Here are my Week 17 power rankings:
1. Eagles – Is Nick Foles Jeff Hostetler reincarnate?
2. Patriots – Al Riveron team MVP.
3. Rams – Jeff Fisher left them in good stead.
4. Steelers – Haden's return helps.
5. Saints – NFC South title on the line.
6. Panthers – Newton vs. Ryan.
7. Vikings – Keenum is not "The Man."
8. Jaguars – Clowney was right this past Sunday.
9. Chiefs – Getting hot at the right time.
10. Falcons – Clinging to life.
11. Ravens – Still don't have that Ravens look.
12. Bills – Riveron victim in New England.
13. Chargers – Loss in Jax is the killer.
14. Seahawks – Might squeak in.
15. Titans – Big questions about Mariota.
16. Lions – Choked at crunch time again.
17. Cowboys – Greatly underachieved.
18. 49ers – Making a statement for next year.
19. Dolphins – Never really threatened in 2017.
20. Packers – Shut out twice at home.
21. Cardinals – Fitzgerald era winding down?
22. Bengals – Will they play hard against Ravens?
23. Raiders – Most disappointing team in AFC.
24. Jets – Enough grit left to upset Patriots?
25. Redskins – Decisions upcoming.
26. Broncos – Little on which to build.
27. Bears – Next year could be their year.
28. Bucs – Winston is out of control.
29. Texans – Going through the motions.
30. Colts – Pagano didn't have a chance.
31. Giants – Blow it up.
32. Browns – What if the season was 32 games long?
Mike from Somerset, WI
Vic, at least we don't have to cut and gut. We still have a healthy cap.
The Packers have a healthy cap and the nucleus of what I consider to be support talent. By that I mean players who only need a star player to be added here and there to dramatically raise the overall performance. For example, a star pass rusher would make the secondary a significantly better unit. Find a star and add depth. In my opinion, that should be the goal in the next draft.
Corey from Las Vegas, NV
Do you think the Patriots should have kept Jimmy Garoppolo?
This is becoming an intriguing story. Is Garoppolo the real thing? That's the question that has to be answered and it's an intriguing question as it applies to two teams. For the 49ers to answer that question, they're going to have to make a major financial and salary cap commitment to Garoppolo. If the answer to the question is no, the 49ers will have suffered a major setback that could even result in change at the top. If the answer is yes, the 49ers will be set for the future and the Patriots could find themselves bemoaning theirs. Never trade "The Man," especially when your man is nearly 40 years old. Bill Belichick doesn't need to be told that, and that's why I'm still skeptical of Garoppolo. I'm not buying there was no way to get a deal done; there's always a way.
Hans from Manassas, VA
What current NFL team do you think exhibits the model the Packers should follow to try to regain and maintain their recent level of success? Or do they just need some good luck?
The Packers are the model. They just need to move up in the draft to where the talent is. The hit percentage is significantly higher when you move up.
Connor from Greenville, SC
It’s Gronkowski, not Brady.
Then it would also have to be Troy Brown, not Brady. David Givens, not Brady. Deion Branch, not Brady. Randy Moss (at the end of his career), not Brady. Reche Caldwell, not Brady. Wes Welker, not Brady. And a whole lot more, not Bradys. Connor, if Belichick had to pick between Brady and Gronkowski, he'd pick Brady. That's why there's been a revolving door of receivers in New England. It's Brady.
Dallas from St. Ignace, NB
I'm old enough to remember the win over the Cowboys in the Ice Bowl. I understand the disappointment we feel at missing the playoffs, but not the rage, anger and desire to make someone pay so evident among so many fans. I understand how a person could lose perspective in a real crisis (death of a loved one, serious illness, etc.), but this is football and, come what may, everyone gets another kick at the cat next year. Why do fans blow a gasket over what, in the final analysis, is only a game?
I worry about the fans. This has become too important. They've lost their sense of balance. What happened to the Packers this season is easily explained and nearly unavoidable. It was just a matter of when Aaron Rodgers would get hurt.
Jason from Menomonee Falls, WI
On a positive note, you’ve got to feel good about our defensive line group. Can you build a defensive identity around that?
In a 4-3, yeah: Fearsome Foursome, Purple People Eaters, Steel Curtain. In a 3-4, no. Three-man fronts are two-gappers. They eat blocks and hold the point of attack instead of rushing the passer. In a 3-4, the linebackers are the identity. Blitzburgh is an example. The Packers need more impactful linebackers, if the team is going to continue to play a 3-4.
Beaux from Los Angeles, CA
Vic, I remember you writing many years ago that Keenan McCardell was going to make a great coach. Don’t look now but the Jaguars just keep plugging in new bodies at wide receiver, and they’ve all been producing. What was it that made you realize Keenan would become such a good NFL coach, and are there any other former players you’ve covered who we should keep an eye on?
Keenan can't live without football. It's his life. I easily saw that in him and that's how I knew he would be a good coach. It's what you do when you can't live without it. Keenan was always available for an interview. When players are that accessible, it means they want to talk about football. I wish there were more players like that. I was at the Hall of Fame to cover an induction ceremony a few years ago -- I think it was Dave Robinson's. In a terribly crowded room, I heard someone call out to me. I looked around but couldn't see who was doing it. I heard it again, and then I saw Keenan. He had a big smile on his face and we embraced. I love the old guys.
Vincent from Seattle, WA
What did you think of Gene Steratore pulling out a piece of paper to litmus test a first down? It was one of the most unique moments I ever saw in a NFL game.
I thought it was fine. I thought it was an example of a common sense ruling and we need more of it. I think Steratore is the best referee in the game. I think he should replace Al "Replay" Riveron as the review boss.
Josh from Tucson, AZ
"You find football players where you find football players," and "wide receivers are a dime a dozen." Two quotes that have never been more accurate than after watching the Jags' two undrafted WRs and a fourth-round pick light up the Texans.
You don't draft the school, you draft the player, and get the big guys early.
Morgan from Kaukauna, WI
Who are some junkyard dogs at LB coming out of college? We need a guy who likes to smack a QB when he runs the option.
Jason Cabinda of Penn State.
Brady from Milwaukee, WI
You’ve mentioned in the past receivers are a dime a dozen, but do you see any exceptions who are truly special players?
Antonio Brown is special, but he was the 195th pick of his draft. What does that say?
Bill from Forest Park, OH
Vic, regarding the many (seemingly ever-increasing) complaints over replay review, I'd like to see the system changed to having to review the play utilizing only game-speed video; no more super slo-mo, freeze-frame, high-def technological enhancements. If you can't definitively overturn a call on this basis, then the call stands.
On game day, I'd like to see Al Riveron locked in a room without a TV. What he did to the Bills might be the worst example of replay officiating I've ever seen. As Mike Pereira said, the officials on the field made a great call, and then Riveron canceled it. He took the heart out of the Bills. He needs to go.
Amanda from Villa Rica, GA
What are your predictions for the upcoming College Football Playoffs?
Alabama over Oklahoma in the title game.
Eric from Washington
There isn't a single team in the league that doesn't buy into the draft and develop philosophy. Hard headedness is what leads a team to have a guy like Kyler Fackrell still on the squad. "No one beats the inverse order of the draft," yet, Bill Belichick and the Patriots have secured themselves another first-round bye even while having lost a first-round pick due to infractions. "It's players, not plays." I think Sean McVay and Rams nation might disagree.
That team was built on high picks. It was success waiting to happen. McVay just came along at the right time. Noll, Walsh and Johnson weren't as fortunate. They were a collective 4-42 in their first season as coach. They had to build their teams and, most importantly, beat the fire buzzer. Jeff Fisher didn't beat the buzzer.
Randy from Medicine Hat, AB
You have stated how difficult it is for a college player, even a really talented one, to transition to the NFL. Is it the same for a coach moving up from the college ranks?
It was for Lou Holtz. He didn't even know how the waiver process worked.
Robert from Roscoe, IL
Vic, looking to next season, which direction is the Packers' arrow pointing?
It's pointing down right now. If they draft well, it'll immediately turn upward. You are what you draft.
Brooks from Oklahoma City, OK
Vic, Is the main difference between the 2014 roster and the 2017 roster a healthy Aaron Rodgers and Julius Peppers?
Three years is a long time in the NFL. You're talking about three more years at the bottom of the draft order, and three more years the Vikings were closer to the top of it. It's the old saying: If you're not getting better you're getting worse because your competition is getting better. Three years ago Eddie Lacy was a star and teams were playing single-high safety to get that eighth defender down in the box to stop him, which helped open the passing lanes for Rodgers and Jordy Nelson, who wasn't coming off an ACL injury. Three years ago, the Packers had Casey Hayward and Micah Hyde on their roster; they hadn't lost those two players and T.J. Lang to free agency. When you win, you draft lower and your players' successes cost you more, which forces you to let them leave in free agency. The inevitability of the system can only be defeated by "The Man," which Rodgers had done until he was injured this season. I don't know why so many fans are struggling to understand what happened. Time and winning happened.
Bill from Menominee, WI
"When performance is not the equal of the talent available to the coach, it's time to find a new coach." I always defended Dom Capers, saying he would be hired immediately elsewhere if he were let go because he was too good to go unemployed at the NFL level. But after looking at players like Walden, Hyde, Hayward and Williams being released to become difference-makers elsewhere after being average or slightly above in Green Bay, it's getting harder to defend Capers with such a disconnect between drafted talent and scheme. It just seems like the same deficiencies are exposed year after year.
Forgive me, Bill, but you have lit a fuse in me. Casey Hayward was the Packers' rookie of the year in 2012 with six interceptions and 21 passes defensed. A crippling hamstring injury limited him to only three games played in '13 and then dogged him through his final two seasons with the Packers. That's Coach Capers' fault? Micah Hyde was an ultra-productive player for the Packers. He intercepted eight passes and defensed 22 passes as a part-time starter in his final three years in Green Bay. The Packers allowed him to leave in free agency because they had drafted HaHa and Randall in the first round and Rollins in the second round in consecutive drafts and couldn't find a place to play Hyde that would justify the money they'd have to pay him. That's Coach Capers' fault? Tramon Williams came to the Packers after being cut by the Texans and he became a fixture at cornerback in Green Bay. I don't recall him becoming a difference-maker in Cleveland or Arizona, but who would forget what he did for the Packers in the 2010 season? He was allowed to leave in free agency because the Packers needed to get younger in the secondary. That's Coach Capers' fault? Erik Walden came to the Packers after being cut by the Cowboys, Chiefs and Dolphins. An off-the-field event did much to seal Walden's fate in Green Bay. That's Coach Capers' fault? How about Datone Jones, Jerrell Worthy, Josh Boyd, Khyri Thornton and Christian Ringo? Have any of them become difference-makers somewhere else? I think you all might get your cup of blood this year, because I don't know how Mike McCarthy can withstand another year of the howl, but this problem is not Coach Capers' fault.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, Green Bay is my team; I'm a one-team fan. The rest of the season will be spent cheering against certain teams. Do you have any wisdom, advice or perspective to share?
Love the Packers, hate everybody else? I don't like that. It's kind of nuts.
Brian from Yakima, WA
Vic, how much did the weather affect the game?
The cold and slick field conditions slowed the game down, which means it wasn't good for evaluation. The next game will be better. I want to see who can and can't run.
Connor from Greenville, SC
Vic, the Patriots are sixth in scoring defense; 22 teams would have a positive point differential with the Patriots defense. Does Belichick deserve some credit for annually stumping offenses in the red zone?
I think you also have to give some credit this year to Al Riveron.
Justin from Titonka, IA
I think Rodgers would have picked apart the Vikings defense easily. This team shouldn't draft a quarterback in the first round, it should get Rodgers a playmaker. How many games do you really think Green Bay would have lost with Rodgers?
Aaron Rodgers' greatness has turned you and a lot of other Packers fans into co-dependents. Rodgers has become the solution to all problems. In my opinion, that's an attitude that needs to be changed, and that's what I mean by being new.
Matt from Chicago, IL
I think I get what you’re saying, Vic. Hopefully, the Packers won’t be picking this high again until the post-Rodgers years. So, with the talent available, you can’t pass on the man. Do you or Tony think the next Rodgers is in this draft?
You can't predict that kind of thing. You just pick. How many Packers fans who booed the selection of Rodgers thought he would be the defining player he is?
Jason from Menomonee Falls, WI
Doesn’t being new extend to the coordinator?
We'll soon have an answer to that question.
Mike from North Hudson, WI
Vic, I have been a big fan of yours for years. I'm watching the first half of the Packers and Vikings and I simply cannot take it anymore. I know you have great respect for coach McCarthy, but as an avid Packers fan for 60 years, the play-calling, coaching and player talent and execution has been horrendous. The buck needs to stop somewhere. It's time for Ted Thompson to retire; too many high level draft picks are busts! The quarterback decision-making and execution has been unacceptable. I hope I'm not banned, Vic, but the performance of the Packers GM, coaching staff and players has totally been unacceptable. Can you sense I'm frustrated.
I can also sense your expectations are unrealistic. There was no reason to approach last night's game with a positive feeling or with any kind of demands on the Packers other than for effort. We have officially crossed into hard times. For your sake, Mike, adjust your expectations accordingly.
Eric from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
Vic, you are a peasant.
Because I wear khakis?
Mike from Niagara Falls, Canada
Ever stop to think Bortles could, in fact, be "The Man" in Jacksonville? Remember, Bradshaw wasn't all that special his first few years, either.
If Blake Bortles catches fire in the postseason, he'll be "The Man." Yes, it can happen, but you're comparing him to a guy who won four Super Bowls and two Super Bowl MVPs. I covered John Elway's first game. He was so bad he was benched at halftime. He eventually lost his starting job to Steve DeBerg. It was that way back then because quarterback was a much more difficult position to play.
William from Savannah, GA
Vic, should we now have an IRgate to go along with Spygate and Deflategate? If I read the rules correctly, Aaron Rodgers should no longer be a Green Bay Packer because you are not allowed to place a player on IR twice for the same injury or single occurrence. Is it possible Packers brass has done the unimaginable and made an asterisk of themselves?
The league won't do anything.
Oscar from Santa Ana, CA
Vic, do you still read every question in your inbox?
John from Kirkland, WA
Your insights on the draft order are great and it seems some don't get it. For reference, on Dec. 23 the Seattle Times had a big article on how the Seahawks' drafts since 2013 have been unspectacular at best and, thus, the team of destiny is faltering. This started when they started drafting at the back of pack.
From 1969-74, the Steelers drafted nine Hall of Famers (Joe Greene, Terry Bradshaw, Mel Blount, Jack Ham, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth, Mike Webster). After they won their first Super Bowl, they didn't draft another Hall of Famer until 1987 (Rod Woodson).
Leonardo from Milwaukee, WI
Congratulations, Vic. This is the Packers team you deserve. For years, I have seen you make excuses about our defense and staff in general. During all these years you protected Dom Capers, Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson, and some people believed in you. This is what fans get. This coaching staff is as big a shame as you. I really hope we get out of this mess and find a better coaching staff because a better journalist for packers.com we already got.
Dan from Golden, CO
Vic, I'm glad I stumbled upon this blog; I was starting to get separation anxiety. I know it's still very early, but who are some pass rushers that caught your eye this year in college?
The Chubb guy at North Carolina State is the best hand-on-the-ground rusher I saw. The 3-4 types are everywhere.
William from St. Augustine, FL
Your new blog has been a gift, but my favorite gift from you is: “An open mind is the gateway to peace, and tolerance is its steady companion.” My high school students hear that one quite a few times a year. I wish you could see and hear their reaction. Best to you and yours.
Peace on Earth has never been more meaningful than it is this Christmas season. In the year 2017, anger, hate and the threat of nuclear war define us. Please, everybody, seek peace. I love you all. Merry Christmas.
Surprise! Here's a bonus "Ask Vic" I hope will help get the word out this week's postgame column will appear on Sunday, not Monday. Enjoy!
Matt from Chicago, IL
Do you think the Packers can acquire enough talent needed for the remaining Rodgers years through this draft with the unexpectedly high pick?
Yes, I do, but I think that's the wrong attitude to take. You're trying to turn back the clock. I think it's time to be new.
Roger from Auburn, CA
Vic, I'm going to challenge your answer about the Packers' lack of talent being all about draft position. The Steelers have eight Pro-Bowlers and draft near the Packers every year. The Packers have no Pro-Bowlers and got out-picked again when the Steelers picked T.J. Watt after the Packers had a chance to pick him. Time for a new GM?
Let's get the facts straight. The Steelers missed the postseason twice (2012, '13) during the Packers' eight-year run. In the '13 draft, the Steelers selected Le'Veon Bell and Vince Williams, and in the '14 draft they picked Ryan Shazier, Stephon Tuitt and Martavis Bryant. That's a pretty good haul of talent, and I think it's directly attributable to moving up in the order. If you want to use an example of drafting better than your position should've allowed, use the last two drafts. Artie Burns, Sean Davis and Javon Hargrave in '16, and T.J. Watt and JuJu Smith-Schuster in '17 are better players than I would expect of drafts that began with the 25th and 30th overall picks. Time for a new GM? I think it's time for patience. It worked for the Steelers when they missed the playoffs two years in a row.
Pete from Rescue, CA
Once you have "The Man," who is next most important for a team to contend in todays NFL? Stud pass rusher, stud left tackle, stud running back or shut down corner?
Blindside pass protectors are important, but you can chip with a back or tight end to give a guy help. A dependable and durable running back is important, but you can find that guy later in the draft. A star cornerback can cut the field in half, but you can play zone and get by. A star pass rusher is irreplaceable. He can make all the difference.
Cheryl from Chicago, IL
It seems every year the Packers defense in their season opener looks really strong and then they fall apart the rest of the season. What is their weakest defensive position and should they concentrate on defense in the draft?
Scheme wins early in the season, players win late. The Packers need an impact player, a star, on defense. Such a player could change everything for that defense. I think they've got support-type players. What they don't have is a star. They'll have a better chance of finding that type of player where they'll be drafting. I don't think, however, they should focus on defense. They also have needs on offense, and I think the need for a developmental quarterback is one of them. If such a player falls to them in the first round, I advocate drafting him. Take care of the future and the future will take care of the present. The Packers did that once before and it propelled them through eight playoff seasons.
Ian from Texas
Players, not plays, but there has been a considerable deterioration in Atlanta's offense since Shanahan left, yet, they have more or less the same players.
Julio Jones hasn't been the same; his ankle injury has dogged him nearly all season. Be that as it may, there was a considerable deterioration in Atlanta's offense in the fourth quarter of last season's Super Bowl. Who gets the blame for that?
Paul from Chicago, IL
Can the Packers rebuild a contending team before Rodgers retires?
Yes, they can but, again, I believe that's the wrong attitude to take. If your goal is to rebuild a contending team before Rodgers retires, you might pass on the next Rodgers. Patience is the key.
Steve from Wauwatosa, WI
Vic, fantastic to be reading you again! I am at a complete loss as to why the owners rehired Roger Godell. Are they blind? Don't they see the once mighty game of professional football in increasing decline? Unclear rules, bad officiating, inconsistent disciplinary action and the unforgivable sin of allowing politics to infect and fester in the game I have loved my entire life. Can you make any sense of it?
The NFL needs a commissioner who is first and foremost a football man, not an attorney, politician or marketing person. Under Tagliabue and Goodell, the league has lost its soul. It's an outrage coaches have to count the number of padded practices they can prescribe for their team. That wasn't about player safety, that was about getting a new CBA.
Karl from Albuquerque, NM
Vic, we're one week from Black Monday, when who knows how many coaches will be fired. I get the impression you think most firings are unwarranted and the result of the howling of the wolves. In any event, what criteria would you use to determine if a coach should be let go? How important do you think the coach is in the success of the team?
Coaches are critical to the success of their teams, just as player talent is. One makes the other better. The process of evaluating a coach begins with evaluating the talent available to him. When performance is not the equal of the talent available to the coach, it's time to find a new coach.
Sean-Luc from Oceanside, CA
Vic, you argue the Packers were "due" for a poor season because of drafting late. What do the Patriots do differently that gives them an edge every year despite drafting at the bottom for even longer than the Packers? I get that Brady is "the guy," but even he can't provide the top 10 defenses the Patriots have benefited from in several of those years.
The Patriots defense is No. 29. Their rush offense is No. 16, which is probably that high only because their pass offense is No. 1. It's Brady. It's not Belichick, Gronkowski, Guerrero, the Patriots' way or anything else -- cheating has helped, however -- other than Brady. He's the greatest quarterback who's ever lived. If Johnny Unitas was alive, he'd confirm Brady's place at the top. By the way, if you see Dick, tell him I said hello.
Brian from Columbia, MD
Thanks and Merry Christmas. Your stuff is better than ever. Now that you're in the balmy south, you can apparently take off your gloves.
In more ways than one, huh?
Pat from Seneca, SC
Thanks for trying to educate Packers fans about the leveling effect of the inverse draft order, the challenges of managing the salary cap and avoiding dead money, and the impact of pursuing free agency on the loss of compensatory picks and the inability to retain home-grown players. Although most fans still don’t understand any of this, I believe you’ve provided a much broader perspective for some of us. Thank you!
Here's a Mike Ryan sports medicine video.
Here are my Week 16 power rankings:
1. Eagles – Foles passes first test.
2. Patriots – Got lucky.
3. Rams – On the move up.
4. Panthers – Newton made the big plays.
5. Jaguars – New power in the AFC?
6. Steelers – Defense has become a problem.
7. Saints – Bulky looking against Jets.
8. Vikings – Best overall rankings in the league.
9. Falcons – Big one in New Orleans this week.
10. Ravens – Hanging around.
11. Bills – Have to win at New England.
12. Chiefs – Might be getting their second wind.
13. Lions – Still alive.
14. Chargers – Disappointing in Kansas City.
15. Cowboys – Likely lost season.
16. Seahawks – Where’s the beef?
17. Dolphins – Signature win but nothing else.
18. Packers – Nearing time for evaluation.
19. 49ers – Chance to score signature win against Jaguars.
20. Cardinals – One player would make the difference.
21. Titans – Fading fast.
22. Raiders – More was expected.
23, Jets – Should be high enough to draft “The Man.”
24. Redskins – Effort lacking.
25. Broncos – This is going to take time.
26. Bengals – Have they quit?
27. Bears – Could be a surprise team next year.
28. Bucs – Talent needs to be tamed.
29. Texans – Watson’s injury was the turning point.
30. Colts – Change begins with decision on Luck.
31. Giants – Reinstating Manning solved nothing.
32. Browns – It’s all about their picks.
Dan from Houston, TX
I’m getting the vibe the Seattle, Denver and now Minnesota defenses are the exception and not the rule. What does a team need out of their defense to be successful in today’s NFL?
If you can rush the passer, you can do enough on defense to win with offense. You can stop the run with scheme or tough guys, and you can get by with zone pass coverage, but pass rushers are special and they're difficult to find, pay and keep. That's why they're over-drafted. You must have the ability to affect the quarterback.
Bill from Sheboygan, WI
What are your thoughts on the catch rule?
The catch rule, in my opinion, is one of the worst creations in NFL history and the frustration that's accompanying these types of shocking reversals might be costing the NFL customers. My inbox is full of people proclaiming, "I'm done; I'm not watching anymore,” and they’re not sour-grapes Steelers fans because this site is overwhelmingly populated by Packers and Jaguars fans. The catch rule is causing a bad kind of controversy because it’s creating angst. The fans hear over and over phrases such as break the plane, two feet down, possession and control, make a football move, the ground can’t cause a fumble, etc., and then they see Jesse James satisfy every one of those phrases, but that’s not good enough because he “didn’t survive the ground." The call was by the book; replay review worked, except the rule is insane. No person in his right mind would look at that play and say James didn’t catch the ball. It’s an insult to our intelligence it was ruled not a catch. If I was making a presentation to the league on this subject, I would tell them to stop giving the fans joy and then taking it back. That’s not good for business. My message to you, the fan, is don’t let them do it to you. If it bothers you, turn it off and go on with your life. It hurts me deeply to see fans suffer from the idiotic twists and turns of a game meant to provide entertainment.
Mike from Niagara Falls, Canada
I was watching Chuck Noll's episode of "A Football Life,” and Noll's biographer commented on how his best coaching job might have been in 1989. Do you agree with that assessment?
The Steelers began the '89 season with two losses by a combined score of 92-10, and they rallied to come within a dropped pass of the AFC title game. Yes, it was a good coaching job, but I think 1978 was Chuck’s best year. He saw rust beginning to form on his “Steel Curtain” and he shifted from run the ball and play defense to let it rip on offense. Chuck was the first to identify the impact of that year’s rules changes. In so doing, he proved his ability to adapt.
Kris from Rockledge, FL
Vic, I did a quick search on you to see how/what you were doing and found you still doing “Ask Vic.” Good to see you keep doing what you love, even in retirement. I remember looking forward to your columns growing up; your insight and knowledge enhanced my overall football experience tremendously. I used to get a real kick out of your Jaguars Thursday rants with the callers. What team do you think would provide the biggest challenge to the Jaguars in the postseason?
Whoa! The Jaguars have come a long way, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Yes, the Jaguars are a physically dominant team, but they’ll likely be overmatched at quarterback in most playoff games, and that’s a problem. The underdog role has gotten them to where they are. Don’t stop playing it.
Brian from Washington
I realize every player/team situation is inherently different, but the success of Micah Hyde and Casey Hayward elsewhere would point to the defense’s problem being plays/coaching rather than players, doesn’t it?
No, it doesn’t. First of all, Hyde and Hayward were productive players in Green Bay. If you watched Saturday night’s game, you saw Hayward get beaten deep in man coverage for a touchdown. That's the reason he was allowed to leave in free agency. The knock on Hyde and Hayward was they lacked speed. I think they’re good players, but you don’t pay big bucks for slow. Brian, you’re looking for a way to fix what’s wrong with one move and, yeah, it’s a lot easier to fire the coach than it is to replace the players. Fire the coach and the team wins, right? It’s not that simple. When do you fire a defensive coordinator? When his defense is continually suffering from matchup problems that are the result of formation and personnel mistakes. I see no such problems. There’s nothing wrong with the Packers’ plays.
Elten from Pleasant Lake, IN
I see websites listing offensive line and wide receiver as the Packers’ biggest needs for next year. Would you put pass rusher ahead of those?
Yes, I would because I think linebacker is the Packers’ greatest need. If you’re going to run a 3-4, the linebackers have to be the stars of the show.
Justin from Titonka, IA
If the players are the problem, then isn't the solution to change the staff that picked those players?
OK, let’s do this one more time. The Packers’ problem is they’ve won too many games, which has caused them to draft near the bottom of the order for too long. I say it over and over but fans don’t want to believe it because it means accepting the inevitability of decline. Were the Panthers the more talented team last Sunday? How about this Saturday’s game against the Vikings? The Lions game? In how many games this year can you honestly say the Packers were the more talented team? It's going to take time to repair what time has caused.
Sam from Jacksonville, FL
Three keys for a Jaguars run in the playoffs?
Run the ball, rush the passer, remain humble.
Patrick from Raleigh, NC
What are your thoughts on Bortles long term?
The remainder of this season will determine his future with the Jaguars.
Patrick from Texas
Vic, is it time to move on from some of our veterans that are getting huge money and not getting it done?
It’s time to be new. Hey, the run is over.
Stephen from Jacksonville, FL
Is the success of the 2017 Jaguars sustainable? Can they become a yearly contender similar to how Pittsburgh and New England have been for the past 15 years?
Yeah, if they find “The Man.” That’s how Pittsburgh and New England have done it.
Matt from Verona, WI
You've done fans a service over the years by teaching us to not let hopes become expectations. Nonetheless, there is so much data available now that expectations seem inevitable. How should fans calibrate their expectations so as to not destroy their enjoyment of the game?
View the game as a GM or sportswriter would. Be objective. I think this is a good week to do that because the Vikings are the new power team in the NFC North. They’re the team to beat. They're the team against whom the other teams in the NFC North must measure themselves. So, as you watch the game, ask yourself, what’s it going to take to beat the Vikings in the near future? If you're honest with yourself, you'll come away with a good feel for where the Packers are and what they need to do, and that's how you create reasonable expectations.
Steve from Racine, WI
Where do we go from here? Is the process not working? Is the personnel not capable of doing what the process is demanding? Is the process not being articulated to the players in a way they understand?
Where to from here? To the draft. To the acquisition of talent. The Packers are going to be drafting higher than anyone expected. It’s not what they want but it’s what they need. The Vikings are going to the bottom of the order. The Packers will be drafting significantly higher than the Vikings, for a change. That's the process.
Conrad from Oklahoma
I never played football. If I had, though, I think I would have liked to play fullback. It seems like a lunch pail and hard hat position. Has there ever been a dominant fullback?
Jim Brown was a fullback. So were Jim Taylor, Franco Harris and Larry Csonka. Find out why. It’ll teach you something about plays.
Jerry from Kansas City, MO
Have you noticed the recent downturn in passing yards and touchdowns? Of the top 10 in passing yards, the only QB under the age of 29 is Jared Goff. Has the era of the 5,000-yard passer passed us by?
As I mentioned, the league will be facing a daunting challenge in the near future, when it'll have to replace Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers in a short span of time. We are in a golden age of quarterbacks.
John from Apple River, IL
Why do you think McCarthy didn't run the ball more with a rusty QB coming back from injury?
Considering the Packers trailed nearly the whole game, I don’t have a problem with the run-pass balance, which got way out of whack in the fourth quarter when the Packers were up against the clock. Frankly, I don’t think the Packers thought they could run as effectively as they did against the league’s No. 3 rush defense, so that probably also contributed to the imbalance.
Brad from Hurley, WI
Vic, I stepped outside after the game ended and the howl of the wolves was deafening. I’ve never been in the fire everyone crowd, but after the defensive performance in this game, I have to believe the writing is on the wall for Dom Capers. What is your take?
It’s my experience coaches are fired for the failure of their teams or units, resulting in an immediate it’s-fixed feeling among fans, but soon after it becomes evident the players are and were the problem.
Steve from Scranton, PA
The original intent of instant replay was to reverse egregious errors, but it instead has taken the spontaneity out of the game. Previously officiated by human beings simply trying their best, the NFL is now being overseen and legislated by an off-site administrator via HDTV. When calls on the field by officials in proper position that appear correct to the naked eye are continually reversed, the integrity of the sport is further eroded. Do you think subtracting TV cameras and limiting the scope of plays that could be challenged could actually have a beneficial effect on the game?
Replay review is here to stay. The video generation loves it, has to have it, and the league loves the controversy it creates. Today’s “Ask Vic” numbers are through the roof and “the play” is one of the big reasons. I can’t help but think back to the 1963 Army-Navy game, my all-time favorite Army-Navy game. I was a kid in love with college football, and this was the year the bowl invitations were a mess because the Kennedy assassination forced postponement of the big rivalry games. It was a huge controversy, but little did we know the greatest controversy maker in football history was being born the day of the 1963 Army-Navy game. That’s the day and the game when instant replay was first used by TV. I am blessed to have witnessed the football history I have.
Tyler from Boston, MA
Vic, it's time for you and the rest of Steeler nation to accept this fact: You are and always have been the Patriots' lap dog. We own you so badly you might as well be building a pyramid for us. It's no coincidence that all eight of your Super Bowl seasons just happened to be years when you didn't face New England in the playoffs. We own you, and come playoff time, you will once again bow down to your Patriots overlords as we match your number of Super Bowl rings (and you only have six because Jackie Smith can't catch and the refs hated the Seahawks). But it's ok, you can rock back and forth in your chair saying "Ben throws the best deep ball I've ever seen," if that helps you sleep at night. Have a nice day, Vic.
Dale from Phoenix, AZ
Not even a Steelers fan but after watching that game-winning TD get overturned, (the NFL) lost a life-long fan. I will not watch another game. But I would like to see if you can defend McCarthy only giving Aaron Jones three carries and throwing it 45 times with a QB coming back from seven weeks off with a broken collarbone. Stupid is as stupid does.
Allow me to help ease your pain. As for “the play,” there’s a lot of season left to play. It wasn’t the Super Bowl. Imagine if it was! As for the Packers game, we witnessed a valiant effort. Let that be your lasting memory of that game and this season. I don’t think this team has what it takes to have made a run, even with a healthy Aaron Rodgers. The Panthers went after Josh Hawkins and a guy named Whitehead. I didn’t even know he was on the team. Soon it’ll be the offseason and help will be on the way.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, Thomas Davis delivered a helmet-to-helmet hit on Davante Adams, resulting in a concussion for Adams. Davis has six previous fines for illegal hits. What action should the league take against him this time?
Pit of misery?
Aaron from White Hall, AR
Vic, you and I go way back, all the way back to the 2005 draft when I was a 14-year-old kid and I discovered your column, and I've read you ever since. After the Jaguars clinched a spot on Sunday, I thought of you so I Googled your name, not realizing you had started this column. I'm so glad to have you back and I'm sorry I'm late to the party. So how do you feel about the Jaguars?
I think they can go all the way.
John from Cottage Grove, WI
I hate when the Packers lose, and I feel like this may be the end of an era. It's hard to deal with.
It’s time to be new.
Tim from Lancaster, PA
When will the NFL realize reaching the ball out towards the end zone after securing it demonstrates possession of a catch? To have home field turn on a play like that is ridiculous.
The rules are the rules.
Roger from Auburn, CA
If you were GM for the Packers, would you shut down Aaron Rodgers, since the Packers are out of the playoffs?
I think that’s Mike McCarthy’s call but, yes, I would play Brett Hundley in the final two games. I want to see him in a full-throttle offense for the purpose of evaluating his progress and potential. I think it’ll help the Packers make decisions at that position in next year’s draft. It could also showcase Hundley for trade purposes.
Mike from Waukesha, WI
Vic, glad you’re back. You’ve really helped my perspective with sports and football and I’ve tried to pass that along to my sons. As for the Packers, would it be better to use their picks in the draft to stay where they are or do they need to move up, possibly several times in the upcoming draft, to have a shot at more elite players? I know you’ll say value, value, value, but maybe Ted needs to take a risk to avoid squandering the end of Rodgers’ career.
I think they’ll be high enough to get done what they need to get done.
Craig from Weare, NH
Vic, I just watched both the Packers and the Steelers games. So what’s a catch?
Geronimo Allison catches the ball and then fumbles it as he’s going to the ground. Jesse James catches the ball and then bobbles it as he’s going to the ground after he reaches it across the goal line. One is a catch, the other isn’t. Falls down a well, eyes go cross. Gets kicked by a mule, they go back. I don't know.
Grant from West Allis, WI
Vic, did it all die that day in Seattle in January of 2015? It feels like that's when this era died. It still hurts and I don’t see it coming back.
Nothing physically changed on that day. It was something more difficult to define that died in those final four minutes of the most painful defeat I’ve ever covered. I believe a big chunk of winsome died on that day. Since then, the questions and comments I’ve received from fans have been more mean-spirited and self-loathing. Packers fans are quicker to quit on the season following a loss. I get it: They don’t want to get hurt again. It’s a natural reaction. On the plane ride back to Green Bay and after I finished writing my stories, I thought to myself what am I going to tell these poor fans? I couldn’t imagine their suffering. The 2014 Packers would’ve won it all; I have no doubt. I feel the same about that team as I do about the 1976 Steelers, which might be the best team I’ve ever covered; they scored five shutouts and allowed just 28 points in the final nine games, but lost in the AFC title game when Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier were lost to injury in the previous playoff game. Hurt happens in football. You sign up for it when you become a fan, but nobody deserves what happened to Packers fans in Seattle in the 2014 AFC title game. It’s the kind of loss that can change a person. In some ways, it’s changed me.
David from Ashland, WI
Vic, what do you think about the NFL's product this season? It seems to me it's not as exciting as years past, and I lay the blame (in part) on the defensive rules points of emphasis over the past couple of years. If I remember correctly, you predicted it would back defensive backs off the line of scrimmage and result in lots of dink and dunk. The result is neither great defense nor exciting offense.
I hate dink and dunk, but if you’re a fan of the Packers, Jaguars and Steelers, you have witnessed some of the most exciting football in your lifetime. I think it’s proof the game is too big to fail.
Pat from Altoona, WI
Vic, would you come out of retirement for the chance to cover the Patriots if they approached you?
And cover Bill Belichick and his boring press conferences? I’d rather cover a toilet seat.
Thomas from Williamsburg, VA
The inverse draft order sure hasn’t hurt the Patriots.
They have Tom Brady.
Braden from Waukesha, WI
Vic, when I come to your website I notice one thing: There are no ads, no videos that start playing right away, no pop ups that take over my screen. It's simply your readers and you. Thank you.
This site is my gift to the people who gave me so much for so long. Finally, it’s not about the money.
Mike from Niagara Falls, Canada
Vic, I'm torn. On one hand I want my Packers to be the bigger men, don't waste time or energy on revenge, and just win the game against Minnesota. But on the other hand, nothing would satisfy me more than to see Anthony Barr carted off the field at Lambeau with a career-ending injury. Am I sick? Am I a bad person for wishing bodily harm on someone, even if it's out of revenge? Or is this truly a game for madmen?
Anthony Barr did nothing wrong. You’re just unable to deal with your disappointment, and that’s because you’ve lost perspective.
Craig from New Zealand
Could you please explain the origins of the Terrible Towel?
The Towel is the invention of Myron Cope. He was a friend and I miss him. Myron was the Steelers’ radio color man and he also authored an immensely popular nightly radio show. His station was the Steelers’ flagship and prior to the 1975 playoffs the station manager instructed Myron to create a gimmick the station could promote. Myron said, “I’m not a gimmick guy.” I think he said the station manager laughed. Well, Myron decided he would encourage fans to bring a towel to the game; that would be his gimmick. The station manager asked, “Why a towel?” “Because it’s the fabric of Pittsburgh,” Cope said, thinking the towel gimmick would be regarded as so ridiculous the station manager would tell Myron to leave the office, freeing Myron from the whole thing. Instead, the station manager said, “I love it.” On the day of the first playoff game, after promoting the Towel all week on his radio show, Myron was on pins and needles. He’d ask guys coming into the press box, “Did you see any fans carrying towels out there?” I remember saying. “Sorry, Myron, I didn’t.” He figured his idea was a dud and he’d be a laughing stock, but when sight of the first black helmets emerged from the tunnel, Three Rivers Stadium was awash with waving towels. The Towel was born. Myron then took the Towel to more honorable heights. He married it to his favorite charity, the Allegheny Valley School for Exceptional Children, where Myron’s son was a resident. All these years later, the Towel has never been more popular and the Allegheny Valley School has never been more thankful. What a tremendous legacy.
Nathan from New York, NY
Was Aaron Rodgers' arm strength weakened by the plates and screws in his shoulder?
I wouldn’t speculate on something that sophisticated. Here’s an interesting video by Mike Ryan.
Here are my Week 15 power rankings:
1. Eagles – They deserve it, but now what?
2. Steelers – OK, let’s see what you got.
3. Patriots – Yes, coach, they were looking ahead.
4. Panthers – Playing their best football now.
5. Saints – Schedule favors them.
6. Vikings – That wasn’t Zimmerball in Carolina.
7. Rams – Defense down to No. 18.
8. Falcons – Rematch in New Orleans will decide their fate.
9. Jaguars – No. 1 in rushing and against the pass.
10. Seahawks – Big one against visiting Rams.
11. Chargers – Showdown in Kansas City.
12. Ravens – Scored 38 and lost.
13. Bills – McCoy might be the best back in the league.
14. Lions – They’re being overlooked.
15. Cowboys – Need help.
16. Chiefs – If they lose on Saturday, look out.
17. Dolphins – Where was that all season?
18. Packers – With win in Carolina, they’ll move way up.
19. Cardinals – Need “The Man.”
20. Titans – Maybe they don’t have “The Man.”
21. Raiders – Rankings tell the tale.
22. Jets – Bowles deserves more time.
23. Redskins – Gruden running out of time.
24. Bengals – Beat up.
25. 49ers – Impressive run against bad teams.
26. Bears – Fox deserves more time, too.
27. Bucs – Discipline begins at quarterback.
28. Broncos – Headed for offseason reconstruction.
29. Texans – Need to address offensive line.
30. Colts – A lot of narrow losses.
31. Giants – Eli back, but losing continues.
32. Browns – Coach to blame for late-game collapse.
Ben from Hilo, HI
What did we learn about Brett Hundley during his time at the helm?
We learned he’s worthy of development. We learned he’s a quality No. 2 with the potential to be a No. 1. I think we learned he’s a player with trade value. That’s as far as I’ll go with the sample we have.
Brian from Kingston, NY
You've expressed your opinion the Packers should seriously consider drafting a QB high this year. I'm curious what you would do in this scenario: Packers are on the clock. Somehow Lamar Jackson is still available, as are three other players who you consider to have elite potential; a corner, offensive lineman and a pass rusher. Your phone is ringing off the hook with trade offers for Jackson. Do you take him, trade the pick or take another one of those guys?
I believe the Packers have reached the point they shouldn’t take a first-round quarterback off their board because they have Aaron Rodgers. I believe they should pick a quarterback in the first round if he’s at the top of their board. What if they get a trade offer? Well, how high is the pick offered? The draft, in my opinion, is all about value.
Joseph from Dillon, MT
You have mentioned you think the reverse draft order has weakened the Packers' roster. Where do you think it needs the most help?
It’s not that it’s weakened the Packers, it’s that it’s strengthened the competition that’s drafted above the Packers. Le’Veon Bell is the perfect example. The Packers loved him; he was their guy. The Steelers were expected to pick Eddie Lacy; he was the Bettis-like pounder they craved. Right before the draft, however, the Steelers found out Lacy had a fused big toe, and they came off him because they were afraid he would have a short career. Bell became their guy and a somewhat surprise pick by the Steelers. The Packers then traded back and picked Lacy. So, what if the Steelers had picked Lacy and the Packers had picked Bell? Would the Packers have won that game at Heinz Field a few weeks back? If they had, their playoff prospects would be significantly better today. Do you see how one guy picked ahead of you can change everything? That’s what the inverse draft order does, and it’s been that way forever. I can go back to the 1982 draft and a player named Marcus Allen. The Steelers loved him. He was their guy, but the Raiders were making the move to Los Angeles and, being from USC, Allen was the guy who would help root the Raiders in LA. The Raiders picked Allen two picks ahead of the Steelers, who settled for Walter Abercrombie. Need I say more? As for your question, I think the Packers need a young pass rusher. I’m glad Kevin King is the player he appears to be because T.J. Watt was a perfect fit for the Packers.
William from Savannah, GA
Vic, I hope you got a chance to watch the Army-Navy game. I love pro football, but to me this game represents what football is all about better than the Super Bowl.
It’s a wonderful game. I love its discipline and genuineness. It’s a game for football purists. The Super Bowl is a game for people who don’t even know who’s playing in it.
Randy from Medicine Hat, Alberta
I was wishing they would have telecast the Bills/Colts game here; there is something about snow games I love. Is there a better runner in a foot of snow than Shady McCoy?
I think an argument could be made for McCoy being the best back in the league. He doesn’t have a Roethlisberger or Goff as his quarterback; everybody is keying on stopping McCoy. I was close to a GM who loved McCoy as a draft prospect, but he didn’t take him with his second-round pick, as I expected he would. So, after the draft, I said to the GM, “Why didn’t you pick McCoy?” He looked me right in the eyes, put his finger in my chest and said, “He scored 35 touchdowns in two years and everybody knew who was getting the ball.” OK, I said, so why didn’t you pick him? The GM said nothing and then walked away with a disgusted look on his face. Oh, I had to get to the bottom of this, and I did. The GM had sent his running backs coach to Pitt for McCoy’s pro day, at which McCoy tested poorly in the broad jump, which is thought to indicate explosion. The coach returned with a negative report on McCoy. “He has no explosion,” the report said. Wanting to be a consensus builder, the young GM trusted his coach’s instincts instead of his own. Every time I see McCoy stick his foot in the ground and “hear” that bang, I think of the “no explosion” report. McCoy is one of the best one-cut-and-go backs I’ve ever seen. That combine crap can be a killer.
Michael from Salt Lake City, UT
How can someone question the intelligence of Big Ben? Last I saw, Tom Brady has plays written on his arm, as well.
If Brady wears a plays wristband, every quarterback in the league should wear one.
Zachary from Fullerton, CA
So, elite quarterbacks cover up the same problem they create?
Bingo! They are the problem and the solution.
James from San Francisco, CA
In regard to Balint from Hungary's email, I feel sorry for him. He's clearly never played football and could never possibly appreciate the human confrontation this game is built upon. Yes, it’s a violent, nasty game, but that’s what elevates these men from mere mortals to demigods. He can keep his fantasy team and his sanitized view of the game. Give me the guts and glory of the men who put their bodies on the line every week. If the game I grew up loving becomes what Balint wants, then he can keep it. Or he can keep watching soccer.
The more forceful the contact, the greater the confrontation, and the more I like it. Steelers-Bengals games cross the line, and that’s bad, but it sends a message I like and which I believe today’s game desperately needs: When those two teams play, it’s about more than the money.
John from Oakdale, MN
I think Balint from Budapest nailed it. If the NFL can't reduce the violence and resulting serious injuries to players, the game will die a slow death. I'm shocked you don't show any support for this view.
I support the player-safety movement, but I disagree with your slow death comment. Even though I’ve written football’s popularity wasn’t built on safe, I’ve come to believe America can’t live without football. As long as the NFL has a CBA and there are young men from poverty tough enough and desperate enough to play this game, there will be professional football and it’ll grow in popularity. By the way, how’d you like the Brent Musburger “Snowflakes” comment? Hilarious!
Ryan from Neenah, WI
While I am enjoying the ride and some hope of playoffs for the Packers, the odds are heavily against them. They aren't getting the help they need. Even if we run the table, I don't expect to get all the help necessary for a playoff appearance. What do you think of the Packers’ chances at this point?
They’re not good, and that’s what makes it great.
Pat from Seneca, SC
Vic, some data for your readers: Over the past 10 years, the Packers have had the fewest top-20 draft picks of any team in the NFL, one. The rest of the league has averaged more than six such selections over that time.
Success carries with it a harsh penalty.
Tristan from Durham, NC
Vic, how can you tell when a team is past its peak and the arrow is pointing down? Is it another you know it when you see it, or are there signs?
It’s a Potter Stewart.
Matt from Madison, WI
What do you think of NFL football being played on a Saturday?
This isn’t something new. This goes back to the ‘70s and Pete Rozelle’s post-merger genius. Hey, if college football is dumb enough to give the NFL an extra day to market its product, so be it. It wouldn’t happen if I was the czar of college football. I guarantee, we’d be playing playoff games this weekend. College football is the most poorly run big-time sports operation in the world. It deserve everything it gets. Get ready for some more terrible TV ratings for this year’s playoffs.
Braden from Waukesha, WI
Forget the playoffs for a second, I'm just excited for meaningful December football. What are your expectations for Rodgers on Sunday?
He’s Aaron Rodgers. He’s the next best thing to Tom Brady, which means the expectations are always for greatness. Not very fair, is it? I’ll say it again: He’s the best I’ve ever covered.
Joe from Dundee, IL
Vic, are you surprised none of the Seahawks players got a suspension after the end-of-game situations in the Jaguars game?
Joe, I’m sorry, but I’m just not into this crime and punishment baloney. I don’t think Gronk or JuJu should’ve been suspended. I think that’s a penalty the fans shouldn’t have to bear. Fine the players big, really big, but don’t suspend them. Make them play for free; it’ll stop. If the players really want to promote player safety, they’ll agree to this.
Kent from Summerville, SC
Vic, I'm hitting the Plantation course in Edisto on Thursday, then, sadly, moving back to Iowa on Friday. This will be my last golf for a while. Any tips for this course?
It doesn’t have a range, so stop at the range on the way into town, and have a 5-dollar bill or five ones with you because the range is on the honor system. You’ll have to cross water with a long shot on the first hole.
Neb from Belgrade, Serbia
Vic, are you looking forward to writing all next week?
You bet I am. Askvic.us is enjoying its best-ever week; the numbers have never been higher. Isn’t December wonderful?
Mario from Montevideo, Uruguay
Hi, Vic. What now for the Packers?
It’s drama time. The playoffs begin now. I expect Aaron Rodgers to be at full strength and the Packers will be playing against a playoff-caliber team. This is why we lift all those weights. This is what makes the holiday season what it is. Without playoff-tension football, December is just the first month of the winter of our discontent. Is that what you’re asking, or are you asking if the Packers will win? I give the Packers a 40-60 chance, if Rodgers plays. You’ll take that, won’t you?
David from Moore, ID
For the most part, I agree with players, not plays, however, McCarthy stole that one from the Browns. That was a virtuoso performance in all phases of game management and team leadership. I cannot imagine a man I would rather coach the Packers.
Mike McCarthy possessed the full attention and commitment of his team. Hue Jackson did not. That was the difference.
Steve from New Britain, CT
Vic, I want the Packers to draft a stud tight end in the first round of the next draft. We knew we needed one and planned on having one, but it did not come to fruition this year. Why shouldn't we prioritize a tight end in the next draft? At this point in his career, Rodgers deserves to have one. A star tight end would also go a long way toward healing the fan base after the Bennett fiasco.
A tight end? Really? Heal the fan base? What is it about fans and tight ends?
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, phenomenal, physical Pittsburgh-Baltimore game. Should Antonio Brown be included in the MVP discussion?
Depending on the status of Carson Wentz, yeah, maybe Brown should be considered for MVP. I think Wentz is the guy, but not if he’s gone for the year.
Lupe from Minneapolis, MN
Bob from Australia
Old-school games such as the Steelers/Bengals slugfest last week may have their own kind of appeal, but do you think they might be taking more of a toll than the participants bargain for? Once again, we saw the two teams put in poor performances the week after they went at each other. The question that has to be asked is: Is it worth it, Vic?
Good teams find ways to deal with their adversity, just as adversity helps us identify those teams. The Steelers found a way to deal with theirs; the Bengals folded, just as they did on Monday night.
Patrick from St. Paul, MN
In Brett Hundley, I see a young quarterback who's starting to find his rhythm. The game doesn't appear too big for him, and he seems to play his best football at crunch time. If Rodgers can't go, can Hundley put together another winning performance on the road against Carolina?
The Packers need Rodgers the rest of the way. The Panthers aren’t the Browns.
Doug from Union Grove, WI
Vic, after all these years, why does Big Ben still need the plays on his arm? The reason I’m guessing isn’t very flattering to him.
What a cruel and smug remark for you to make about a great quarterback, but it’s another example of why I think Roethlisberger might be the most underrated and underappreciated quarterback in NFL history. He throws one of the best deep balls I’ve ever seen, and he ranks right at the top all-time in fourth-quarter comebacks. Did you see that line-of-scrimmage adjustment he made on that deep crossing pass to Brown last night? How about the “JuJu, look” audible that resulted in a 90-some yard touchdown pass against the Lions? A dumb quarterback does that? Alert, altert! No quarterback does more at the line of scrimmage than Roethlisberger.
Joe from Dundee, IL
Vic, what do you think about the Seahawks trying to blow up the kneel-down play of the Jaguars? Total lack of sportsmanship and total disregard for the health of the center.
I don’t like that stuff. It’s unprofessional. The Seahawks embarrassed themselves. Be that as it may, I wish security would’ve allowed Quinton Jefferson to go up into the stands after the fans who threw stuff on him.
Dan from Madison, WI
What are your thoughts on Jamaal Williams? Could he develop into a top-tier running back?
Sure he could. The Seahawks cut Alex Collins.
Kent from Summerville, SC
I detest the reactive masses that call for another's job, yet, I am finding my defense for the Packers' defensive staff to be getting increasingly difficult. Give me an argument I can use.
Stephen from Jacksonville, FL
The Jaguars’ offensive line is getting healthy, Leonard Fournette looks like he’s healthy again, and Blake Bortles is finally playing like a quality starting quarterback. The offense is coming back to life at just the right time of the season. With the kind of pass rush the Jaguars generate, along with their talent in the secondary and speed at linebacker, it’s difficult to not think this defense is good enough to stop Tom Brady. I think if you can beat Brady in the playoffs, then you are probably good enough to win the Super Bowl. Is the Jaguars’ window about to open?
If the Jaguars win the AFC South, they’ll be my pick to win the AFC.
Mike from Niagara Falls, Canada
Here's a good question in relation to the Eli situation: It's 2005, the Packers just drafted Rodgers and are on their way to a 4-12 record with Favre throwing 29 interceptions. Would you have benched Favre for Rodgers at any point in that season?
Brett Favre also led the NFC in pass attempts, completions and yards passing that year, so you've manipulated the information you've provided me; interceptions alone were never a way to judge Favre. If I recall correctly, Aaron Rodgers was coming off a college ACL and there were also shoulder issues; he needed time to recover physically and to develop professionally. The Packers didn't believe Favre was washed up, an opinion that was validated two years later when Favre set 12 individual records and was named All-Pro for the second time in his career. Good personnel people know a guy's washed up when they see it. I think I would know it, too. Favre wasn't washed up and Rodgers wasn't ready. I wouldn't have benched Favre in 2005. Eli Manning? I think the Giants have gotten all they can out of him and they need to move on. On a better team, Manning still might have game, but I don't think the Giants are that team. As I see it, reinstating him as the starting quarterback is a PR move meant to quiet the howl of the wolves. That's weak.
Jon from Warsaw, Poland
Vic, it's wonderful to read your insight and wisdom again. Are you suggesting the Packers would be better off missing the playoffs and, thus, getting higher draft picks?
It happens naturally. You try to win and when you're no longer good enough to win, you move up in the draft order so you can select players who will help you win again. I'm surprised fans struggle with this concept as much as they do. It's ridiculous to think you can select lower-rated players year after year and continue to assemble a roster as talented as the teams that have been drafting above you. A great quarterback can camouflage the talent gap but, when he's gone, the truth is known.
Jim from Pewaukee, WI
What else can you tell us about pornography, Vic? Seriously, I just found your blog and I am so glad to have your voice back in my life.
In ruling on an obscenity case, Justice Potter Stewart wrote of pornography, "I know it when I see it." So it is with the woman of our dreams and franchise quarterbacks. We know them when we see them.
Allan from Guatemala City, Guatemala
This might be a question more suited for the offseason, but since you mentioned the number of stadiums you’ve covered games in, what are your five best and five worst press boxes of all time, and why?
Instead of another nauseating ranking, how about just some thoughts on the subject? I've talked about the old Cleveland Stadium press box. It looked like a bus turned sideways and jammed between the seats and the roof in the upper deck. It was behind poles and featured what I called the world's highest outhouse. They served a kind of gray brat that looked like a dead rat. One year, they painted the chairs orange before the start of the season, and then closed the door to the press box. When they opened for business on the first night of the preseason, everybody got orange paint on their clothes when they sat down. The press box in RFK was built for manual typewriters, of course, so when the computer age arrived in the newspaper business, electric outlets were needed. Unfortunately, the outlet strip was installed too tight to the desktop, which required a small adapter, which I carried in my computer bag especially for games at RFK. The press box in Baltimore's Memorial Stadium didn't include elevator service to the visitors' locker room; you had to walk across the mushy turf and into the dugout to access the tunnel to the locker room, which was a good thing or I wouldn't have seen the airplane that had crashed into the upper deck following a 1976 season playoff game. The one in old Lambeau Field was high schoolesque. I'm not a fan of any of the end zone press boxes, especially the one in Gillette Stadium, because the poor view is an outrageous insult to a media that helped make the NFL what it is. The best press boxes? The one in Nashville is my favorite. It offers by far the best view; low and close. The press lounge and bathroom are directly behind the seating area, and the elevator is complemented by a staircase for those walk-off wins when everybody leaves together. I'm also fond of the press box at Heinz Field, where the Steelers have made a point of taking care of founder Art Rooney's "boys." Lambeau's press box offers wonderful amenities and is super comfortable. I wished it was a little lower and didn't require as much travel time to get from the press box to the media auditorium. Jacksonville will always be a personal favorite. I loved watching the sun bounce off the St. Johns River on one of those clear, crisp late-season days.
Balint from Budapest, Hungary
Football's culture needs to change; there is no question about it. Being a young, international fan, I know we are way less interested in hard hits than strategy, play design, points, big plays, beautiful catches, you name it. We hate that any given play could sideline our favorite players and derail our team's season, not to mention our fantasy teams. We've never seen football in the '70s, '80s, '90s; in fact, most international fans haven't watched it before, like, 2007. At the same time, we are well aware of the effect concussions have and the CTE studies. We really hate to see blows to the head. Players like Big Ben or Mike Mitchell say, "That's AFC North football," because they are part of the old culture perpetuated by coaches who grew up on '70s football. They just don't know better, but I'm glad to see the league does, evidenced by all the recent suspensions.
Well, it looks like you have it all figured out. Hang in there, maybe Goodell will resign soon and you can get the job. Give Jerry Jones a call. For when that day comes, here's some food for thought: If the AFC North left the NFL and formed its own league, I think it might get better TV ratings than the NFL. What are your thoughts on that, commissioner?
Kabir from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
Seven out of the top 10 in your power rankings are NFC teams. Would the Patriots still be perennial contenders if they had to play in the NFC South, West or North? Yes, they have Brady, but they don't have much competition in their division or their conference. Should the NFL consider re-aligning teams to equalize between the NFC and AFC?
All because of one season? Yeah, I think the NFC is the stronger conference this year, but for the majority of Tom Brady's career, the AFC has been superior.
Here are my Week 14 power rankings:
1. Patriots – A cut above everyone.
2. Vikings – Old-fashioned muscle team.
3. Eagles – Momentum at stake vs. Rams.
4. Saints – Win in Atlanta would leave no doubt.
5. Rams – Arrow pointing straight up.
6. Steelers – Toughness is their trademark.
7. Falcons – Must beat Saints tonight.
8. Panthers – They don't get it done.
9. Seahawks – Here they come!
10. Chargers – Can they stay hot down the stretch?
11. Titans – Headed for showdown with Jaguars.
12. Jaguars – Will be tested by Seahawks.
13. Raiders – Chiefs' collapse has opened the door.
14. Bills – Gronk has given them a cause.
15. Ravens – Must win in Pittsburgh.
16. Lions – Fading in December, again.
17. Cowboys – Can they stay alive until Elliott returns?
18. Cardinals – Out of contention.
19. Jets – Gritty.
20. Chiefs – It wasn't the play-calling.
21. Packers – Beware of Browns.
22. Redskins – A play here and there made the difference.
23. Bengals – Lack discipline.
24. Texans – Watson gave them a glimpse.
25. Dolphins – Nothing accomplished in 2017.
26. 49ers – Big decision to make on Garropolo.
27. Bears – Is Trubisky the guy?
28. Bucs – Lots of yards but not enough points.
29. Broncos – Not accustomed to this position.
30. Colts – The end is near.
31. Giants – The gavel has fallen.
32. Browns – Did they tamper with McCarron?
Vincent from Seattle, WA
Why have dried grapes in a perfectly good oatmeal cookie when you could have chocolate?
Kevin from Omaha, NE
Vic, you should have caught some of the double OT UCF-Memphis game. I know, no defense, but non-stop action.
I watched some of it. Garbage football.
Steve from Phoenix, AZ
I assume I'm not alone in wanting to hear your perspective on the 60-minute slugfest that Ben referred to as "AFC North football." It looked to cross the line at times. I don't think football will last two more decades if this kind of display persists.
Bengals-Steelers games are the exception. They're two teams that hate each other intensely. Their game is a perfect example of what not to do. Seriously, though, Roethlisberger is right, that's AFC North football, and if the Vikings are the new power team in the NFC North, then everybody else in the NFC North better start learning how to play the AFC North way, because Mike Zimmer is a graduate of that division. That offside on the field goal try? Intentional; that's the kind of stuff they do in the AFC North. It almost worked; the kicker was limping. All I could do was watch and laugh. There's something wrong with the people in that division, and it's what's wrong in all of us. We're attracted to violence. That's why the ratings for that game were through the roof.
Donovan from Baldwin Park, CA
Is it wrong for me to have liked that Steelers-Bengals game on MNF? Part of me thinks the NFL knows the history and put the game on prime time intentionally.
You think? Really? The NFL would take advantage of our primal desires merely to improve their sagging TV ratings? In the player-safety era? Hmmm, I gotta think on that one.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Which teams in the league have "The Man?"
Having "The Man" is like pornography: You'll know it when you see it.
Josh from Oshkosh, WI
Vic, I am conflicted. I truly believe without improvement to player safety the league will die within a few decades. But I absolutely love watching AFC North football games for all of their grit and glory. Was Monday night's game what games looked like in the 1960s and 1970s?
Not one of those controversial plays in the Steelers-Bengals game would've been penalized, fined, criticized or even discussed by the broadcasters in the '70s. They all would've been regarded as examples of good, clean, hard-nosed football. Watch this clip from Super Bowl IX. No penalty, no fine, no criticism; good, clean, hard-nosed football. Don Meredith called it "a good pop." I thought John Gilliam's head came off.
Dave from Chippewa Falls, WI
They're still leading with their heads, and someone is telling them it's OK to do it.
No one is telling them it's OK to do it. No one told them 40 years ago it was OK to do it. "Hit what you see; see what you hit." That was always the coaches' mantra, at all levels. What fans aren't understanding is the basic human instinct to protect yourself. Fans are constantly complaining about poor tackling, as though the players don't want to tackle correctly. That's not it. It's just not normal to confront a 230-pound running back at full speed and wrap your arms around him so he can drive his knees through your ribs and jam the top of his helmet into your face. It's just human nature to protect yourself. If you wanna single out a play in the Steelers-Bengals game, find the facemask-to-facemask train wreck between the Bengals' Vontaze Burfict and Steelers running back James Conner. That's how you do it. Now try finding guys who wanna do it like that.
Braden from Waukesha, WI
Josh Gordon returned on Sunday and had a pretty impressive game for a guy who hasn't played football in three years. He's on the last year of his contract and will become a free agent. Let's say in the next four games he puts up some good numbers. A guy with the raw talent is intriguing but the three years of suspensions make it hard to pay him well. What is the market value for a guy like that?
Not much. He's a wide receiver; dime a dozen. Now, if he was a left tackle, that would be different.
Dan from Sebastapol, CA
How would you fix the college playoff system? Do you think the five champions of the five power conferences and one at large for six total would work better? Or would you make it eight teams?
The number of teams isn't the issue; that'll just produce more subjectivity. I get a lot of email from people who tell me how to fix the college football playoffs, but what they don't understand is there isn't a single ruling body that can make all of that happen; the conferences won't agree to it. Here's my plan: Each of the five power conferences are to give the NCAA a champion, and a committee picks four to compete in the playoffs. No more Penn State wins the Big 10 but Ohio State goes to the playoffs, or Alabama doesn't win the SEC and goes to the playoffs and that means two teams from the same conference are going to the playoffs. My plan is real simple: To go to the playoffs, you must win your conference. Once the playoff teams are decided, then seed them. I think the five power conferences would agree to that. I hate the idea Alabama and Georgia could play for the national title. That's just another conference title game. College football is hopeless. Think about the NFL games you've seen recently: Packers-Steelers, Bucs-Packers, Steelers-Bengals. How many weeks of college football would it take to produce that kind of drama?
Brandon from Kimberly, WI
Vic, I’m watching the Steelers-Bengals game and the left guard of the Steelers keeps getting in his stance then out. I understand he is reading Ben and letting the center know he’s ready. What I don’t understand is why that’s legal.
An offensive lineman isn't considered to be set until he puts his hand on the ground.
Mike from Hampton, VA
I love reading your replies, especially since you retired. Hoping for an "Ask Vic" blog every day.
Here's what I'll do: If the Packers win the next two games, I'll do an "Ask Vic" every day the week of the Vikings game, in celebration of the arrival of my December friend.
Randy from Billings, MT
What will it take for the Packers defense to be good enough to get off the field regularly on third down?
Rush the passer!
Matthew from Oshkosh, WI
Vic, what's your honest opinion on Kevin King? Will he be the future shutdown corner the Packers are so desperately seeking, or was it a mistake to draft him? Can't help but think GB will shoot for another CB in the first round of the 2018 draft.
I see nothing in King's play that suggests he wasn't a quality pick and won't become a fixture at cornerback. The problem with the perception of King right now is he's been put on injured reserve at a time when T.J. Watt is hitting it out of the park. Draft-day trades do that. Watt will forever be attached to King. Watt will be an anchor King will have to drag his whole career.
Jeff from Alexandria, VA
How do the Packers improve their roster?
By losing games and getting higher draft picks.
Tim from Jacksonville, FL
Will Sunday's game versus the Seahawks be an indicator of whether the Jaguars will be a real contender this year?
The Jaguars are and will continue to be a real contender. What Sunday's game against the Seahawks will decide is the direction of the Jaguars' December arrow. The good news for the Jaguars is they own the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Ravens and Chargers.
Randall from Sun Prairie, WI
What's going on with Leonard Fournette? Are teams loading up against the run? Is he hobbled by injury? Does his offensive line stink? Is he not as good as we thought? Rookie wall? Any or all of the above?
The Jaguars are No. 1 in rushing and No. 21 in passing. They lack balance.
Adam from Chicago, IL
Which professional sport has the best postseason?
If you want a true champion, the NHL is the one. The endurance required to win the Stanley Cup is difficult to comprehend. For drama, give me the NFL.
Stephen from Jacksonville, FL
How many different NFL stadiums have you been to so far? Which stadiums no longer standing or used currently by the NFL do you most vividly remember? Which are your favorites?
At last count, I had covered NFL games in about 80 stadiums, including Neyland Stadium, Husky Stadium, the Liberty Bowl and Olympic Stadium in Barcelona. I've covered games in several college stadiums and stadiums that no longer exist. I covered the last football game ever played in Shea Stadium. Of the stadiums that no longer exist, Cleveland Stadium is by far my favorite because it was by far the worst and by far the one I remember most vividly. I'll never forget the press box jammed into the corner of the upper deck and its world's highest outhouse and greyhound hot dogs. I rarely covered a game there on a day it wasn't cold, gray and wet; it was all part of the experience. My favorites are Three Rivers, the one in Jacksonville of many names and, of course, Lambeau Field. It's for the obvious reason: They became my home in the fall. Memories? A water pipe bursting in the Riverfront press box on a three-degree day. Donuts and beer for a pregame meal at the Vet. Pizza being delivered for halftime at Jack Murphy. The condemned sign on the press box at the LA Coliseum and the stalls and doors in the visitors' locker room, behind which Joe Gilliam hid on a night when drug usage ruined his career. The sound of those pom-poms swishing and that wonderful song playing in the Astrodome. Memories? I have too many for one column.
Justin from Titonka, IA
Did you enjoy the Bengals-Steelers game?
I enjoyed it immensely. I acknowledge and support the player-safety movement, but I confess to a primal attraction to physical confrontation. My culture was determined a long time ago. Back then, what happened on Monday night was more than OK, it was the goal. I'm trying to change, but neither my love of football nor the game's popularity was built on safe.
Bret from Mililani, HI
Vic, we’re so close. Should we relax and hopefully run the table? Is help on the way? Has your December friend arrived?
Close? Really? I think you're setting yourself up for disappointment. I think you've allowed an emotional win over a struggling opponent to dramatically and dangerously alter your perspective. Yesterday's win has given the Packers another week of life, but I wouldn't describe the Packers as being close to a playoff berth or of running the table. The table includes games at Carolina and Detroit, which sandwich a return bout with the Vikings, the hottest team in the league. The Falcons own the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Packers. The Packers must win at Carolina to claim the head-to-head edge against the other top contender in the wild-card race. Carolina went into yesterday's game at New Orleans as the No. 2 defense, third against the run and sixth against the pass.
Nathan from New York, NY
Do the Vikings have "The Man?"
I don't think they have "The Man," but he might be good enough until "The Man" gets there. Case Keenum is making sound decisions and timely plays that play to the Vikings' strength, which is their defense.
Jon from Cedar Rapids, IA
What kind of fans are we to boo a team that won? Yes, Hundley did not play well but that means the team stepped up and pulled through to win.
In my opinion, Packers fans need a dose of reality. They need to begin seeing their team for what it is, which is, in my opinion, a team with more want to than can do. Given a choice between the two rosters that faced each other yesterday, I'd pick the Bucs' roster. In other words, I think the Packers found a way to beat a more talented team.
Dustin from Seymour, WI
What must the Packers do to build off this win and keep December interesting?
Beat the Browns and turn the focus to a game in Carolina that may define the Packers' season.
Ben from Hilo, HI
Which team from this season most resembles the team GM Vic would attempt to assemble?
The Falcons are my kind of team: They have a power running game that meshes beautifully with an explosive passing attack, and their defense is young and aggressive. From where I sit, the Falcons have it all: star quarterback and wide receiver, two hard-running backs, speed and power rushers, and a fly-around secondary. So why are they losing big games, as they did yesterday to the Vikings? I don't have an answer for that question, but I love the Falcons' talent and I can't help but think they might get hot at just the right time.
Greg from Danbury, CT
Missed the game, saw the stats. Shouldn't have won. Saw the highlights; heckuva character win. I feel good about this team.
Losing the stats but winning the game is usually indicative of a team with a sharp focus and strong leadership. The Packers are still alive in the playoff race because they are beautifully coached and have a head coach who provides great leadership. Another head coach might have lost this team by now. The loss in Pittsburgh could've been a killer. Packers fans need to stop focusing on 57-yard field goal attempts and begin seeing the big picture.
Johan from Pembroke, ON
Just win, baby! Does it get simpler than that?
If you avoid the over-analysis that can blind us to the facts, you'll learn to enjoy and appreciate what really happened. Yesterday, the Packers wanted it more than the Bucs. A head coach is first and foremost a leader. The Packers are products of the leadership their head coach provides. The Chiefs are the opposite example, and that's why I say Andy Reid needs to stop looking at his play sheet and start looking into his players' eyes.
Randy from Aurora, CO
One down for Green Bay. It wasn't pretty, but they all count. Can they beat Cleveland to get to seven wins?
The Browns don't have an 0-12 defense; all of the problems are on the offensive side of the ball. Before you put this one in the win column, give some thought to the Browns' No. 9 defense, and what could happen if the Packers get loose with the football. I promise you, Mike McCarthy will alert his team to what can happen should the Packers lose their edge. He'll have his team ready to play. You don't want this game to define your season, if you know what I mean.
Dan from Sebastapol, CA
Vic, which two teams do you think will play for the college championship and who is your pick to win it all?
These are the four best. I don't like the process that picked them, but they got the right four and it's the best that can be done given a flawed system. All four teams are title worthy. I'll pick Alabama to beat Oklahoma in the title game.
Melany from Wisconsin
What are your thoughts on whether Aaron Rodgers should play in Week 15 if his upcoming scan is clear and the Packers beat the Browns? The competitor in me is bothered by the save it for next season buzz by some fans and NFL commentators. It’s a losing mentality. And there are no guarantees about next season. As long as a playoff spot is in play, the best players should be on the field this season.
"What are you saving it for, Ketchman, the prom?" Words from our youth stick with us forever. Melany, they don't pay these guys to not play. If the Packers beat the Browns and Aaron Rodgers is healed, it's a no-brainer.
Andrew from Minneapolis, MN
More college football blowouts were portrayed on Saturday afternoon. That surprised me during conference championship weekend. Was the bigger factor coaching or execution? Ohio State looked faster than Wisconsin.
Ohio State won that game on national letter of intent day.
Adam from Oshkosh, WI
Heartbreaking loss for the Badgers, but it was a great B1G Championship Game! My question is: Have ESPN and the announcers stopped tripping over themselves, yet, annointing Ohio State as the next national championship winner? Had the Badgers pulled it off, I'm sure they'd be tripping over themselves figuring out how to put Alabama in and leave out the B1G. Aren't agendas fun?
It was the best of the conference title games, but it certainly wasn't a great game. It was a game loaded with errors. Ohio State scored 10 points for Wisconsin and had to settle for a field goal at clinch time, leaving the door open for Wisconsin to win with a touchdown, which the Badgers didn't even threaten to do. I watched the Big 12, SEC and ACC title games and the average margin of difference in those games was 26.7 points. College football continues to be a bad product and I continue to be angry at myself for spending entire days watching it, as I did on Saturday. Why do I do it? I guess it's because I love the hype. College football is constant, mind-numbing band music and TV shots of students trying to one-up each other with idiotic behavior, such as jumping up and down for three hours. Stir in Gus "Old Yeller" Johnson screaming as though every completed pass was the game-winner, and the hype becomes great camouflage for a bad product. I'm ashamed of myself for the hours I've wasted on a product that doesn't even have a definitive plan for determining its champion.
Rob from Northfield, WI
If everyone had picked the '70s Steelers, what would your argument have been for the '60s Packers?
The Packers won five titles; the Steelers won four.
Stephen from Jacksonville, FL
Do you think Fred Taylor was under-utilized as a receiver during his career? I always thought that was an area of his game where he didn’t get enough credit.
Fred couldn't catch. That was the weakness in his game. If he had been on the Titanic and someone had thrown him a life preserver, he would've dropped it. He had his vision corrected, but it only made matters worse; he could then see what he was dropping. Fred was a runner, and he might be the most talented runner I ever covered.
Marc from Hartford, VT
Vic, how do you think Giants fans are feeling about seeing the switch at QB from a Super Bowl winning quarterback to a huge disappointment?
Here's how they should feel: The Giants stink, Eli Manning is not the future at quarterback and it's time to move on. If it's nostalgia you seek, open up your high school yearbook.
Jeff from Madison, WI
What good does it do for you to get good in December if you're not in the playoffs. As was said after we totally screwed ourselves out of a Super Bowl appearance in 2014, next season is a whole new team. With all the changes due to free agency, etc., we are practically building a whole new team from scratch every season.
I know, Jeff, and thanks for noticing.
Adam from Chucago, IL
What is your crunch time these days?
I have no crunch time. Every day is like the day after winning the Super Bowl.
Matt from Eau Claire, WI
Do you agree with the Giants decision to bench Eli?
Yes. It's one of the only things the Giants have done this season that's made sense.
Brad from Parker, CO
Is Eli Manning a first-ballot Hall of Famer?
His two Super Bowl wins say he is, but his body of work says let's talk about this some more. His career includes a lot of bad seasons; he was an interception machine in those years. He's a member of a deep class of quarterbacks who'll likely become Hall of Fame candidates within the same 5-year period. I see him as no higher than the middle of that class.