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Ask Vic

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Who will be the team of this decade?

Posted Jun 26, 2014

Morgan Burnett is my pick for training camp MVP

The 2014 “Ask Vic Day” will include dinner and a movie, an “Ask Vic Live,” and a few other surprises along the way. The event will be held on July 23, 2014, at Lambeau Field. Registration will begin at 4 pm with a 5 pm kickoff. Door prizes will be awarded during the reception. Register by clicking here.

Jason from Dillsburg, PA

Vic, I love football, but I worry. How much higher can salaries drive the cost of the game, before fans are priced out of stadiums and commercials during games become problematic for the sport?

Salaries are attached to the salary cap, which is attached to revenue. If fans get priced out of the stadium, revenues will decline, the cap will recede and so must salaries. The fans are in control.

Thaddeus from Chattanooga, TN

Vic, can you put a bug in someone’s ear and get them to make a better packers.com app? The current one is really bad.

I’m on it. What’s an app?

Jacques from Horicon, WI

I didn’t hear much about Adrian Hubbard from OTAs. How’d the kid look on the field?

Tall.

Andy from South Bend, IN

Is it Ketchum or Ketchman?

It’s Ketchman, but I’ve taken an alias. When I call for a pizza or give my name to wait for a table at a restaurant, I use Bill Smith. I mean, why go to the bother of giving them my real name, spelling it and then waiting for them to mispronounce it when they call me? I’m becoming very fond of Bill Smith. I wish I was Bill Smith.

A.J. from Howard, WI

Would you break down the ILB competition and add your spice to it?

I don’t have a feel for it because I have a feeling Julius Peppers is going to become the other inside linebacker, except he won’t be on the inside. Know what I mean? I wanna wait on this one.

Pablo from Oak Creek, WI

Vic, were there any other teams that were substantially affected by a seasonal rules change?

I think the defenseless receiver rule was a harsh blow for teams whose defenses featured ambush hitters in the middle of the field. Those players and their teams lost a big chunk of their effectiveness when receivers were deemed defenseless. Jack Tatum and George Atkinson would’ve been legislated out of the game had that rules change occurred when they were playing.

Jay from Sheboygan, WI

On the subject of stretching, I got a good full stretch like the coaches wanted once in my life and tore my hamstring on the second play of the game while intercepting a pass. Since then, I do light stretching, if at all, and have never had a problem again.

I’m with you. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result, right?

Kirk from Landen, OH

I am in Dallas today visiting the Texas School Book Depository. What are your memories of that sad and historic day?

I was in the seventh grade. I remember the nuns gathering in the hallway. They were crying. Then we were called to the church, where we got the bad news and were led in prayer. I remember watching TV nonstop through the weekend. The college games were postponed, and that was the weekend of the big rivalry games. The NFL played its games, but they were not televised. Pete Rozelle said it is the greatest regret of his time as commissioner that he didn’t postpone that weekend’s games. I remember seeing a man shot and killed, live on television on Sunday morning. That’s the first time I ever saw a murder. Seven years later I’d see four people murdered.

Elliot from Saint Paul, MN

I think the reason I want a Super Bowl every year is because I want to see this team gain the dynasty status the Packers had in the ’60s. I was born in the late ’80s, so I’ve seen a lot of success, but nothing compared to what I imagine Lombardi’s teams were like.

Those days are gone forever.

Ron from Rhinelander, WI

How did you feel about the Steelers switching from the NFL to the AFL when they did that along with Cleveland and Baltimore to help balance the leagues?

They didn’t switch from the NFL to the AFL; they agreed to become part of the AFC. This was after the merger. All teams were part of the NFL; the AFL was gone. Each team got $3 million to join the AFC. It was a no-brainer. How did I feel about it? I was fine with it. I keep saying it but I’m not getting through. I’m not like you. I’ve never been like you. Even when I was a kid, I had the personality of a sports writer. I liked it all. I was never a fan in the sense that you’re a fan. I was a fan of the game. I watched the Ice Bowl with the same fervor I would’ve felt had the Steelers been playing in it. I didn’t care who won the game; I just enjoyed watching it. Fans will never understand people like me, which is to say media. My joy doesn’t depend on one team winning. I derive my joy from watching the game. It’s always been that way for me. You want me to be like you, but it’ll never happen because I’m not wired like you. You feel sadness. I only feel joy.

Denis from Philadelphia, PA

Vic, did you happen to hear about one soccer player actually biting another soccer player during a World Cup match recently?

As long as he didn’t use his hands, it’s OK.

Dan from Waupun, WI

I thought the Lions, for the past few years, had a darn good team. If it’s players not plays, why don’t the Lions win more games? Where does the coach fit?

The coach is the leader. The Lions had good plays, but they needed something more to get over the top and Coach Schwartz wasn’t able to give it to them. Coach Schwartz gave the Lions what they needed when they were 0-16. He gave them verve. That’s Coach Schwartz’ natural personality and he took that team from meek to macho, and the Lions needed that. Now, Coach Caldwell will attempt to give them that one more thing they need.

Andy from Tokyo, Japan

It seems like certain teams are often stacked at certain positions, like the Packers, who always seem to have high-quality receivers. Is that a result of talent evaluation or player development? How do we do it?

The Packers always have receivers and the Steelers always have linebackers. How do they do it? They draft for it. In the four drafts I’ve covered while in Green Bay, the Packers have drafted nine receivers (including tight ends). The Steelers’ last two first-round picks are linebackers. Those are the positions those teams feature; they are those teams’ identities. The Packers pass the ball and the Steelers rush the passer. You reap what you sow.

Mike from Hopkinsville, KY

Why is it the Packers seem to suffer through so many injuries every year?

Too much stretching.

Walter from Ladysmith, WI

I struck out for the first time this season in slow-pitch softball, Vic. Talk about personal confrontation.

Move and change your name to Bill Smith.

Jason from De Pere, WI

Vic, what was your opinion of the Packers organization and their fans before you worked for them?

It was spot on because it hasn’t changed. I perceived the Packers to be a wholesome franchise with a modern approach to the game, and its fans as loyal, supportive and behaved.

Brett from Green Bay, WI

Vic, who do you think will be the MVP of training camp?

Morgan Burnett.

Johannes from Poechlarn, Austria

Thanks to your inspiring column, I am starting to play football at the age of 28 in the fourth division in Austria. Chapeau!

No biting in real football.

Lance from Chicago, IL

Vic, without giving away too much mystery, what other treasures lie in your study?

The good stuff is in the boxes in the closet. Those boxes have moved six times without having been opened. It’s with the next move that they will be opened and the long journey back in time will begin. I’m afraid to open them now. It’s not the right time.

Kevin from Austin, TX

Vic, numerous fans of one of the lesser teams in our division deride Packers players for incorporating yoga into their training routine. Were Steelers fans recipients of similar jeering when Lynn Swann augmented his training with ballet?

They probably were. I’m not sensitive to that stuff, but I can tell you a fellow media member, a friend and a man who was a media genius, didn’t like Swann’s appearance on Mr. Rogers. He was aghast that a football player would perform ballet on a kids’ show, and I can remember a lively conversation about it at a Saturday dinner on the road the week of Swann’s appearance. My opinion of Swann’s appearance on Mr. Rogers was that it was courageous. At the height of his fame and the infamy the Raiders created by claiming Swann was soft, he had the courage to go on Mr. Rogers and send the message to children that it’s OK to be gentle.

Tom from Louisville, KY

Dash 30 dash; what a beautiful way to end a column when the last question/comment speaks for itself. There is truly no more to say on that topic.

It’s newspaper terminology. Back in the days of paper copy, -30- was written on the bottom of the copy after a story had passed through final editing. It was code to the typesetter that the story is finished and ready to be published. It always gave me a good feeling to write -30- at the bottom of a story.

Paul from De Pere, WI

Those guys who were running backs back in the day (Brown, Simpson, Harris), what position is that guy playing today?

You’re referring to a conversation in the comments section yesterday. I had made the comment that the backs of yesteryear were bigger, stronger, faster than today’s backs, generally speaking. We still have big backs, but not to the degree and prominence of the past. LeSean McCoy, for example, would not have won a rushing title back then; he would’ve been a utility back. Check the sizes of O.J. Simpson, Franco Harris, John Riggins, Earl Campbell, Larry Csonka, Pete Johnson, Ickey Woods, just to name a few. Simpson and Riggins were sprint champions, and Harris and Campbell were much faster than people think. They both have several long touchdown runs to their credit. You just don’t find a lot of backs that big and fast today, and it’s because today’s backs are asked to do more. They’re asked to play in space, rather than play between the tackles. They’re draw runners and misdirection backs. Today’s backs have more wiggle than wallop. The old guys were big, fast pounders. So where are the backs of yesteryear in today’s game? I have a feeling some of them are rushing the passer and others are playing tight end, and some of them might be playing another sport, but the bottom line is football is no longer a pound-it-between-the-tackles game, and the backs of yesteryear are becoming extinct.

Benjamin from Phoenix, AZ

What teams do you feel have a chance to stand out as this decade’s dynasty?

If a team can do it, the Packers and Seahawks seem to be the top candidates. It’s my opinion, however, that for the first time since the game was played with leather helmets, we might not have a team of the decade. Four different teams have won the Super Bowl in this decade, and I think it’s a trend that could continue. The Packers and Seahawks each have the nucleus to be a multiple winner in this decade, but the days of dynasties are over.

Patrick from Green Bay, WI

How come Bart Starr’s name doesn’t come up very often when discussing all-time great quarterbacks?

He has the titles but he doesn’t have the stats. Give me the titles and leave the stats to the Manning fans.

Alex from Galesville, WI

Vic, I am just wondering where you get your pictures for your articles. On 6/24 you have a picture of my dad for your “Ask Vic” questions. I find it extremely funny, crazy and a little creepy. We didn’t even know someone took a picture of him.

It’s OK for fathers to be face painters, Alex. Whatever it takes.

 

 

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