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What would life be like without the Packers?


William from Savannah, GA

Vic, thy name is instigator. Piped-in noise, the famous asterisk, now the Giants horseshoe.

I like football with an edge.

Bob from Kenosha, WI

There's a large group of us coming up for the Saints game. You seem like you'd throw a mean house party. Any room at your house for some of us to crash?

I'm not a house party kind of guy, but I throw a mean golf tournament, and the plans for it have begun. I hope to be able to announce those plans soon.

A.J. from Richland Center, WI

When teams use the full-time allotment when they are on the clock, can you read anything into that? Are they fielding trade options? Are they waiting for someone to possibly call? Is there a lot of second-guessing going on regarding which player they'd like to select?

It could be any or all of those things, or it could be that the team is having difficulty reaching the player by telephone. Teams want to talk to the guy they're going to pick before they pick him, just to make sure he's safe and sound. Ted Thompson told the story last week of a team not being able to reach the player they picked because, unknown to them, he had undergone back surgery the day before. I've heard stories about teams not being able to get through to a player because his phone was tied up by friends and family calling him to wish him well.

Bryce from Spokane, WA

With the changing nature of the game to an even more offense-oriented approach, how do you think the Hall of Fame will be affected? Is it going to be easier than ever for offensive players to get in and will breaking records like Dan Marino's not mean as much? What about the implications for defensive players?

It shouldn't have much impact because players compete for induction to the Hall of Fame against players from the same eras. Was he one of the dominant players in his era? That's the question members of the Hall of Fame selection committee ask themselves and each other when they consider a player for election to the Hall of Fame. In other words, stats are relative to the eras in which they were achieved. You don't go back and throw Paul Warfield and Lynn Swann out of the Hall of Fame because they never caught more than 61 passes in a season. They played in a different era; they played in the run-the-ball era. What's important is that they were dominant receivers in the eras in which they played.

Mark from Stewartville, MN

Vic, is there a difference between the practice squads of today and the taxi squads of the 1960s?

The difference is that the taxi squad players of the bygone era were members of the team that employed them. Practice squad players are free agents.

Alan from Milwaukee, WI

I've heard conflicting reports about the economic impact of a stadium to an area. Some studies suggest the impact is hardly ever worth the tax dollars put into it, while others suggest it's a gold mine. Can you shed any light?

I'm not an economist and I can't shed any light on what a team's financial worth is to the market it calls home. I can tell you that a city's identity sustains a severe blow when it loses a team. I can also tell you that its people hurt for their loss. Ask the folks in Cleveland what it was like losing the Browns. Ask the people in Baltimore what it was like waking up to the news that the Colts had left in the middle of the night. The Lakers were a significant loss to Minneapolis. Losing the Vikings would be catastrophic. That's my opinion.

Ed from Port Washington, WI

Joe Montana was a third-round pick. I maintain the things that made him great (poise under pressure, leadership, intangibles) are difficult to measure at the combine. He wasn't big, fast or rocket-armed.

I'm going to stop you before you get to your question because you've got Montana all wrong. You're representing him as a guy who lacked talent and somehow got it done with heart. Again, baloney. Montana was one of America's top athletes when he was recruited to play football at Notre Dame and basketball at North Carolina State. That was at a time when each program was a national champion. Montana was also a Major League Baseball prospect. This notion that he was weak and overmatched is absurd. The only reason he lasted until the third round is because Dan Devine didn't commit fully to Montana as Notre Dame's starter. It's unthinkable that Devine didn't fully identify Montana's greatness; everybody else did. Rocket arm? No. Strong enough arm? Yes. Accurate passer? One of the best ever. Beyond that, Montana had legendary mobility, instincts, fearlessness and toughness. He came back from back surgery that would've kept most men off the golf course. Montana is one the most gifted athletes the game has ever seen, but we don't view him that way because he had an impish smile and an easy style of playing. Hey, he made it look easy. That's what great athletes do.

Robert from Harvel, IL

Vic, was Ted Thompson really thinking about the BAP philosophy when he drafted Derek Sherrod last year? Most people knew the Packers needed an offensive tackle, and that's what he took. With players like Brooks Reed still available, was Sherrod really the best available player, or was that a pick for need?

I think they needed a player at Reed's position more than they needed a player at Sherrod's position. What is it about this BAP thing that makes people accuse its practitioners of lying? Did Randall Cobb address a need? Did Aaron Rodgers address a need? Clay Matthews did and the Packers clearly targeted him and went after him. He also represented the best player on their board. I just don't get this angst about picking the best available player. Why is it so objectionable?

Christopher from Kansas City, MO

I have been hearing about how the Atlanta Falcons turned down the offer to be on "Hard Knocks." Do you think the Packers have a chance to be on the show?

That's funny.

Nick from Lombard, IL

With all the recent news about the likelihood of the Vikings moving to LA, how would you realign the divisions to accommodate the Vikings moving to the West Coast?

If that were to happen, the fix is easy: the Vikings and Rams switch divisions. It gets difficult if two teams from the same conference end up in Los Angeles.

Chris from Appleton, WI

Vic, the other day Donovan McNabb declared himself a Hall of Fame quarterback. Does he have enough to get in or will the lack of a defining victory be too much to overcome?

I think his chances were remote, and now they're less than that.

Kevin from Waupun, WI

Vic, with 12 picks available to the Packers in this year's draft. How would you use the picks? I think they will go with 1 DT, 1 DE, 1 S, 2 CB, 2 LB, 2 OL, 1 QB, 1 RB and 1 WR. What's your take?

They'll all be BAP, right? Your wish list reminds me of a story from way back. A writer covering the draft happened to see a piece of paper on the desk of the team's PR guy. The piece of paper had something like this on it: 2RBTWR. The writer decided it was code for two running backs, tackles and wide receivers. As it turned out, the piece of paper was a sandwich order: two roast beef with tomato on white and rye.

Tony from Saint Paul, MN

Would you give up a six or seven for Asante Samuel?

First, I'd have to find out why the Eagles would be willing to part with Samuel for a six or seven.

Lee from Hong Kong

A lot of names were chosen to represent specific cities. There really were Packers in Green Bay, Steelers in Pittsburgh, and Dolphins in the waters off Miami. People form attachments to teams based on both geography and team names, as both are intrinsic parts of a team's identity, and that gets all messed up when teams get moved to new cities. The Rams belong back in Los Angeles, whose surrounding hills once actually had rams grazing on them. What do you think?

And the trolley Dodgers belong back in Brooklyn, where people actually dodged trolleys, right? It's a sad thing to see teams leave the place of their birth and identity. The name "Oilers," for example, was perfect for Houston; it was sad to see it go away. What if Curly Lambeau had moved the Packers to Los Angeles? Think of the loss Wisconsin would've unknowingly suffered. Think of the void on Sundays. Think of the hit the NFL would've sustained to its fan base and its history. The economics of pro sports is undeniable, but the fans' loyalties should always be the No. 1 consideration. They're the customer.

Paul from Malden, MA

The Packers have the best receivers in the NFL and they have one of the best offenses in the NFL, but they have the worst defense in the NFL, yet, you are saying when the Packers pick in the first round, if the BAP is a receiver they should take him. I think that is insane and I don't believe any GM would pick that way, because they would be fired.

You know what gets guys fired? Picking bad players gets guys fired.

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