Surprise! I woke up this morning in the mood, so I dashed downstairs for my morning coffee and my laptop.
The games that most interest me today are Panthers at Lions, Packers at Cowboys and Chiefs at Texans. I have a special interest in Jaguars at Steelers, for the obvious reason. It was on this date 22 years ago the expansion Jaguars upset the Steelers and scored the first home win in Jacksonville history. I remember the day as though it was yesterday. It was blistering hot. Chad Brown passed out and collapsed in the huddle. After the game, the locker room people swept the IV lines into a big pile in the Steelers’ locker room. It was an exciting time in my life and the Jaguars and Steelers would go on to play some of the most thrilling and memorable games I have ever covered. The Jags have always been tough on the Steelers.
T.J. from Tampa, FL
I made my first-ever trip to Lambeau during the shareholders meeting in July. While on a tour and overlooking the field, I asked an older guide, “Which end zone was it?” exactly as you once did. With no hesitation, he responded “Ice Bowl? Right there,” and pointed to the south end zone. While in the press box, I also asked him where you sat and he gestured to the vicinity. No question, just thought you might like to hear.
A hundred years from now, if you asked the same questions, the answer to the first would be the same, the answer to the second would be “Who?” Bart Starr’s game-winning quarterback sneak in the “Ice Bowl” is one of the two most legendary plays in NFL history – the “Immaculate Reception” is the other. Those two plays are the foundation on which the Packers and Steelers franchises are built.
Bob from Pocatello, ID
Great to see you back. My season just got better. I agree that in today’s NFL you need “The Man” to be a contender. But it is seemingly even more so now, with the nature of injuries. You need “The Man” and “the coach” to be able to get through the inevitable rough patches. Belichick and Brady might be the gold standard, but McCarthy and Rodgers seem to be showing up as their equals. Do you agree?
It’s been that way forever: Luckman and Halas, Graham and Brown, Starr and Lombardi, Griese and Shula, Bradshaw and Noll, Staubach and Landry, Montana and Walsh, etc. Rodgers and McCarthy are the equal of Favre and Holmgren. It would take a couple of more Super Bowl wins to jump up to the Starr-Lombardi, Brady-Belichick class.
Patrick from Tampa, FL
I am curious if you think we will see anything like what the FBI is doing to NCAA basketball spill into the college football world? I mean, this can’t just be a basketball issue, right? Let’s get it all cleaned up and try to make it a bit more of a fair fight.
I hope we see it spill over into football; maybe it already has and we just don’t know it, right? I mean, who knew about basketball? The NCAA is toothless. Neither coaches nor administrators are afraid of it. The FBI is a whole new ballgame. I hope they get the cheaters in football, too.
Hilmi from Ankara, Turkey
Hi Vic, you have no idea how happy I am you are doing this. It's like I've reunited with an old friend. Here's my question: What happens if the game never resumes because of lightning? Do they keep playing another day from where they left off? What if it was just the last kneel-down play of the game that was left? Can the refs just end the game with time on the clock?
I covered the beer bottle game in Cleveland; I’ll never forget the sound of those plastic bottles striking the ground. I stood in the tunnel next to representatives from the Jaguars and Browns, and the referee, as they spoke to the league office in New York. Both teams had left the field for safety reasons. Only kneel-down time was left on the clock, but the league told the ref and reps the game had to be played to conclusion, so both teams came back onto the field and the Jags took a few knees, as beer bottles rained down on a place where I once watched Eric Metcalf turn up field on a game-winning punt return, as the fans in old Cleveland Stadium rose to their feet and roared.
Bill from Sheboygan, WI
What are your thoughts on the Cam Newton controversy?
So, we vilify an athlete but elect a president who said much worse? What Newton said was sexist, but nothing about it was vulgar. The following day, he issued one of the most sincere apologies I can remember. It wasn’t a statement, it was a video, and I never saw his eyes drop to prepared language. My opinion of Newton rose as a result of what happened.
Merle from Wausau, WI
Vic, what message is the league sending by reducing Trevathan's suspension? Do you think the fact that Davante avoided a more serious injury swayed the decision to cut the suspension in half?
It didn’t surprise me. It sends the message the NFL is neither arbitrary nor capricious, which aids them in legal battles vs. the players. The NFL probably suspended Trevathan for two games knowing they would reduce it to one.
Jay from Gladbrook, IA
Vic, what is your favorite sports movie?
It’s probably “The Natural.” “Rocky” and “Field of Dreams” are right up there. They all have one thing in common: They’re more about art than they are about sports. Sports can’t be recreated, but sports offers a wonderful canvas on which to paint a picture. The lights exploding to the sound of that beautiful music is great theater. I think I saw the lights explode when Randall Cobb caught that touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers in Chicago in 2013.
Gage from NB, Canada
Vic, great to see you back in the game. I don't care about scheme names, but are safeties playing linebacker, or are linebackers getting smaller?
I covered Carnell Lake, a college linebacker who moved to safety in the NFL. In those days, it was about getting run-support size in your secondary. These days, big safeties are moving to linebacker, because it’s about getting pass-coverage speed closer to the line of scrimmage. Don’t think position, think function.
Isaac from Nashville, TN
The Packers fielded their strongest post-Super Bowl offense, in my view, in 2014. It's not a coincidence that was the year Green Bay had a great running game. McCarthy is a great coach and Thompson is a great GM, so why has maintaining a strong running attack been such a sore spot for the team over the years?
It’s in these Packers’ DNA.
Patrick from Burlington, IL
Are the Bills and Rams for real, or can their great starts be attributed to the early season?
I’m not sure the Bills are for real, but the Rams are. It appears they have “The Man.”
David from Hallowell, ME
Vic, glad to see this project. I always thought it was odd when people said they had a favorite sports columnist. I understand now, having loved your time with the Packers. So, who is your favorite sports columnist?
Dan from Westboro, WI
Vic, now that you are retired and unaffiliated, why have you chosen to focus on the Packers instead of other teams you have covered, or just the NFL in general?
All fans of all teams are welcome here, and I’ll comment on anything pertaining to football, pro or college.
See you tomorrow.