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    Packers fans 21 years and older are invited to bring the spirit of Green Bay to the Tampa Bay area a day early with two free Packers Everywhere Pep Rallies on Saturday, Dec. 20.

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  • Sat., Dec. 20, 2014 8:15 PM - 9:00 PM CST Packers Everywhere pep rally

    Packers fans 21 years and older are invited to bring the spirit of Green Bay to the Tampa Bay area a day early with two free Packers Everywhere Pep Rallies on Saturday, Dec. 20.

    The festivities will take place at two different locations in the Tampa Bay area Saturday. The main pep rally will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. EST at Ferg’s Sports Bar & Grill, located at 1320 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, Fla. The second event will be held from 8:15 to 9 p.m. at The Varsity Club, located at 24091 US Hwy 19 N., Clearwater, Fla.

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The top 10 reasons to complain are…

Posted May 27, 2013

Memories of Bill Austin, former great Packers offensive line coach

Joey from Manchester, CT

Can Eddie Lacy be a three-down back?

Yes, I believe he can. I watched him last Tuesday catch the ball on swing passes, which I believe define a back’s ability to catch the ball, and he showed me soft hands, steady eyes and the ability to turn his hips as he caught the pass. The question is: Why burn him out when you have another guy, Johnathan Franklin, that can catch the ball?

Wayne from Palo Alto, CA

Vic, Reggie Bush said he went to Detroit to win championships. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. I also laughed out loud when you said you most fear the Vikings. They had a great offseason but Ponder is still behind center. The Bears seem to have only gotten worse. I predict we go 6-0 against our division. Am I over confident?

Yes.

Trent from Orlando, FL

With your time in Pittsburgh, did you know McCarthy?

I did not. The first time I heard his name was when it was mentioned to me that Pitt had a lot of good-looking young coaches (Mike McCarthy, Marvin Lewis, John Gruden, Chris Petersen and others). The next time I heard McCarthy’s name was when I was covering the Jaguars and he interviewed for their offensive coordinator’s job. Then I covered the Packers-Jaguars game in 2008 and I watched McCarthy and his quarterback closely and I was absolutely convinced that would be a winning team, long before I had any reason to believe I would be covering them some day. I can remember writing in my game-day blog that I was very impressed by Aaron Rodgers’ talent and Coach McCarthy’s sideline control and by his offense.

Jimmy from Beijing, China

Vic, I’m spending some time in East Asia, currently in Beijing, and it has been interesting to learn a little bit about how the Chinese view sports. Basketball is huge, and although I found a Jordy Nelson jersey at the local market, the Chinese do not seem to take to football, as they are by nature stoic and physically non-confrontational. It got me thinking, what is it about football that plays so heavily into the American psyche?

Violence; Americans are fascinated by it. That’s why I would caution the commissioner to not go too far with the player safety movement. Football’s popularity is not built on safe.

Christian from Park City, UT

What I would like to read is who looks in great shape and is impressing the press and coaches. In your opinion, who looks superstar and who looks like they should be asked to leave?

From OTAs? You want me to lie so you can be entertained?

Steve from Chicago, IL

I am the kind of guy who avoids stepping on ants and loves Green Bay football. How do you reconcile your love of the game with its inherent violence and disposability of players?

I’m an American.

Dan from Sao Paulo, Brazil

Vic, I know some organizations that use their media outlets only to say sugar-coated words instead of publishing real journalism. That only makes me feel like I can’t take those organizations seriously. Packers.com, on the other hand, takes a professional, impartial approach to journalism that, as I see it, only adds to the organization’s credibility. I really don’t get why you seem to get so many people complaining that you’re not a Packers supporter. Packers fans should be proud to support an organization that promotes such a serious and professional attitude towards journalism, and not the opposite.

The top 10 reasons to complain about Vic Ketchman:

10. He has a Steelers bias.

9. He has a Jaguars bias.

8. He has a Packers bias.

7. He doesn’t have a Packers bias.

6. He doesn’t own a cheesehead.

5. He’s not Midwest nice.

4. He thinks Packers fans are winsome.

3. He likes the Giants.

2. He likes the 49ers.

And the number one reason to complain about Vic Ketchman: When I ask him what he thinks, he doesn’t tell me what I think.

Mark from Hilliard, OH

I agree with you that nobody knows what would have happened if Lombardi had continued to coach, however, his handling of that one year in Washington makes me believe he would have been successful. Tom Landry, Bill Walsh and several others were great, but isn’t it really about getting good players and making good choices, sometimes even just getting out of the way?

That’s exactly what it’s about, and that’s why I don’t think Coach Lombardi would’ve been as successful in putting together a second run as he did the first run. First of all, we’ve talked about Jack Vainisi’s impact on the Packers of the 1960’s. I don’t think his name is nearly as prominent in the history of the Green Bay Packers as it should be. He built that team. Could Lombardi have done it in the 1970’s? Maybe, but the Cowboys had Gil Brandt and the best personnel department in the league at that time. They were introducing computer scouting to the NFL and they were finding players in places the rest of the league wasn’t even looking. Hollywood Henderson, for example, came from Langston. That’s what Lombardi would’ve been up against, twice a year in the NFC East. His only draft as Redskins coach yielded just one long-term, star-type player, running back Larry Brown. Meanwhile, the AFC was dominating the draft. Miami drafted Bob Griese, Larry Csonka, Bill Stanfill and traded their 1970 pick for Paul Warfield. From 1969-74 the Steelers would draft nine future Hall of Famers. The Raiders drafted Gene Upshaw, Ken Stabler, Art Shell and Jack Tatum. The Bengals were drafting as well or better under Paul Brown. I think too much is presumed about Lombardi’s future at Washington. I think his time was in the ’60’s, and it was married to the Packers and it makes for a wonderful story that’s best not spoiled by what might’ve been mediocrity in Washington.

Pacmanny from Las Vegas, NV

As a long-time reader, I’ve noticed you answer a couple of questions and then take one saying you’re right and one saying you’re wrong. I just feel it’s my responsibility to tell you you take way too many questions about history (things that don’t matter). You’re not a textbook and we’re not in school; sometimes I only read the question and skip your answer. Please take more relevant questions to today’s game. Take one history question, then the rest should be about what our players did today or on what your ideas on today’s players are. Honestly, lately you’re boring.

The players are off today.

Patrick from Lancaster, CA

Does the coach make the QB or does the QB make the coach? What say you?

I say the quarterback makes the coach. That’s why it doesn’t make any sense to fire the coach if he doesn’t have the quarterback, but that’s what happens.

John from Waunakee, WI

I have a question regarding Terry Bradshaw. His career numbers, I believe, are a case study in why judging a player by statistics is overrated. The man was a winner, pure and simple. I remember watching his touchdown throw in the Super Bowl where he was knocked into next week by Randy White. He had a cannon and the toughness to hang in and use it. Can you expound on your experience covering Bradshaw?

It was actually Larry Cole, not Randy White. That was Super Bowl X, from which my fondest memory is of seeing Raquel Welch in the press box before the game. Be that as it may, I was once asked to name the most underrated quarterbacks of all time. I thought about it and I answered Jim Hart and Joe Ferguson. So, for a long time, those were my answers to the question. Then, one day it hit me that Bradshaw is at least one answer to the question, because the guy won four Super Bowls in six years, was MVP of two of them and was the first quarterback to take full advantage of the rules changes of 1978, yet, nobody ever mentions his name with the Dan Marinos and John Elways, etc. I think the same can be said of Bart Starr, so replace Hart and Ferguson with Bradshaw and Starr. Thankfully, Starr’s sneak call in the “Ice Bowl” gives him a special place in history that has been denied Bradshaw. If Tom Brady doesn’t win another Super Bowl, and given the parity of today’s game, Bradshaw and Joe Montana might be the only quarterbacks to win four Super Bowls for a long, long time.

Dave from Sarasota, FL

I just read a story that the Chicago Bears are retiring Mike Ditka’s number. This will make 14 numbers that have been retired. With only 100 numbers available, counting 00, how do they handle training camp when you can have up to 90 players?

Teams have to use retired numbers for training camp, but they don’t use them in the regular season. I’m not into the retired number thing because I don’t need to not see a number to know what it means to me. There are several numbers I have “retired” to a place in my heart, where they will always live and belong only to the men I identify as having worn those numbers.

Phil from Green Bay, WI

It upsets me how much credit Lombardi gets for the success he had with the Packers. People need to realize my grandfather (Phil Bengtson) was defensive coordinator and was in total control of the defense. The defense won more games for the Packers than the offense.

You have every reason to be proud of your grandfather’s accomplishments with the Packers.

Eric from Green Bay, WI

Vic, can you give a little Packers history of Johnny Blood?

I wish I could. About all I can give you is this: Years ago, shortly before Johnny died, I was seated next to him at a banquet type of affair. The organizer did that so I might do a story on Johnny. I introduced myself and attempted on several occasions to engage him in conversation, but he brushed me off as though I was asking him to pass the butter. It got to the point that I was clearly annoying him; I don’t remember him talking much at all. Then it hit me: Being nice isn’t what made him a great football player.

Matt from Roanoke, VA

You say you can’t contend for a championship without a strong passing game. What about the 2000 Ravens?

That was prior to the major point of emphasis of 2004, to which I alluded the other day. It’s merely a reemphasis of the 1978 rules changes, especially on the chuck rule, and it changed the game again. As long as the league adheres in the strictest sense to the rules changes of 1978, you can’t win in this league without a strong passing game. The MVPs of the last Super Bowl played before the rules changes of 1978 were defensive linemen (Randy White and Harvey Martin). You have to go back seven years before that to get a quarterback that was MVP of the Super Bowl. After the rules changes of 1978, quarterbacks were MVPs of the next four Super Bowls. Since the major point of emphasis in 2004, there hasn’t been a Super Bowl played in which the MVP wasn’t a quarterback or a wide receiver.

Justin from Las Vegas, NV

I wasn’t sure if the Packers knew but my grandfather, Bill Austin, passed away on May 22. I would like to honor him somehow.

Let’s honor him now by remembering him as one of the finest offensive line coaches in the history of the game. He was the Joe Bugel and Alex Gibbs of his time. He was to the offense what Phil Bengtson was to the defense. Your grandfather was one of the most sought-after assistant coaches in the league when he was named Steelers head coach, and Coach Lombardi campaigned vigorously for your grandfather to get that job. I genuinely believe that if your grandfather could’ve hung onto that job a couple of more years, he might’ve been the coach that got Terry Bradshaw and maybe your grandfather would’ve won Super Bowls. We’ll never know. Here’s my personal memory of your grandfather: I was a teenager sitting in Pitt Stadium. It was a critical point in the game and on a fourth-and-one type of play, your grandfather sent in the punt team, and the crowd booed loudly. He then reversed and sent the offense back onto the field. That was the beginning of the end. I’d love to go back to that moment, change the result and see how it might’ve impacted history. What would’ve changed? I have very strong memories of your grandfather. He helped shape my football consciousness. I’m sorry for your loss.

 

 
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Vic Ketchman

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