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.