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Jerry from Savannah, GA
Vic, Baker Mayfield said the biggest lesson he learned in college was “don’t run from the cops." Is he the type of edgy player you would have enjoyed covering?
I haven't formed an opinion about him, yet. He's certainly confrontational, and that's good, but he's also disruptive, and that can become problematic. I'll judge him by how he plays in big games. When you win the big ones, everything you say and do is right.
Nick from Goose Lake, IA
What do you remember about McKay and the 0-26 Bucs?
I remember Coach Noll avoiding questions about the Bucs the week they were to play the Steelers in 1976. Chuck adhered to his mantra "this is the most important game we'll play this season because it's the next game we'll play," and he would refrain from discussing subjects that would dull his team's focus, but not that week. He was more than willing to talk about anything but the Bucs. Why? Because there was nothing good to say about them. They were horrible. Final score, 42-0. I'm not sure it was a good move for McKay to leave USC. He would've won more national titles. His legend would've grown. He was a sensational coach.
Craig from Cedarburg, WI
With Mike Daniels signing with Detroit for what I understand he was going to make with Green Bay, why didn't the Packers trade him? I understand not wanting to trade him within the division, but look where he ended up.RFJJAL Bedside Back, Superior Comfort Bed Large Pillow Lumbar Support Pad - Filled Triangle Wedge Pad for Adult Pain Relief (color Green, Size 70 50 cm)ZHAOHUI Mattress Predector Polyester Quilted Breathable Environmental Predection Keep Warm Soft, 4 Packages, 4 colors, 2 Sizes (color Red-2pcs, Size Full)HAIPENG Notebook Computer Desk Bed Folding Table Desk Study (Two Sizes Optional) (Size LWH 50 30 22cm)。
Picks, not players.
Jeremy from Oceanside, NY
What was the biggest advantage you had writing about the NFL that you would have lost if you were mainly covering a different sport?
I covered a lot of baseball, especially before training camp would open in July. I loved baseball, but the players just weren't as cooperative with the media. I couldn't wait for training camp to begin because that's where the stories were. The competition was open for all to see, writers were encouraged to write about it and the players and coaches were eager to discuss it. The access was wonderful. It wasn't like that during my last few years covering the NFL. In the beginning, I felt welcome. In the end, I felt unnecessary.
Dave from Savage, MN
I love football, but somehow I want the offseason to last a little longer this year. Maybe there is too much bluster for me nowadays. Did you ever not look forward to the football season?
Our involvement in football was/is different. For me, there was no offseason. If you're dreading the start of another season, it might be because football has become too important in your life and it's beginning to wear on you. That's why I advocate fans adopting a more even perspective. There's no reason for fans to feel angst. If the game or the performance of the team is making you unhappy, find something else to do. You'll come back to football and it'll be waiting for your return. Saints fans need to find something else to do. They've lost control of their emotions and more hurt is on the way.
Nate from Sioux City, IA
Branching off the idea of socialism working in the NFL: Isn’t something like this exactly what college football needs; revenue sharing and a draft similar to the NFL?
College football needs standardization and a central ruling body with the teeth to govern, instead of five separate ruling bodies afraid to bite the hand that feeds them.
Aaron from White Hall, AR
Aaron Rodgers on his relationship with Matt LaFleur: "What I can say is that (we) are friends." We won't know how this plays out until the season goes along, but to me a coach and any player shouldn't be viewed as friends. Hearing that just didn't sit right with me, but maybe I see things differently. I'm a Jaguars fan, so it really doesn't affect me. Just wanted your thoughts.
Times have changed. Mike Singletary tried to be Vince Lombardi; it didn't work.
Jack from Jacksonville, FL
What do you think of Jalen Ramsey showing up in a Brinks truck for training camp? Would the old Tom Coughlin have tolerated such antics?
Coach Coughlin put up with more than you might think, it's just it wasn't as openly dramatic as Ramsey's training camp arrival. The better you are, the more you're tolerated; it's always been that way. Ernie Holmes tried to shoot down a police helicopter. Ramsey can be overly dramatic. So can Antonio Brown. He arrived at training camp in a balloon. It's kind of the way things are with today's players. The truth is on the tape. When the tape says Ramsey isn't worth an armored truck, or if and when he becomes a distraction with which the team can no longer live, Tom Coughlin's tolerance will have expired.
Sam from Olathe, KS
Maybe letting each team negotiate its own TV deal might not be so bad. Living in Kansas, I might actually see the Packers play on TV more often. Why is it good to have the league be in control of TV?
If the Bears were permitted to cut their own TV deal, I would expect them to slowly pull away from the rest of the NFC North. Since fan followings are built on winning, theirs would grow and their competition's would decline. I think you know the rest.
Kyle from Los Angeles, CA
If you were still covering the Packers, what would you be watching the first few practices of training camp to get a feel for where the team was heading under a rookie head coach?
I don't think today's training camps offer much in the way of feel for a team. They're too watered down. September is the new preseason.
Steve from Phoenix, AZ
Personally, I suspect this Rodgers play-calling thing is largely a media driven issue rather than a real controversy, from the coach's and the QB's perspective. As a reporter, with access to players and coaches, how would you seek to get at the truth. Who would you talk to and what questions would you ask?
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Samuel from Jacksonville, FL
Do you still have the same hunger to consume football, or has that diminished with time?
I have the same old hunger on game day, but not on the other days. The hype bores me. The Steelers and Raiders were no hype. They truly hated each other.
Chad from Kansas City, MO
If you could change only one play, or outcome thereof, which would it be? I would have liked to see Julius Peppers not tell Morgan Burnett to get down when he had an open field in Seattle.
The two obvious plays are the Starr sneak and the "Immaculate Reception." How would the Packers and Steelers franchises be different today had Starr been stopped and Franco Harris not caught that deflection? The Lombardi legend? Would Lambeau Field still possess the same allure? Would the Steelers still have gone on their magical run?
Adam from Madison, WI
My favorite part of your column is dropping names of the old guys and reading about them. Not much on Sidney Thornton other than being a second-round pick and playing six years in the NFL. There must be another story about someone who would ice their good ankle.
Sidney was acting on the advice of a witch doctor from his native Louisiana. Sid was a funny guy. He was infamous for being late to practice and he was taxing Coach Noll's patience when Sid fumbled four times in a season opener, the final fumble having been returned for the game-losing touchdown when the Steelers were in kill-the-clock mode. After the game, Coach Noll was asked about Sid's performance. "Sidney has many problems and they are great," Noll deadpanned, causing reporters to giggle. Noll was then asked what he was going to do about Sidney's fumbling. "What are they doing in Iran?" Noll said as he made a chopping motion on his hand. The room exploded with laughter. Thank you, Sidney, for one of the memorable moments in my sports writing career.
Cindy from Los Angeles, CA
Your descriptions of attending live games are so visceral they make me want to go, but nosebleed tickets these days are upwards of $200 or more, depending on the stadium. I'm not convinced that from that high up I would be able to see anyone's bloody nose or get the color pop of the uniforms. Sitting closer runs over $600 per ticket. Do you think it's worth the cost to experience the game like that?
No. The NFL's greatest failure is its inability to control ticket prices. The league has betrayed the largest segment of its fan base.
Aaron from St. Paul, MN
The Packers cut Daniels, while the Vikings worked hard to keep Rudolph. Do the Packers still have their sights on the future or is this not comparable?
It's not comparable. The Vikings wanted to keep Rudolph; the Packers wanted to replace Daniels. I've long felt Daniels was playing out of position with the Packers. I don't think he's a natural 3-4 end; I think he's a pure 4-3 tackle. It's one of the reasons I really respect what Mike did with the Packers. I think he played out of position and still played well. I think he could flourish in the Lions' scheme.
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Jason from Austin, TX
Is the Hall of Fame going to need a Hall of Fame?
We have a place where we separate Johnny Unitas and Jim Brown from the not so famous. Our heart is that place. It knows the difference between elected and immortal.
Michael from Sanford, FL
Vic, I was eight when the Jags played their first game, meaning I've been a Jags fan as long as I've known what football was. However, I don't have clear memories of specific players. Can you please share your thoughts on Kevin Hardy? How good was he? What were his strengths, weaknesses and can you think of a modern player whose style you could compare him to?
Kevin could rush a little and cover and tackle a lot. He was more Sean Lee than Khalil Mack, as comparisons go. Dom Capers helped Kevin become a Pro Bowler in 1999, and Kevin was on his way to a long and productive career when a knee injury required him to undergo microfracture surgery. His career declined from that point and he was out of football a few years later.
Joe from Bloomington, IN
Seriously. We're talking about women's soccer. Anything more than a curtsy is an abomination.
Justin from Canton, NC
Vic, more moms and dads these days need to let their boys get hurt, get mad, get physical, find out who they really are. One of the most humbling things is getting your bell rung or knocked on your back. How do you know if you'll get up if you never experience it?
A lot of boys feel a need to experience a "Red Badge of Courage" moment. A father instinctively understands that, but I'm not sure a mother can. Her instinct is overwhelmingly to protect.
Scott from Sauk City, WI
Vic, I really almost never disagree with anything you write because it's always thought-provoking and positively impactful, but I'm very confused with why you wouldn't want a mother to weigh in on her son's decision to play football. I love the sport of football as much as anybody else in the world. Fall Sundays are my favorite Sundays, because of the NFL. I can't imagine living in a country where injury and the fear of injury take away this sport, but I also believe if I had a son who wanted to play football, I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I excluded my wife from the conversation. She carried that baby for nine months and shares a bond with that child I can't even comprehend. Making an informed decision about football should be a family decision. Then, again, I never played the sport. I was never a big, athletic kid. I was a musician. I played an instrument, so I didn't have to play a game where I might get hurt. I'm also a self-proclaimed "mama's boy" whose mother raised him while his father was constantly on the road for work. My mom made me who I am; her opinion always meant the world to me.LiTing-Folding Table Laptop Desk Bed Computer Desk Foldable Lazy Table Dormitory Reading Learning Small Desk (Size 53x21x25cm)MDesign Plastic Portable Nursery Storage Organizer Caddy Tote - Divided Basket Bin with Handle - Holds Bottles, Spoons, Bibs, Pacifiers, Diapers, Wipes, Baby Lotion - BPA Free - Large, 2 Pack - ClearBenzara 66788 Useful and Portable Wine Bottle Basket with Aged WoodPine Wall-Mounted Coat Rack Wall Decorative Storage Shelf with Hooks (White) (Size 46.3 29.5 27.3cm).
Playing football isn't for everyone.
Andrew from Madison, WI
Did you ever see Gale Sayers play? I've only seen film, and he's fast and all that, but he also seems to be psychic or have 360-degree vision or something.
I was at Pitt Stadium, sitting next to my father, when Sayers returned the opening kickoff of the 1967 season for a touchdown; he ran right toward me. I think of him as the greatest combination running back/kick returner in pro football history.
Jamie from Brooklyn, NY
I have a different view on the roles of parents in a child's life (to me, a family decision is a family decision). But even if I would allow the idea playing football is a father/son matter, if that child eventually suffers brain trauma and becomes cognitively impaired, whose job will it be to take care of him? If the parenting decision to play football is 100 percent the father's, should the after-injury care be the responsibility of the father?
Don't you think this question is a little nuts?
Greg from Danbury, CT
The fact your coach spoke to your dad instead of your mom says more about your coach than your mom's "proper role," social mores of the day notwithstanding. I withhold judgement on your dad out of respect, but mostly because I'm not privy to his conversations with your mom in what was best for young Vic. I love your column and I respect you, Vic. Gotta say, though, you whiffed on this one.
I have no doubt my mother and father discussed the subject, and her opinion was valued and weighed. What you're missing is my mother allowed my father to be the voice of the family on this matter, out of respect for his "proper role" and the father/son bond. It was the right thing to do, social mores of the day notwithstanding.
Darren from Australia
"If you've lived well, the past is a great place to visit." Did you know as you were living you were living well? If so, how did you know in the present moment?
When you're watching a football game and you're being paid to do it, you know you're living well.
Craig from Cedarburg, WI
I've heard radio talking heads complain about the location of the Hall of Fame. Do you ever see it moving from the birthplace of football?
Southwestern Pa. is the birthplace of professional football. It means more to us because we invented the game. As for Canton, it's a good place for the Hall of Fame, but the location of the facility is terrible. It's pushed up against an interstate highway and jammed in between a high school and a housing plan. There is absolutely nothing charming about the Pro Football Hall of Fame facility. It was created on the cheap and, frankly, it's one of the few mistakes from Pete Rozelle's time as commissioner. It lacked vision.
Justin from Madison, WI
Context can be crucial when judging behavior. Take a few minutes to look into the long history of disrespect, mistreatment and unfair compensation of U.S. women's soccer players and I think you'll better understand why they play with such a huge chip on their shoulders. It only furthers the point a celebration far more innocuous than you see on any given Sunday is getting more press and attention than the fact U.S. women are going to, yet, another World Cup final.
David from Washington, DC
Not a question, just a quote I liked from Cliff Christl's recent story on Fuzzy Thurston: “He’s not quite as good a pulling guard as Jerry Kramer,” Lombardi said of Thurston, “but he’s a good short-trap blocker and he’s got enough quickness, size, strength and determination so that, when he and Jerry come swinging around that corner together like a pair of matched Percherons, you can see the defensive man’s eyeballs pop.”Spring Coil Fully 31-inch Assembled Portable Folding Cot Bed with, Twin, WhiteStool Solid Wood Stool Dining Stool Simple and Modern Removable seat Cover Square Size 46 33 33cm (color I)
That's absolutely beautiful. It warms me to think of coaches describing the power and grace of run blocking, as they did in the Lombardi days, when they spoke of "coming off the ball as one" and "getting under your man." That kind of talk is gone and it saddens me. The blocking sled is gone and, so with it, something as basic to the art of blocking as leg drive. Line play in today's game is almost solely about size. Get out in front of the ball and lead the runner downfield has been replaced by wall up and slide. Nobody talks anymore about moving the line of scrimmage. Nobody can convert short yardage regularly because nobody can drive block, despite being allowed to use their hands to move their man. I love reading Cliff's Lombardi quotes and stories when they pertain specifically to technical football and the evaluation of personnel. Lombardi was a football genius. I don't think he gets enough credit for his technical expertise. Cliff brings Lombardi and the Lombardi era to life better than any writer in Packers literary history.