Onoree from Oslo, Norway
I've read some articles about star players negotiating team-friendly deals. Is there really such a thing? Or is that just the player's agent being a spin doctor? In this day and age, I find it hard to believe any professional athlete remotely cares about doing a team-friendly deal. Maybe I'm just cynical.
Usually, a team-friendly deal means the player has agreed to take his salary for next season now as signing bonus in a restructured contract, which allows the team to spread that money out into the years that have been added to the contract, thus, creating room on the current year's salary cap by pushing liability into the future. Team-friendly? How about player-friendly? It's almost always a win-win for the player because he gets his money now, in addition to a little something for the effort, and the years that have been added to his contract are usually contingent on a roster bonus that must be paid on a specific date or the contract will be voided. The player is taking no risk. The team is taking the risk of increased dead money on future caps, should the player not be able to play through the length of the contract, or his performance is not worthy of it. Create too many of these contract restructurings and you'll hear the train whistle.
Nate from Pueblo, CO
As each year passes and new generations seek your football knowledge, do you still like teaching the same lessons to them as you taught us?
The game changes, but it always seems to get back to where it was. If I stick to the time-honored principles of football success, I think the lessons are worthy of learning, and I definitely enjoy advancing them. For example, a long time ago Vince Lombardi said football was first and foremost a running game. I don't think that's as true now as it was then, but every team still wants to run the ball, don't they?
David from Madison, WI
How do you feel about college students that choose not to or are unable to arrive at games at their starts?
Student attendance is in decline and students are arriving later and leaving earlier. A survey I recently read claims today's college students don't regard football to be as big a part of the college experience as they once did. If you're looking for a danger sign for the future of football in America, that's it.
Pete from Minneapolis, MN
Disappointing answer on guns, Vic.
I'm not sure what your bent is on this subject, but here's mine: We've got a big problem in this country, and a lot of innocent people have died and more are going to die if we don't fix it soon. It is unconscionable for this issue to be politicked.
Giuseppe from Byron, WI
Can you kindly go back and answer Aaron from Indiana with the wise insight he requested, instead of a wise-you-know-what answer? That is, if Packers were to franchise Rodgers, what are the pitfalls and benefits, in your opinion, of going down this route?
You really need this spelled out, huh? My answer didn't give you a strong idea of where I stand on this? OK, here it is: The Packers have two more years before they have to do anything. The last information they had on Aaron Rodgers' recovery is not good. What's the rush? I don't regard hard feelings to be a pitfall. Football is not a feel-good game. It's a rugged business, and that's it's charm. I see no pitfall, only the benefit of taking their time to make sure they get it right.
Gabor from Budapest, Hungary
Vic, who was the last non-quarterback GOAT?
If you're referring to the overall greatest football player of all time, it's probably Jim Brown.
Eric from Hudson, WI
Are top-tier players making too much money to really care?
In many cases, yes, and that's why it's critical to identify those players before you give them the big bucks. You're looking for the personality type that feels obligated to play up to his pay grade. Entitlement must be avoided. When I covered the Steelers, they took their comptroller with them on road trips. He would sit at the locker room door following the game and hand each player his check as he left the room. They didn't deposit the money to the player's checking account later in the week, they let it burn in his hand while thoughts of his performance were fresh on his mind. The message was: It's play for pay; how'd you play?
Jerry from Kansas City, MO
Justin from Waukesha had a question that made me think a little. I was born in 1983 into a poor family and raised by a single mother living in rural Wisconsin. While I understand hardship to a degree, I have probably known about five truly difficult days throughout my whole life. Can't we all just be happy we got a crack at this thing called life and help the less fortunate if we have the means to do so?
That's what a civilized nation and its people do.
Rosco from Oshkosh, WI
Packers draft needs are pass rush, middle linebacker, tight-end, receiver. We could use any/all of those. What if a potential Pro Bowl defensive tackle fell to the Packers in the draft (Vita Vea or Da'Ron Payne)? Do you take him instead?
If he's the top guy on the board, pick him. You'll never regret picking a quality big guy.
Nathan from New York, NY
Vic, has the unwillingness of parents to allow their kids to play football led to an inferior product of the game which, in turn, has led to worse defense?
No, because football is by and large being played by young men from desperate backgrounds. Nearly everything in their lives is worse than a bump on the head. By and large, football is being played by the poor for the entertainment of the rich.
Anthony from Baraboo, WI
Vic, if the Packers let Aaron Rodgers' contract run out and then franchise tagged him for the rest of his career, how do you think that would affect Rodgers' attitude toward the Packers? Would he see it as just a business move, or would he feel disrespected?
Why is everyone so concerned about Rodgers' feelings? Hey, his union negotiated the franchise tag into the CBA. It's available to every team to use in managing its salary cap and retaining rights to its players. The franchise tag is part of the process; the players agreed to it. I would expect him to be angry, but that's the way it goes. Twenty-five million dollars of guaranteed money isn't exactly a hardship.
Neil from Cheddar, UK
So, with Jerry Kramer finally getting into the Hall of Fame, how good a coach was Vince Lombardi? With 12 players from his time in Green Bay now in the Hall, was it players or plays? This question would not need to be asked if Vince had more years in Washington. I am sure we would have had our answer one way or the other.
This is crazy talk. Lombardi was a great coach and he had great players. No more analysis is necessary, and he certainly didn't need to prove anything in Washington to cement his position in pro football lore.
Adam from Wausau, WI
Why does it seem liberals gravitate to the journalism profession?
I don't think journalism attracts liberals as much as it produces them. Reporters spend their careers covering stories of corruption, injustice and poverty, and I think it's natural for someone exposed to those circumstances to become sensitive to them and campaign against them.
Mike from Niagara Falls, Canada
The Hall of Fame finally righted one of its biggest wrongs with Jerry Kramer. I'm so glad he'll be alive to enjoy this. Do you think Donnie Shell will ever get his due?
Donnie is one of the best players I've ever covered, but I don't think the Hall of Fame is in his future. Today's game is featuring safeties. They're much more high profile. Troy Polamalu is the next Steelers safety to make it into the Hall of Fame; he's the best example of a modern-day safety. If I was on the selection committee and was making a pitch for Shell, I would point to his 51 career interceptions, which is an amazing number for a safety from the run-the-ball era who was known for his hard-hitting run support. His rib-breaking tackle on Earl Campbell is probably the defining moment of Shell's career.
Brian from Yakima, WA
If you could add the next Luke Kuechly, Nick Collins, Derrick Thomas or Rod Woodson in the first round for the Packers, which one do you think helps their defense the most?
John from South Lake Tahoe, CA
Well, it appears the Jaguars will be removing all tarps from Everbank Field for next season. Did you ever think you'd see the day?
I did. My hope is it'll be lasting. It would be a travesty should the Jaguars have to reverse field on this issue and cover those seats again. Momentum would be lost and embarrassment would return. This has to be a forever-and-ever decision or it will have been a mistake. I hope they have solid reason to believe they can sell those seats for the long term, and they're not just thumping their chests in celebration of their success in 2017.