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Who would you put on your NFL Rushmore?

Memories of the Smitty's Blaster


Young from Milwaukee, WI

How much has the job of head coach changed and how do you think Curly Lambeau and Vince Lombardi would fare as head coaches in the modern NFL?

The head coach in today's NFL also needs to be the CEO of his team and franchise. Wasn't that exactly what Lambeau and Lombardi were? They would be perfect for today's game.

Koti from Vijayawada, India

I have come to a realization as to why so many quarterbacks with the tangibles fail. To be a good quarterback, he has to be an intelligent guy, along with all the physical qualities. Process information in a split second. I think intelligence is what divides a good quarterback and great quarterback.

I think it's courage that divides them. The great ones never drop their eyes; they're always looking downfield. Their attention isn't distracted by the sound of danger heading toward them. All of their focus is on what's happening downfield. They are fearless in the pocket.

Keith from Oakland, CA

On the salary cap, the teams you talk about overspending do so on other teams' free agents. Without a cap, a draft-savvy, rich team can keep its free agents and roll right through.

A draft-savvy rich team would certainly have an advantage, if being rich didn't cause it to become lazy with its draft-and-develop philosophy, which I think it would. Why be patient with your draft picks when you can buy what you want in free agency? The low-revenue teams would then pick up the players the rich team cut, and patiently develop the talents the rich team originally saw but wasn't committed to developing. The low-revenue teams would have to be more creative and efficient.

Craig from Brookfield, WI

Who is on your NFL Mount Rushmore?

Vince Lombardi, Pete Rozelle and Johnny Unitas would be three of my four heads. The fourth head is open to debate.

Jordan from Saint Louis Park, MN

Vic, if there was no salary cap, do you think low-revenue teams would be able to keep such talents as Aaron Rodgers?

Yeah, they'd keep their stars, but the challenge would be to build a team around those stars with bargain and stop-gap players. To a degree, that's what the Patriots have done.

Craig from Brookfield, WI

Stronger conference, AFC or NFC?

The NFL has achieved total parity. I don't think one conference is stronger than the other.

Torin from Golden Bay, HI

If it was plays, not players, there would have been no need to move Matthews inside.


Ray from Clark, NJ

Vic, you are trailing 21-16. You score a TD with one minute left to go up 22-21. Do you go for two to get a three-point lead and run the risk of a turnover and two points scored by the defense, kick the extra point or take a knee?

You go for two because the chance of the defense scoring is slim. Nevertheless, your point is well-taken. This is the kind of scenario the new rule has created, and it's going to create a lot of postgame debate.

Tom from Loomis, CA

I know this is sacrilegious, but do you think the run defense was better after Matthews moved inside because when he's on the outside he often crashes down letting the runner have the outside?

It made the defense better because it put better personnel on the field.

Tim from Normal, IL

Vic, do you remember running through a Smitty's Blaster in football practice? It was a rite of passage for players to get through it. Those who got stuck became laughing stocks in less-sensitive times.

It was fun. I remember guys getting stuck in it and the coach playfully throwing footballs off the guy's head, as everybody laughed. Imagine that happening today. How long would it take for the kid to quit, go home crying to his parents, the parents complaining to the school board, the coach getting fired and cable TV news turning it into a burning national issue? Getting through the Blaster was more about technique than power. As long as you kept your head up and didn't dip as you hit the arms, you wouldn't get stuck. Of course, it had a tension adjuster. The coach could take it up to brick-wall strength.

Matt from Winfield, IL

Who is the funniest guy on the team?

Mike Daniels cracks me up.

Patrick from La Crosse, WI

What would life be without the Internet?

I doubt I'd have a job.

Eric from Arlington, MN

I read an article this past week on neck injuries to Packers players that ended their young careers. Which player did you ever see that sustained a career-ending injury that you thought would have been great?

Sterling Sharpe's career was cut short just when he was about to become a Hall of Fame prospect. Tim Lewis is the one who gets overlooked. I think he would've had a great career.

Chad from Minneapolis, MN

Vic, I honestly thought last year's defeat in Seattle had ruined my love of the game, the day hurt that bad. I have to say, time heals all wounds and I can't ever remember being more excited for a season than I am this year. Thanks for the great work and the perspective you provide.

Nothing lasts for too long in this league, and that includes victory.

Adam from Minneapolis, MN

From your time in Pittsburgh, did you have any memorable encounters with Dock Ellis?

Encounters? No. Fun memories? Yes. Dock was a wild and crazy guy; he was a fun guy. He claims to have thrown a no-hitter while on LSD. My favorite memory of Dock was the night he hit every batter he faced. He decided he was tired of the Reds intimidating the Pirates, so he threw at every guy that came to the plate. Rose, plunk! Morgan, plunk! Bench, plunk! Tony Perez looked into the Pirates' dugout before he stepped into the batter's box, as if it to say, "Aren't you going to do something about this?" Plunk! That was it. The Pirates manager knew something was up, so he went out and got Dock. Here's the best part: Dock waited in the clubhouse until the game was over so he could talk to reporters and tell us what the deal was. Memories make me rich.

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