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.