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What players are the best entertainers?

Don't count on the Lions losing


Brad from Green Bay, WI

"If someone asked me to vote on a proposal that would limit field goal attempts to the fourth quarter only, I'd vote for it." That's a very interesting concept. What is your rationale behind it?

My rationale is that crunch-time kicks are the only ones that are exciting.

Mark from Seattle, WA

Vic, the NFL is clearly a much more successful sport and business than MLB at this point. In your opinion, why is it totally appropriate, even commendable, when a baseball player throws a ball to the crowd, yet, when a football player does it, he's fined?

I've wondered that for a long time. I'm sure there are reasons for it, but I've never heard any that've made me say, "Oh, I get it now." If it's about the cost of the ball – I'm sure it isn't – then just bill the guy for it. When I was a kid, if a ball was kicked into the crowd, the equipment guys all but went up into the stands after the ball. It looked silly. If it's about the supply of balls prepared for the game, then prepare more of them. I think the answer to your question is the league has always wanted the football to be the "magic bean." In other words, they want it to have mystique. If it's allowed to be treated with disregard, it loses some of that mystique.

Jeff from New Ulm, MN

Vic, the season has reached halftime. In which direction do you believe this team's arrow is pointing as the third quarter begins?

A 5-3 record is an up arrow. It's not pointing straight up, but it's pointing up.

Travis from Fort Walton Beach, FL

Vic, from reading Mike Spofford’s chat, Coach McCarthy gave the players more time off than usual, followed with lighter practice. Does this speak more to his commitment to reduce injuries and fatigue, or to his confidence the team is already focused and prepared?

It says he has his finger on the pulse of his team and he knows what it needs to do to be the best it can be. We've got a long way to go. This season is just beginning.

Chad from Evanston, IL

So you're saying we need more rules about the review system?

No, we need fewer rules, we need simplicity, and getting rid of the coach's challenge system would tear out pages of the rulebook. Put a review guy up in the booth and let him run the show. College does it the right way.

Mark from Stewartville, MN

Vic, how do you wind down after covering a game?

I do something other than think about the game I covered. I read a book, I talk to family or friends. What I don't want to do is talk about the game I just covered, because if I do that, I'll go back through the stories I've written and begin questioning whether I should've written it this way or that way. At some point, I have to turn off football and re-join the other world.

Tyler from New Franken, WI

I think what makes a football player a great entertainer is his ability to perform on the field as well as his ability to keep the cameras rolling off the field. Can you name a few players that come to mind, besides Richard Sherman?

Peyton Manning is the best salesman in NFL history. He has a natural flair for being a product spokesman. Aaron Rodgers is pretty good at it, too. Deion Sanders might be the greatest entertainer of all pro football players, but it wasn't an act that appealed to me. Two old guys whose acts I loved are Art Donovan and Chuck Bednarik.

Henrik from Uppsala, Sweden

So you think the Colts thing with the hurry up was wrong, but you still preach about how it's a part of the game to have a ref being wrong about a call or two. What gives?

Intent is what gives. The official intended to get the call right. When a team hurries to snap the ball before the call can be reviewed, its intent is to obstruct justice. That bothers me greatly. I see a huge integrity hole in the coach's challenge system. It's tainted. It feels dirty when those hurry-up snaps occur.

John from San Francisco, CA

Eagles, Patriots, Lions: I think we have to win two of these to make the playoffs.

I wouldn't count on that kind of cushion. Those are home games. I think you have to count on winning at home.

Mike from Las Vegas, NV

Vic, if some fans don't want Mike McCarthy to coach the Packers, who is it they want? Tom Coughlin? He's won two Super Bowls, but the fans ran him out of Jacksonville and they are trying to run him out of New York now. Mike Tomlin won a Super Bowl, too. He's a trendy, young coach; last year Pittsburgh fans wanted his head midway through the season. Jim Harbaugh? No chance. Mike Shanahan won two Super Bowls, too, but fans in Denver and Washington got impatient. If fans want coaches to be accountable, we should also be accountable.

All coaches are under attack when they lose, and all coaches lose.

Keith from Greendale, WI

Vic, do you expect Thompson and McCarthy to ride out the career of Aaron Rodgers and then step aside once it's time for his retirement?

There's an age gap between Ted Thompson and Coach McCarthy; let's be mindful of that. Coach McCarthy, in my opinion, is young enough to coach well beyond the Rodgers era, and I think he will. I think Coach McCarthy will revel at the idea of developing another quarterback. That's his thing; that's what he loves to do. I think Coach McCarthy is going to be the Packers' coach for a long, long time.

Jesus from El Paso, TX

You stated Coach McCarthy's message never changes. What's his message?

Do your job.

Aaron from Kansas City, KS

McCarthy is a great coach and I respect his gutsy calls, whether we get the onside kick or not. However, you said you would take him over any current coach? The league is filled with amazing coaches, but Belichick just seems to be a head above the rest. Why would you not choose him?

I think Bill Belichick ranks No. 1 among current head coaches. He's got the past and the present to warrant that kind of ranking. I can't help but wonder, however, how long he wants to coach. I'm certain Coach McCarthy wants to coach for a long time. I see him as in the prime of a career that's going to last a long time. That's why I would choose Coach McCarthy. One more thing: I think his personality would be a better fit for mine and, of course, I'm the owner.

Isaac from Carrboro, NC

Vic, why are so many people convinced the Lions must eventually melt down? That doesn't make any sense to me.

I don't get it either. Don't count on the other guy losing. Count on you winning. Backing into the postseason isn't a good way to do it, either. Win! This is the time of year for it.

Tyler from Menasha, WI

Vic, I've been reading your column for a couple of years now. I can now laugh at the people screaming at the TV next to me when the Packers aren't perfect. Thanks for helping me achieve perspective.

It feels good, doesn't it? You're in a sports bar and you look around and think to yourself, "I'm glad I'm not them."

Caleb from Eau Claire, WI

Vic, what abilities determine if an offensive lineman is capable of playing multiple positions along the line? How difficult is it to switch between them?

The zone-blocking scheme favors versatility. There aren't a lot of guard-only or tackle-only blocks in the zone scheme, as there were in the Lombardi "Packer Sweep" era.

Michael from West Bend, WI

Vic, you said the one constant for the Patriots has been Tom Brady. In the year he was hurt, they still managed to go 11-5 under Matt Cassel. They missed the playoffs, but they were still 11-5. Bill Belichick has been able to make just about any situation work. Well, in New England anyway.

You're forgetting another period in Coach Belichick's time as coach of the Patriots that Brady wasn't the team's quarterback. They were 5-13 and some thought Coach Belichick was on the hot seat. Then he made Brady the team's starting quarterback and everything changed. Players, not plays.

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