Ryan from Thorp, WI
Vic, can the Patriots continue their great run of success next season given the key coaching departures and Brady being another year older? How much longer can they continue to dominate the AFC?
The Patriots are ordinary in every way except one, Tom Brady. Gronkowski is a Brady invention, just as Deion Branch was. The question is: How long can Brady keep the Pats on top? In my opinion, the Pats have reached the end. I don't think a 41-year-old quarterback should be expected to play at a dominant level. The cliff comes quickly at his age. Joe Greene is the most dominant defensive lineman I've covered. Then, one day, he couldn't get off a block. It happened that quickly and it's happened that way to most of the great players I've covered. An injury has usually done it. With Greene, it was a pinched nerve in his neck. Lambert was a toe, Ham was an ankle, Bradshaw was an elbow, Boselli was a labrum, etc. What will it be for Brady?
Bubba from Pocatello, ID
I don’t believe the Josh McDaniels last-minute succession story. It’s highly unlikely a succession plan developed overnight for the Patriots. Is it possible McDaniels and the Patriots intentionally planned this fiasco with the Colts as payback for "Deflategate?"
The Colts got lucky. What Patriots coach has been successful after Tom Brady got him a head job? Charlie Weiss, Romeo Crennel, McDaniels once already, Bill O'Brien, Eric Mangini have all failed away from Brady, although the verdict on O'Brien is still pending. The game is full of great young coaches. The Colts now have a chance to step back from their obsession with McDaniels and find the right guy for the job. This is a positive turn of events for the Colts. I love Tony Dungy's take on it. He nailed McDaniels for betraying the assistant coaches who were going to join him and now find themselves in a tough spot. Good for Tony, although I don't agree with his opinion on Bob Kraft and the Patriots. I think they're as culpable as McDaniels is in this matter. People talk about the Patriots' way. Well, this is the Patriots' way: Victory without honor, and I think the victory part is about to change.
Ben from Hilo, HI
What will you remember most vividly about the 2017 season?
I'll remember it as the catch rule season. I'll remember it as the year Jesse James was ruled not to have caught the ball, and Zach Ertz was the hero of the Super Bowl for a play that was eerily similar to James'.
Ben from El Paso, TX
What do you think about the XFL being an alternative to college football for players directly out of high school?
If a young man isn't serious about pursuing a college degree, I would rather he not take up space better used by someone with the proper intent. The XFL might be a better place for the player who doesn't want to be a student.
Paul from Cumming, GA
For some reason, this Super Bowl didn't resonate with me. Despite all of the scoring and back and forth, it seemed to lack the physicality and confrontation that define football. Am I justified in feeling this way?
It's basketball on grass and it's the future of football. Steelers-Bengals is the past. Ironically, Steelers-Bengals was a TV ratings bonanza; Super Bowl LII wasn't. As I've written several times, the popularity of pro football wasn't built on safe.
Steve from New Britain, CT
Vic, would you agree that when Pats receiver Chris Hogan was whacked while running downfield on the "Hail Mary" play, it should have at least resulted in one more play being awarded to the Pats without any time left on the clock?
Your question angers me, especially in a season in which the Pats benefited from the wrong calls on the Seferian-Jenkins and Kelvin Benjamin plays. The Patriots have gotten plenty of breaks through the years, beginning with that tuck rule call in the playoff win over the Raiders. Maybe the good times are over, Steve. Deal with it!
Lee from Marshfield, WI
What is wrong with guaranteed money when it comes to premium players like quarterback, left tackle, pass rusher and cornerback? Wouldn't that help the salary cap?
Signing bonus is guaranteed money and it must be divided evenly over the life of the contract. I begin hearing the train whistle when teams convert salary to signing bonus, which is a way of pushing this year out into all of the other years. That's what the Jaguars did. They did so much of it they couldn't have gotten under the cap in 2002 if it wasn't for the Texans expansion draft; the league would've had to begin voiding contracts. Injury is a cap killer for all teams, even those that are cap conservative, and that's especially true at the big-money positions, which you've named. On the cap but not on the roster is dead money, and it means you're playing with less than a full cap. Every team has dead money, but it must be kept to a minimum.
Jake from Knoxville, TN
I finally got around to watching Pettine’s first press conference. Pretty cool to hear he got his start under Johnny Majors. Do you have any stories about Majors from his time in Pittsburgh?
They are some of the best years of my career. Coach Majors was a joy to cover. When the Steelers and Pitt played at home on the same weekend, I'd cover the Pitt game on Saturday. It was an exciting time for a young reporter. I covered the 1977 Sugar Bowl game between Pitt and Georgia. It was that year's version of the national championship game. Coach Majors was leaving Pitt to go back to Tennessee; Jackie Sherrill was replacing Majors at Pitt. In the postgame press conference, after Coach Majors answered the final question, he winked at me and walked out the door with two guys in orange coats. I saw Coach Majors and Sherrill pass each other in the hallway; Coach Majors was walking out, Sherrill was walking in. Those are the kinds of things I remember from all my years covering this wonderful game. Memories have made me rich.
Rudy from Milwaukee, WI
Vic, remember to tell people that with the recent downturn in the stock market they should "always buy, never sell." They will win out in the long run.
It's a motto that can be applied to life.
Paul from McLeansville, NC
So your choice is to grab a pass rusher before a cornerback. I agree. So who would you put as two possible choices for Green Bay with pick 14?
Tony Pauline already gave us one: Marcus Davenport. More names will emerge with time.
Dave from Savage, MN
Now we wait for the tags to be designated.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, as a football reporter, how did you transition from the excitement of the season to the quieter realms of the offseason?
Back in the '80's, I began a tradition of going to Myrtle Beach to play golf with a group of football writers. We'd leave right after the season ended. The last time I did it was after the Packers lost in Seattle in the 2014 NFC title game. I never needed that trip more than I did that year. The following year, it became a one-way trip to South Carolina.
Chris from Bozeman, MT
Vic, you're all over the place with your assessment of Aaron Rodgers. Do you think the Packers should prepare for a future without Aaron Rodgers now? You have not maintained a consistent viewpoint since his injury. Your flip flops are taking over your opinions.
I think I've been very consistent in my stance on this subject. In fact, I think I'm the first to suggest it, as unpopular as it's been. Yes, I think the Packers should begin considering a future without Rodgers. I don't think they need to force the issue, yet, but if a quarterback they really like is available to them in the first round, pick him. Are we clear now?
Braden from Waukesha, WI
Vic, in my own words, one of the messages you try to deliver often is football is enjoyment, don't take it too seriously. I've slowly started to adjust my mindset when I watch the Packers. I enjoy the victories but I can't affect the play on the field, so to have my day ruined by a loss is childish. I love reading Packers articles and seeing all the rumors this time of year. At the same time, I find myself reading fewer articles since I'm not as emotionally invested anymore. I can't change the roster, the playbook or the play on the field, I can only sit back and enjoy the product. Does your message not push away readers?
It appears to be attracting them to this site. My numbers are exploding and I haven't done anything to advertise the site. Maybe readers seek the truth.
Jim from Madison, WI
Vic, if the NFL wants to change what a catch is and simplify rules, why doesn't the NFL make a catch a non-reviewable play? Simply put, a catch is what a referee deems to be a catch.
If it looks like a catch, it's a catch, and I'm not opposed to using replay review. That's my stance on the subject. We all know Jesse James caught that pass. Hey, he reached out the ball with two hands firmly on it. Reversing that call was the right decision according to the rule, but it was an insult to the fans' common sense. Control should be the only requirement. Once a receiver demonstrates control, it's a catch. I think the league will be successful in revising the rule if it takes that approach.
Don from Oak Creek, WI
I am recovering from surgery and I found your blog. After following you since day one in Green Bay, I'm excited to have the opportunity to read your insights again! With all the changes they have made, is the Packers' arrow pointing up?
It's pointing to the side right now. It's up or down direction will be determined by what happens in the offseason. A lot of teams are in that position. I think the Steelers are one of them.
Rich from Phoenix, AZ
Vic, seeing as you're on the Brady wagon, how do you feel about Brady just exiting the field and not shaking any hands? If I were the GOAT, why wouldn't I want to congratulate a guy like Nick Foles?
I like it. Lombardi didn't hug and kiss; neither did Noll. I want to know it hurts. I want to know what I watched was real.
Nate from New Berlin, WI
Was it a three-phases game or was it Brady vs. Foles?
It was clearly a three-phases game and the Eagles were the winner in all three phases, but the greatness of Tom Brady was still able to make it a quarterback shootout.
Blaine from Bagley, WI
Cousins, Keenum, Brees, Bradford, Garoppolo or Bridgewater? Which of the pending free agents do you consider to be "The Man" for their 2018 team?
With what the 49ers are going to pay Garoppolo, if he doesn't become "The Man," the 49ers will go back into hiding for a long time.
Eddie from Jacksonville, FL
Vic, glad to have you back. I think the reporters got it wrong again. How is Boselli not in the Hall of Fame? I know it's harder to judge offensive linemen vs skill players but come on.
Tony didn't have enough catches and end zone celebrations. He didn't wipe himself on a goal post and misbehave off the field, or throw temper tantrums on the sideline and otherwise destroy team unity. Tony's problem is he just did his job better than anyone else at his position, as did Alan Faneca. I guess that doesn't count in the Hall of Fame of Wide Receivers.
David from Madison, WI
Were the original Jaguars aware of their march toward cap hell as it was happening?
They chose to ignore it. Wayne Weaver blamed it on the quest for the Super Bowl being a powerful opiate. It was so powerful the Jaguars restructured contracts and pushed money out in 2000 and, again, in 2001. I guess at that point it didn't matter; they were dead team walking. When they were finally forced to cut and gut, Wayne said insanity was doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. It was insane all right, but it nearly worked.