"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F through the football season.
Vincent from Seattle, WA
Vic, what did you think of the fourth-quarter first and goal by the Packers offense? I saw an offense that tried to gimmick its way to a score.
Bad play-calling? Audibles?
Dave from Seattle, WA
That was pass interference on Rodgers' interception. Wasn’t that what the new rules from the New Orleans vs. Rams game meant to resolve?
I hate the Saints.
Joe from Chicago, IL
No ejection for Barnett after his totally unnecessary helmet-to-helmet hit on Jamaal Williams tells me the NFL isn't serious about player safety. Watching young men being carted off the field isn't my form of entertainment. I'm one step closer to being done with football.
It's about more than changing the culture. The NFL has created a more dangerous game with rules that opened the field and invited the pass. The game needs to be slower and tighter for it to be safer. It might be impossible to reverse the trend.
Brian from Stafford, VA
A poor run defense, poor special teams play and two killer turnovers by the quarterback is a sure way to lose. First and goal from the one and not a single run sure doesn't speak well for your confidence in running the ball.
Jon from Omaha, NE
What a hard fought game. I'm proud of the Packers. That was some good competition, especially for a Thursday night.
America loved that game. Up and down the field, 61 points, 80 passes (53 by the Packers), 827 yards of offense. That's the kind of football fans want to see and TV wants to show, but it's not the kind of football that wins championships. Can't run, can't stop the run is bad for the soul.
Patrick from Ashland, WI
Nose bloodied? I caught that. Nothing new for Pete. You always said a guy with a nose like that must be tough. I will never forget that comment. I use it.
I judge a man by the shape of his nose and the shine of his shoes.
Sean-Luc from Boston, MA
Rumor is the Ravens offered a first, second and TE Hayden Hurst in exchange for Jalen Ramsey. Jags turned it down. Mistake?
What did I say before this began? We'll start the bidding at two ones, right? I haven't changed my stance. It's two ones or no deal. If Ramsey wants to fake it the rest of the season, so be it, but I get two ones or he remains with the Jaguars.
Sean from Brighton, MI
Do you remember what Tony Pauline’s pre-draft analysis was on Mitchell Trubisky compared to Patrick Mahomes?
I don't because I never asked for it; quarterback was not on this column's radar in 2017. So, yesterday I asked Tony to tell me what his analysis was on the two quarterbacks. This is what he said: "Trubisky -- good athlete but very raw. Small body of work on the college level and needed time. Mahomes -- Bigger body of work with greater physical skills. Needed time and I had some concerns, but got with the right coach and sitting a year was of immense help."
Ian from Texas
I don't watch college football so I'm struggling to understand how teams miss so badly on an ultra-talent like Mahomes. I get it when a player develops over time, but when a player like Mahomes comes in and almost immediately lights up the league; what was missing on his college tape to make that impact so unpredictable? Any insights?
The league didn't miss on Mahomes. He was the 10th pick of the draft. I think the Bears missed on Trubisky. I think he was a reach at No. 2 overall. How far would Trubisky have fallen had the Bears picked Mahomes? I think that's the more appropriate question. It's another example of how fragile the draft can be. One pick can change everything. That's why I love the draft.
Todd from Prairie Du Chien, WI
Finally, we see energy and effort on the field. Football is all about that. Mr. McCarthy, we lost that with your teams the last few years. Granted, it's not all on the coach to create the vibe, but you have got to cast the shadow to get it started. Energy equals youth, fun, winning! Can the Packers continue with the effort the next 12-13 games and will they, Vic?
I thought the energy was real good last night, but it didn't equal winning.
Bill from Sheboygan, WI
Vic, what are your thoughts on the offense through four games?
Aaron Rodgers wants to throw the ball. I think we're going to see more of what we saw last night.
Kale from London, Canada
What do you think about the Steelers trading away three draft picks in the last week?
They traded four picks. In return, they got Minkah Fitzpatrick and two picks, one of which is higher than one of the picks they traded, and tight end Nick Vannett. Kevin Colbert has been one of the top GM types for two decades, so I am forcing myself to see these deals from his perspective, out of respect for him. Fitzpatrick is a top safety. He addresses a major need, he's a huge cap savings and he's only in the second year of his career, so the Steelers have him on his rookie contract for three more years. Vannett is just a guy, but he's scheduled to be a UFA next spring so he'll help return the fifth-round pick in comp pick consideration. When you look at each trade individually, they make sense, but I'm a big picture guy and that's why I don't like trading picks for players. I hate trading picks for players; it's just not in my football DNA. If I was Art Rooney, I would've forbid making these trades. In my mind, when you trade future picks, you anger the gods of football fate. I think time will prove me right. I hope I'm wrong.
Jared from Sugar City, ID
Vic, looking at different team's records so far, I feel there are a lot of 1-2 teams that are good teams, some 2-1 teams that are not that great, and some 0-3 teams that could surprise us. At what point during a season can you look at a team and say they are who we thought they were?
The masks come off right after Halloween.
Nicholas from Superior, WI
Never stop being new, Vic. What caused the difference in play styles between the AFL and NFL?
The AFL gave the fans what they wanted, wide-open offense, and that made the AFL popular enough to force a merger with the NFL. The AFL taught the NFL a lesson it's never forgotten. The fans want offense and the NFL continues to shape the game to give the fans what they want. I think that's become a problem.
Jason from Austin, TX
I was thinking about what you said about Jacksonville's stadium putting the opposing team on the side of the field the sun is shining on. Are teams allowed to bring a cover or shade on the sidelines to minimize the impact?
Not only are visiting teams on the sun sideline, they're on the sideline across the field from the locker rooms, so the visiting teams can't sneak their players into the locker room to get out of the sun and into the air-conditioning, as the Jaguars can. This didn't happen by chance. Teams are not permitted to affix awnings to shade their players on the sideline, but they may hand-hold awnings over their players, which is what they do.
Barry from Hayward, WI
Bills over Pats?
I don't think the Bills are ready to win this type of game, but that doesn't mean it can't happen.
Gregory from Milwaukee, WI
Vic, tremendous column. How can the NFL consider the "Immaculate Reception" to be the No. 1 greatest play of all time? The Steelers went on to lose their next playoff game. I understand the game was a springboard for future Steelers success, but surely there are more deserving plays that led to an actual Super Bowl win.
In my opinion, Dec. 23, 1972, is the most important date in NFL history. Why? Because that's the day professional football became America's national pastime. On that day, the "Immaculate Reception" was the one o'clock playoff game and the Cowboys' dramatic comeback in San Francisco was the four o'clock game. It was a long Christmas weekend and we were a captive audience. The NFL had America all to its self and everywhere you went people were talking about those two playoff games. All of that weekend's playoff games had one thing in common: They were blacked out in the markets in which they were played, and that caused an uproar when congressmen and senators in Washington weren't able to watch the Redskins beat the Packers the following day. Eight months later, Congress passed an act that ended home blackouts. Simply put, when Congress passes a law forcing a professional sport to televise its games, it says something about that sport. What it said is the NFL is No. 1. The "Immaculate Reception" is the identity of that shift from baseball to football. The "Ice Bowl?" You could certainly make a point for it being the greatest play of all time, but it was pre-merger and I think that hurts it. Plus, it was a quarterback sneak. I don't deny its significance and drama -- it's one of the most memorable moments of my life -- but as a play it gained one yard. The "Immaculate Reception" was a wild and controversial play. TV lost the ball. People watching on TV didn't understand why Franco Harris was running with the ball; they thought the play was over. Then came the real drama. Referee Fred Swearingen froze. He asked a groundskeeper if there was a phone from which he could talk to NFL director of officiating Art McNally, who was in the press box and was seeing the play run over and over on replay. Swearingen was taken to the first base dugout, where he was connected to McNally. At that point, as far as I'm concerned, replay review was used for the first time in NFL history. After several agonizing minutes of waiting for Swearingen to emerge from the dugout, the moment arrived. Swearingen began his walk to the center of the field. There was silence. Everybody knew the moment was at hand. Swearingen would either wave his arms to signal incomplete pass, or raise his arms skyward to signal touchdown. Ol' Freddie played it perfectly. He stopped, turned toward the press box, paused for dramatic effect, then raised his arms, causing an explosive cheer. It's the most dramatic thing I have ever seen in sports. Every time I listen to today's referees explain their ruling, I can't help but wonder what Swearingen would've said. I'm so glad he said nothing. Touchdown!