greed drives our world and it's a shame how it infects our beloved games.

Find a picture from an old football game, a picture that offers a look at the people in the crowd. What you'll probably notice is the stands are full of men; in the really old pictures they're all wearing white shirts, ties, overcoats and hats. They almost look like paper people. Now find a picture of a game from last season. Look at the people in the stands. They're men, women and children and they're dressed in team apparel. The difference between those two pictures represents the growth in the game. The founding fathers of the NFL never said the league wasn't a business. They'd be proud of that growth.

Alan from Elcho, WI

The Packers won the first Super Bowl easily but the team they faced, the Kansas City Chiefs, was loaded with legendary AFL players. What did you think of that team and might they have given the Packers a game on another day?

That Chiefs team was on its way up and is basically the same team that won Super Bowl IV easily, and that Chiefs team would've given the Packers team that won Super Bowl I all it could handle.

Jake from Sheboygan, WI

What is your opinion on the Tiger Woods saga that has gone on over the past few years?

He's not the same player. That's obvious, and it has nothing to do with his will to win or his swagger or his fist pump or any of that baloney that was being credited for his previous dominance. He's just not as good a player as he was. All of a sudden, everything is coming up short. Why? I don't know. Jack Nicklaus got a second wind in his career. I suspect it will happen for Woods, too.

Chris from Appleton, WI

A lot of people right now are singing the praises of Dezman Moses after OTAs and minicamp. Realistically, though, what are his chances?

On a No. 32 defense that is looking for impact players? I think he'll be given every chance to prove he's worthy of a roster spot.

Jeremiah from Two Rivers, WI

The construction on the stadium seems to be moving along real well. Is there another stadium that added seats and you noticed a difference in noise disrupting opponents?

The one in San Diego, which has had more names than the dog that doesn't like me. When it was Jack Murphy Stadium, before it was expanded, it was a good place to take a nap. It became one of the loudest stadiums in the league, in my opinion. I think it's very underrated among tough places to play.

Dennis from Indianapolis, IN

I bet Jerry Kramer would rather people ask why he isn't in the Hall of Fame, than why he is.

I'll bet he'll tell you it's given him a lot of marketability. I love the old guys because they get it. The game didn't pay them a lot of money, so they had to find ways to capitalize on their careers. I guess one of the reasons I love the olds guys is because they wanted to be friendly with sports writers because the players needed the writers' assistance in capitalizing on those careers. Kramer was a great player but I respect him even more for taking the high road on the Hall of Fame snub. He gets it.

John from Highlands Ranch, CO

I read today that Tomlinson is retiring as a Charger. Do players officially retire from a specific team?

We're seeing more of that and it's usually per the request of the player. I think he understands that his life after football would be aided by an identity, a team and a town he can call home. It gives him marketability in that town, as a beloved alumnus of that team. To get love, you have to give love.

Chace from Minneota, MN

Vic, I know you might have answered this before but can you tell me what advantages the new construction at Lambeau will give the Packers?

More seats, more revenue, more noise, greater home-field advantage, more opportunity to satisfy fans on the waiting list and bring people to Lambeau Field's other venues, such as the Pro Shop, Curly's and the Hall of Fame. For all of the years I've covered the NFL, more has been better.

Keith from Greenville, SC

Out of jealousy, I've decided to start writing my own blog. How do you suggest I get material? I don't want to just repeat articles I've read online, but create something fairly unique.

Write something outrageous. It seems to work for everyone else.

James from Wausau, WI

Week 12, MetLife Stadium, beginning of cold weather, bold prediction: Packers will win by major victory; record-breaking numbers for Packers. Your thoughts?

My thoughts are that it'll be the most watched game of the season in Wisconsin.

Chris from Voorhout, The Netherlands

When players like Brees hold out, do you think they lose perspective? Brees probably wants a million or so more a year for five years. What he forgets is that difference is more than most people earn in a lifetime. While I wouldn't begrudge the players what they earn, sometimes they need a reality check.

Fans were saying the same things when Joe Namath broke the bank by getting a contract that was slightly more than today's minimum wage for rookies. The difference between Namath and Drew Brees is another example of the game's growth.

Nathan from La Crosse, WI

Vic, do teammates help each other out studying/watching film during this "Dead Zone"? I'd like to think all the DBs or WRs study together for the good of the team, but I understand the reality of not wanting to give your competition for a roster spot an added edge.

Generally speaking, the players are using the time between now and training camp to prepare to compete. I know we all want to think they're sitting around a camp fire together, but that's not reality. One of my all-time favorite remarks by a player came from Torry Holt when he was asked about mentoring young players. He said, yeah, I'll mentor them, all the way to the bench.

Chris from Pompano Beach, FL

Hallelujah! We got it! Cheer up old man, here comes "NFL Rewind" and a better understanding for the NFL fanatic who wishes to learn more and feel that special feeling knowing that we will be watching the same game film coaches use to analyze their players, game and other opponents. I am so hyped. Hope you are, too.

I'm delirious. It's going to be so much fun answering questions all week from fans that all have a different opinion of what the coverage was on the big play of the game. Please, tell me "NFL Rewind" is going to offer expert analysis of what the coverage really was.

Mark from Stewartville, MN

Vic, I enjoyed your memory of watching the "Ice Bowl." More specifically, what was it about that game that stood out in your mind?

It was the frozen breath, the frozen players. It was Bob Hayes tucking his hands in his pants and not leaving the line of scrimmage on running plays. It was Boyd Dowler's head bouncing violently off the turf. It was the look of dark cold on a sunny day. It was knowing that all of the men on that field were facing two opponents. It was the feeling that the Packers were getting old and this would be the game that would define them and their coach. It was knowing that half the country was doing exactly what I was doing on New Year's Eve, 1967. It was that feeling you get when you know this is important and you won't ever forget it. Sometimes I get those feelings and they're undeniable. There was no doubt in my mind when we left New York last season that the Packers and Giants would meet again.

Nathan from Bismarck, ND

I've been hearing that a lot of teams, especially in the AFC, are transitioning from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 so that they can be better prepared for the pass in their base defense. I always thought the 4-3 was a good defense to use against a run-heavy team. Could you help clear this up or explain why you think teams would be doing this?

I don't know what you're suggesting to be true, but if it is, the answer is obvious: The Giants won the Super Bowl and they play a 4-3. When they beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, everybody wanted to draft every-downs, 4-3 defensive ends. When the Steelers won the next Super Bowl, everybody wanted to switch to a 3-4.

Kyle from Salt Lake City, UT

Vic, I need to thank you for inspiring me to read "When Pride Still Mattered." I have only finished the first couple of chapters, but I already have a newfound respect for the old game. It's unbelievable to me that when Lombardi played, everyone played both ways. You have a quarterback who also blocks for his running back, then stays on the field to play linebacker, and he is also your kicker. I read about one game Lombardi played through and then had to get 30 stitches in his mouth. That's incredible.

Lombardi was one of the "Seven Blocks of Granite," which was Fordham's offensive line, but it was his goal-line stop, a play for which he returned to the game after sustaining a gash early in the game that would require those 30 stitches, that preserved a 0-0 tie against Pitt and is the most famous play in Lombardi's playing career. It was the second of consecutive 0-0 ties between the two teams, in what were two of the bloodiest games in football history. Pitt claimed the national title in 1937, the year Lombardi made the goal-line stop. Imagine the fame a player would acquire today for doing what Lombardi did. He'd be celebrated on "Sportscenter" all week.

Jeremy from Indianapolis, IN

Vic, I'm still seeing rumors about the Packers making the most sense as a trade partner for Colt McCoy? Would this really make sense for the Packers, or would it just make sense for the Browns?

I think the more appropriate question is: When was the last time Ted Thompson traded a draft pick for a player?

Tom from Auckland, New Zealand

Do you think American football can be as successful throughout the world as it has been in America? And what would it take for it to become a global sport?

I think it can happen but I think the helmet, particularly the facemask, would be a turn-off for international fans. Other cultures aren't accustomed to sports being played with such elaborate headgear. Personally, I think we're headed in the wrong direction with the facemask. It would take time to sell the sport worldwide, but I think it can be done. In fact, I think it will be done.

Hunter from Fillmore, IN

If you could call one place home, where would it be and why?

You can't cut chunks of your life out of your heart. Counting my college days, I've lived in four places and they're all dear to me. The longer I live somewhere, the more attached I become to that place. I love every place I've lived. They're all distinctly different and I love that about them. I grew up in a mill town in the Pittsburgh area. I learned to tell time by the sound of the mill whistle; I never owned a watch because I didn't need one. I spent 16 years in Jacksonville, where I became friendly with "Bubba" the gator guy, learned how to sweep water moccasins out of my garage and couldn't wait for that first cool day in November that said winter is on the way. Now I live in Green Bay, where I've cut and stacked a huge pile of firewood for next winter. Why do I have to call one place home? I call them all home. It's wonderful.

Scott from Las Vegas, NV

Johnny Miller sucked, as always, during the Open.

I thought he was great. He's the only guy that's got the guts to rip on Tiger, and he didn't wait until Tiger's fall to do it. I'm glad you're still reading the column, Scott.

Paul from De Pere, WI

So what are the chances the Packers would pick an average Joe, add him to the coaching staff for reality TV? What are the odds there's a diamond in the rough here in Green Bay, a coach in the making?

I knew this would happen.

Griffin from West Bend, WI

My brother can't accept the fact that Jerel Worthy won't penetrate the offensive line in the Packers' 3-4 defense like he did in college. He thinks they should allow him to anyways, even though I keep telling him no.

They'll use his penetrate-and-disrupt skills; coaches utilize all of their players' skills. Penetrate and disrupt is something Worthy does naturally, but the Packers also believe he has the size and strength to hold the point, as is required of an Okie end, a role he will also have to play if he's going to be an every-downs player.

Mike from Bridgeport, CT

Any thoughts on the U.S. Open? Is it strange that I enjoyed watching professional golfers struggle as much as they did this weekend?

I loved it. I watched it nonstop on Saturday and Sunday. For me, it was like turning the clock back on football, to a time when scores were low and teams ran the ball. I liked watching the golfers play it safe, out of fear for danger, shot after shot, waiting for that one moment when they could knock down the stick, instead of knocking down 18 of them. I don't care what their scores are, I just want to see them compete. I want to know they are completely invested in what they're doing, and it requires the winner to play the best golf of his life. It did.

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