"Ask Vic" will publish on Mondays and Thursdays through the offseason.
Darren from Mackinaw, IL
Vic, other than player safety, in your time covering professional football, what has changed for the better and makes the game more fun to watch for you?
It's not more fun for me to watch. I enjoyed football more when it was less entertaining and more meaningful. I touched on this in my previous column. I had always regarded football as a noble endeavor. The coaches from my early years covering the game -- Chuck Noll, Don Shula, Tom Landry, Paul Brown, Bum Phillips, Bill Walsh, Bud Grant and others -- were noble men of esteem and principle. They left a mark on me. The same is true of the team owners, beginning with Art Rooney. Football was best for me when it was a game of will. The "Ice Bowl" defined the game I loved and became my obsession. I have always wanted to write about the human confrontation football represents. I loved the patience, endurance, sacrifice, loyalty and dignity I found in football. I don't find these qualities as readily in today's game.
Jared from Rigby, ID
Vic, what do you remember about the Bills teams that went to the Super Bowl four straight years and lost?
Beyond its explosive offense, I remember a defense that was loaded with star players but never seemed to get it done. How do you have a defense with Bruce Smith, Cornelius Bennett, Shane Conlan and Nate Odomes on it and give up 52 points?
Tim from Jacksonville, FL
Bill Belichick can't be considered in the football coach Mt. Rushmore because he hasn't contributed anything new to the game. Bill Walsh created the West Coast offense. Nick Saban modernized college football. What has Belichick done?
Belichick taught us how to win in the salary cap era: Find a great quarterback, draft and patch. He also popularized going for it on fourth down at midfield. He's the first coach I can remember routinely throwing on short yardage. He's also the coach who turned the preseason into a scrimmage for non-essential personnel. I was at Gillette Stadium the night Belichick benched his entire starting lineup for a preseason game. I remember thinking to myself Pete Rozelle would've been furious. I think you can say Belichick modernized professional football.
Samuel from Jacksonville, FL
There are rumors coming out of Philadelphia the players prefer Nick Foles over Carson Wentz. In most cases, you go with the younger high draft pick but this is a totally different situation. Who does coach Vic go with?
I remember a story about how the Steelers preferred Terry Hanratty over Terry Bradshaw. It angered Joe Greene. After games in which Bradshaw starred, Greene would say, "How'd you like our quarterback today?" Joe knew you win with talent, not popularity.
Pat from Collierville, TN
Put on your GM hat. After watching the games this past weekend, it seems the Packers are farther away from another Super Bowl appearance than most want to admit. The NFC participants seem to have more overall team speed and willingness to gang tackle. How long do you think it will take for the Packers to be relevant for a championship?
As I've written, what the Packers do in free agency will answer the question. If they spend a lot of money in free agency, either the wait is over, or the wait will have gotten longer.
Kirsten from Madison, WI
If you're the Packers drafting at 12th and 30th, do you use the 30th to trade up into the top 10?
If they can target a player they believe can be a difference-maker, and be able to move up to draft him without giving away more than those two picks, go ahead and make the deal. Clay Matthews and Troy Polamalu are examples of trade-up picks that worked. Be that as it may, I don't think the Packers are one player away. Two good players are better than one.
Will from Salt Lake City, UT
How do you feel Sean Payton handled the blown call in his press conference? I have only seen clips, but he did not seem to handle it well, but I don't blame him. I remember McCarthy holding his composure very well after the "Fail Mary."
Payton handled it better than his team's owner. In my mind, after the way Payton's team lost in the playoffs a year ago, he doesn't have the right to complain about anything.
Dave from Madison, WI
I’m worried what the rules committee is going to do this offseason. If we allow review of penalties that weren’t called, won’t there be multiple flags on every play?
Here's the best I can offer: If a review official sees what he believes to be a blatant miscarriage of justice, stop the game and fix it. That should also allow the league to get rid of the coach's challenge rule.
Milan from New York
Vic, you are the best. Only you pointed out the reason the Saints played at home was because of two phantom calls on Joe Haden. What goes around, comes around.
Saints owner Gayle Benson made me chuckle with her statement about the no-call in the NFC title game: "No team should ever be denied to reach the title game based on the actions, or inactions, of those charged with creating a fair and equitable playing field." The Superdome was a fair and equitable playing field on Sunday? The Saints did everything they could to make it unfair. Vic to Saints: You're done. You blew your big chance a year ago.
Patrick from Indianapolis, IN
Vic, are you surprised by how many Packers fans seem to think the Packers will be legitimate contenders next season? I feel like an awful lot of fans feel LaFleur will fix Aaron and fix the offense, Gutekunst should/will sign multiple free agents that will plug all the roster holes, along with the draft, the defense just needs to get healthy, and the Packers will be back near the top of the NFC next season. I don't think those fans understand just how much change the franchise is facing right now. To think everything can get turned around in just one offseason (especially with a new coach) just seems extremely unrealistic to me. Am I wrong on this?
If you're a Packers fans -- I have a feeling you aren't -- I would say your attitude is healthy. If you're asking me to explain why Packers fans have such enduring optimism, I would say it's because having a great quarterback means you always have high hopes. Also, it's impossible to predict the impact of injuries, weather, strength of schedule, etc. Sometimes the gods favor a particular team.
Wendell from Porto Alegre, Brazil
What do you think of the Saints' cap management? They always try to kick cap hits to following years, even creating voided years in contracts to split the signing bonus hit. I understand they are doing this to improve the chances in Brees' final years and they could keep doing this for the foreseeable future, but for me it's very risky for the franchise's future.
The Saints aren't marching in, they're marching out.
Jim from Maple Grove, MN
Vic, the most meaningless game of the season is upon us. Would you be so kind as to share with us your perspective on the Pro Bowl and its evolution over the years? Was there ever a point when you thought it was a worthwhile event?
I remember being a kid and watching Johnny Unitas rally his team to victory, and thinking it was a pretty cool game. I can't remember another Pro Bowl that was meaningful to me. I only ever got one story out of the Pro Bowl I used. Joe Greene told me how there were eight Steelers in the defensive huddle, Jack Lambert started calling Steelers defensive plays and said, "The rest of you guys stay out of the way."
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, what do the Rams have to do to beat the Patriots, besides scoring more points?
Aaron Donald needs to have an MVP type of game or Tom Brady will pick the Rams secondary apart.