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Will a receiver ever win league MVP?


The regular writer of "Ask Vic," Editor Vic Ketchman, is on vacation. Staff Writer Mike Spofford is temporarily filling in to answer your "Ask Vic" questions. Vic will resume writing his daily column on Monday, July 9.

Jeremy from Indianapolis, IN

Mike, do you feel like you've been thrown to the wolves? Is Vic as cranky as he sometimes sounds?

I don't know about the wolves. During the season, and especially after a tough loss, I'm sure it would be different, but I'm enjoying all the thought-provoking questions I'm getting from Packers fans already. I'm just disappointed I can't answer more of them in this space, to be honest. Vic cranky? You should have seen him in the press box in San Diego last November when the heater, which was directly under our seats, kept blasting heat "up the chair." If Vic had brought a hammer, would have been billed by Qualcomm Stadium for a press box renovation. We're going back there for the first preseason game this year, but I'm going to tell Vic to leave the hammer home. It'll be August.

Koigi from Lynchburg, VA

Hey Mike, tell us a good story about one of the rookies we drafted or any of the free agents the Packers signed that you learned during OTA's and minicamps.

I got a lot of questions along this line, so I'll answer one here. I had a pleasant conversation with offensive lineman Andrew Datko, the seventh-round pick from Florida State, as the offseason program concluded. It was interesting to hear him talk about the times he was working with the first-string offense during OTA's if someone else was sitting out. He spoke of "seeing how the best offense in the league works" and realizing "you're protecting the best quarterback in the league back there." Sometimes we forget the perspective of a rookie. His excitement for just an OTA practice was refreshing. I'm going to post a story on Datko in the next week or so. If his shoulder holds up over the next few years, the potential value the Packers got in the seventh round with Datko could become an intriguing story.

Mark from Reno, NV

Would LB and WR be two of the most competitive positions for survival heading into training camp? Both positions seem to be stacked. A lazy offseason could prove to be costly.

Again, multiple questions about training-camp storylines, so I'll tackle Mark's. Yeah, the depth at linebacker and receiver is significant. Both the inside and outside linebacker spots have a lot of players fighting for roster spots and playing time. There will be a lot to sort out. We'll all be watching how many receivers the Packers keep, too. There are the five guys from last year, plus Diondre Borel and Tori Gurley will make their bids to stick around. I'm also intrigued by all the youth in the secondary, at both corner and safety. Will a few guys rise to the top, or will Dom Capers come up with different packages that feature different players?

Kyle from Chicago, IL

Mike, Vic never answers my questions, will you?

Sure, Kyle. Just make your next question better than your last one.

Grant from Darlington, WI

I currently go to UW-Platteville, and live about 30 minutes away during the summer. So, I'm curious, what was it like having the Bears in Platteville for training camp when so many of the people in this corner of the state are die-hard Packer fans?

I'll use your word. It was curious. The tourism from Illinois that invaded our sleepy little town brought it to life every summer. The presence of the team, particularly with the Bears in their heyday in the mid-1980s, converted some fans (including one impressionable pre-teen who was getting all their autographs). But it also fueled the rivalry that much more for many Packers fans, who were staunch loyalists but in the midst of watching their team lose eight in a row and 12 of 14 (from 1985-91) to the Bears. The Bears continued to train there long after I left home for good, so I can't speak for the latter years, but the early times really got people in southwest Wisconsin jazzed up about football from mid-summer on.

Ford from Mobile, AL

In what NFL game did the most future members of the Hall Of Fame (including head coaches) participate? It is my belief that it would have been an early to mid-1960s Packers vs. Bears game. What do you think?

I think your idea is a strong possibility. There were 10 Packers and six Bears who played in the 1960s, plus coaches Vince Lombardi and George Halas, who are in the Hall. Taking into account the potential of careers not overlapping – Chicago's Gale Sayers was a rookie in 1965, for example – and the possibility of guys missing games to injury, it would be difficult to nail down the peak number. I thought I read somewhere that there was a 1970s game between the Steelers and Raiders that had the most Hall of Famers on the field at the same time, but now I can't find the reference. If anyone knows the answer here, I'm all ears.

Brian from Ames, IA

If you had to guess, will Mike McCarthy eventually have his name in the Hall of Fame?

If you're talking the Packers Hall of Fame, the answer is an unequivocal yes. He has won a Super Bowl here and that's more than enough. As for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, that will depend on whether or not he wins, or at least advances to, additional Super Bowls, I think. In six seasons, McCarthy has had three that stand out on his resume – an NFC Championship loss, a Super Bowl title, and a 15-1 record. That's a heck of a start.

Michael from Fort Bragg, NC

Has there ever been a defensive player that won league MVP? If so, when was the last time and who was it?

There have been only two since the Associated Press NFL MVP award was instituted in 1961. They were the Vikings' Alan Page in 1971 and the Giants' Lawrence Taylor in 1986. In fact, either a quarterback or running back has won the award every year dating back to Taylor. Given the current offensive trends in the NFL, maybe the more interesting questions are when a running back might win another one and whether a receiver might ever get one. San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson was the last running back to win it, in 2006. A receiver has never won it.

Troy from Delano, MN

I think I found your international game with the Packers. When the Vikings are having their stadium built and playing out of the college stadium the league would probably have more ticket sales in a big venue overseas than in the college stadium.

Considering the smaller size of the University of Minnesota's stadium, you may be onto something, though that would disappoint a lot of western Wisconsin fans who make that annual trip across the border.

Aaron from Green Bay, WI

I'm getting married on Oct. 20 and all my groomsmen are huge Packers fans. I'm curious on your opinion on the most famous/best player that ever played for the Pack as I was thinking about getting them all an authentic jersey as a gift. Number 20 would coincide with the date of our wedding. Thanks for your help!

Congratulations, Aaron, and you get to avoid the obligatory snide comment about marriage because Vic's on vacation. Well, if you're talking specifically about the best player to wear jersey No. 20, you've got a couple of good choices. Back in the early days, players wore different numbers throughout their careers, and both Curly Lambeau (1929) and Johnny "Blood" McNally (1931-32) wore No. 20 during two of the Packers' first three championship seasons of '29 and '31. Unfortunately, if you have a third or fourth groomsman, I can't hand you another classic name, because nobody wore No. 20 during the title seasons of '36 and '39, and nobody wore it throughout the decade of the 1960s. That said, I'm sure if you were commemorating the year of your wedding with No. 12, you'd make all your friends happy.

Tony from Bronxville, NY

Hey Mike, need your opinion. I watched America's Game last night about the '67 Packers and Chuck Mercein was one of the men interviewed. Is it just me or did he he look like Vic's brother?

No idea, Tony. Suddenly Vic looks like all these old Packers. Another reader (Caleb from Branson, MO) wrote in to say that the Bart Starr bobblehead doll resembles Vic. Maybe there's some sort of transformative power in that Lombardi desk Vic sat behind for a video he shot last week. All I know is what I heard a comedian once say about resemblances. "You ever realize how all those Elvis impersonators don't really look like Elvis? They just look like each other." Think about that one for a while.

Luke from Canberra, Australia

Vic, please explain the "tuck rule." I have only recently started following football and am becoming obsessed. Analysts always reference it but never explain the origin.

I don't know about the origin, per se, but it became part of the modern-day football lexicon in the snowy 2001 AFC divisional playoff between the Raiders and Patriots, and it has, of course, a Packers connection. Late in the game, Oakland's Charles Woodson sacked Tom Brady as he was about to throw, and the hit popped the ball loose. The Raiders recovered and thought they had won the game. The replay review indicated Brady was trying to "tuck" the ball back into his chest as he was hit, and the way the rule is written, that's an incomplete pass. The Patriots kept the ball, kicked a game-tying field goal, won the game on a field goal in overtime, and went on to their first Super Bowl title. Woodson still shakes his head when he's asked about that game. He's a good sport about it, but he shakes his head. The "tuck rule" in part stoked Woodson's passion for getting back to the Super Bowl, and Green Bay fans can be thankful for that.

Chris from Iron Mountain, MI

Vic, I have a genius marketing idea for whoever is in charge of Packer sales and marketing. So instead of those ugly throwback jerseys that the Pack whip out in the middle of the season, they unveil a hunters' orange, forest green, and white jersey for whatever game they play near Nov. 16 or whenever opening day is: orange jerseys, white numbers, and green trim. I know they already make something like that but I'm thinking a more legit and professionally made jersey.

You've either mastered Vic's veiled sarcasm, or you're really lucky Vic didn't read that. Really lucky.

James from Rhinelander, WI

One of Wisconsin's beer brands has pint glasses with the following Lombardi quote: "In great attempts, it is glorious even to fail." I'm with you, give me, "A seal here, and a seal here." He was a great coach and leader of men, as you put it, but Socrates he was not. Is the selling of Lombardi forecasted to continue until everything he ever said has been printed on a beer mug?

You just gave me the perfect idea for a Christmas gift for Vic. I'm going to get him a pilsner glass that says, "Run it, and let's get the hell outta here."

Brett from St. Cloud, MN

I was thinking about going to Family Night this year. Is seating general admission?

No, it's reserved seats throughout the stadium bowl, not general admission. You can order tickets online**right here**.

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