"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F during the football season.
Travis from Oshawa, Canada
What were your overall impressions of the weekend of playoff football we just witnessed?
The Seahawks-Packers game was the best of the four. The Titans-Ravens and Vikings-49ers games were just OK, and the Texans-Chiefs game was dreadful. The Texans shamed themselves. They might not recover from that collapse. The Falcons haven't been the same since blowing that lead in the Super Bowl. The shame that goes with that kind of performance goes to the soul of a team and can require purging.
David from Seattle, WA
Are the wolves ever justified? LaFleur is not a genius. The Packers reaching the NFC championship game has nothing to do with LaFleur. However, clearly the Packers are better and McCarthy may have been the problem. Are the wolves justified?
I get the sense the Sports Illustrated story hit the mark and might've even been a plant. The Packers had a problem that was worsening and had to be resolved. The coach and the quarterback were pulling in opposite directions, it had reached crisis stage, and one of them had to go. That's the way I'm reading it. Let's look at the situation as it is: Aaron Rodgers has what he wants (ownership of the offense), Packers fans have what they want (winning), and Mike McCarthy has, in my opinion, a better job than the one he had. McCarthy has gone from being the head coach of an iconic franchise with an aging quarterback to the head coach of an iconic franchise with a quarterback just coming into the prime years of his career. Instead of working with a quarterback who was pulling against him, McCarthy will be working with a quarterback who needs coaching and is likely to warm to it. In the end, all is well.
Karl from Albuquerque, NM
Vic, what is the Packer's identity?
Aaron Rodgers is the identity. Nothing has changed. As Rodgers goes, so go the Packers.
Mark from Bettendorf, IA
Give me your thoughts on Bill Cowher.
Coach Cowher has the image of a tough guy who willed his team to win with fiery pep talks and the set of his jaw. What I came to appreciate about Bill is he's one of the best strategists of his era. He has a phenomenal record, 108-1-1, when his teams led by 11 or more points at any point in the game, which speaks to his ability to shape a game according to how he wanted his team to play it. It might be the most amazing record in all of sports. I think it's more impressive than DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak. Cowher authored a lot of change from the Chuck Noll years and, at first, I thought it was a mistake and might backfire, but I was wrong. Bill did it his way and he made it work. I'm also impressed by how he's conducted himself in his career after leaving football. He's felt no need to get back into coaching. He moved into the media and he's embraced the role.
Craig from Cedarburg, WI
Some questionable calls, even after reviews, going both ways in the Packers/Seahawks game. What did you think of the officiating in this weekend’s games?
You're complaining? Clowney didn't grab the opening of the helmet, Jones didn't score and Graham didn't make the line to gain. It's still going the Packers' way!
Jack from Lincoln, NE
What are your thoughts on how the Hall of Fame surprised Bill Cowher and Jimmy Johnson to let them know they made it? While both guys definitely deserve it, it seemed tacky to me to shove a camera in their faces when they learn the news.
It's promotion. It's the league selling its product. If Cowher and Johnson don't want a camera shoved in their face, why take a job with TV? They signed up for this. The NFL is super at promoting its product, going back to the days when baseball was the national pastime and football was the college game. All of the coaches and players were cooperative with the media back then, and their willingness to promote the product helped make the NFL what it is. Lombardi was one of the best at it. That "seal here and a seal here" video is a classic example of it.
Tom from Waltham, MA
I can guess you prefer the Titans' power-run, grind-your-opponent-into-dust style of play over KC's new-age, mobile, pass-happy, QB-centric style. But how do the teams match up?
Yes, I like it, but this isn't the 1970's. The Chiefs will win.
Brock from Boston, MA
Still holding that stance against free agents, Vic? See Smiths. Fact remains, the Packers do not win the Bowl in '96 or '10 without free agents and this year's team goes nowhere without them.
You're right, this team would not be where it is without the Smith Bros. What if they had been busts? The Vikings spent a lot of money in free agency. So did the Lions. The bottom line on free agency is you have to hit a home run in it for it to be a success. If you goof, the effects are devastating. Le'Veon Bell? Nick Foles?
Patrick from Dallas, TX
Really enjoyed Micah’s question and your response. It was a very poignant conclusion to his story.
I think he did a great job of expressing himself. We owe him thanks for sharing his joy with us. Thanks, Micah.
Chase from Rapid City, SD
Well-deserved choice giving Jimmy Johnson a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. What are your thoughts on him being inducted into Canton? Do you have any stories with him?
I met Johnson at the 1977 Sugar Bowl. I was in the media hospitality room scavenging for food, along with my buddy Ed Bouchette, when Jackie Sherrill poked his head in the room, saw us and decided we were perfect for his needs. "Hey, boys, say hello to Jimmy Johnson. He's the new defensive coordinator at Pitt," and with that Jackie dumped Jimmy on us for an impromptu press conference that was probably with the intent of allowing Jackie to go down to Bourbon St. We sat there for a half hour listening to Johnson explain his philosophy of defense and feigning interest. Little did we know the fame that lie ahead for Johnson. What I like most about Johnson is no coach ever had greater appreciation for the value of talent and players, not plays. He was a great evaluator of talent and he knew how to collect it and use it. Johnson's pre-cap Cowboys are likely the last great roster in NFL history.
Aaron from White Hall, AR
Say they were both eligible for the draft. Would GM Vic take Joe Burrow or Trevor Lawrence?
Burrow. Lawrence overstrides and throws high. I can't imagine a more perfect fit than Burrow and the Bengals. He's an amazing talent. The Bengals are in a very good way with Andy Dalton. He'd be in the final year of his contract this year and he has no dead money. They can cut him or trade him and his $17.5 million salary would immediately become additional cap room. Good times are ahead in Cincinnati.
Steve from Racine, WI
Was the college football championship game a marching band competition or a football game? I turned the game off.
I muted the TV in the first quarter after shouting, "Turn off the damn band!"
John from Neptune Beach, FL
Clemson and LSU were playing 3-2-6 and 3-1-7 defenses for big parts of the game. With the proliferation of passing and more running quarterbacks in the NFL, how soon before we see these types of defenses on a regular basis?
NFL offenses aspire to balance. If you get too light in the pants, they'll pound you with power. All of those defensive backs in the national title game and both teams refused to run the ball. I didn't think much of the game or the coaching. Dabo Swinney made a miscalculation. Burrow overmatched Lawrence. Dabo should've never gotten into a shootout.
Ben from Hilo, HI
Given a draft containing all 79 Heisman Trophy winners in their respective primes, who would GM Vic pick first overall?
Randy from Billings, MT
Who has a better shot at an upset this Sunday, the Titans or the Packers?
I think the Packers are going to win.