Mike from Niagara Falls, Canada
Pretty fair assessment on the XFL, however, the failure of that league was then and this is now. The NFL was untouchable in the early 2000's. I’m pretty sure any other football league would’ve folded at the time. Now, the NFL’s arrow is pointing downward. Fans are angry and the NFL keeps making decisions that gets fans even angrier. Now those angry fans will have an alternative. I know we shouldn’t take the XFL as a serious threat, but Blockbuster didn’t take Netflix seriously, either.
The NFL's arrow isn't pointing down and won't point down until revenues decline, and that's not happening because the NFL is woven more deeply into the fabric of America than ever before. We have to have it. This Sunday's Super Bowl is the No. 1 entertainment event of the year. Amazing! Super Bowl I wasn't even sold out. You're right about the fans; they're angry. Americans are angry about everything. They're even angry at each other. Imagine if we had gas lines as we did in the '70's. There aren't enough markets left for a rival pro football league to succeed. The NFL owns football. It is no longer the college game, it is the NFL game.
Jay from Omaha, NE
Vic, please help me understand the trajectory of Eddie Lacy's career. How can a former rookie of the year, who started his career off strongly with two great seasons, experience such a sharp, sudden decline?
In the days prior to the 2013 draft, the Steelers discovered Lacy had undergone toe fusion surgery. He was their guy but the toe surgery revelation caused them not to draft him because they believed it would cause Lacy to have a short career. Did the toe get him? I don't know. Information on it was never divulged, but I considered the possibility it was at the root of his chronic ankle problems. Hey, football is a short-career sport. That's why I say it's a game of replacement.
Mark from Ventura, CA
Do the Cleveland Browns draft a quarterback at both one and four in the upcoming draft, or just one quarterback?
It would be reckless cap and personnel management to draft two quarterbacks that high. At some point the Browns would have to choose between the two. Why delay the decision? Pick now and get on with finding out if you made the right choice. That's why the Browns are paying John Dorsey a big buck. It's his job to know which one to pick. It's a crystal ball business.
Karl from Albuquerque, NM
Vic, given the high number of QB draft picks turning out to be busts, how much of the success of drafting a QB is luck? Is the QB position a harder position to pick successfully than other positions?
Yeah, because the demands of the quarterback position are greater than those of any other position. Successful drafting is all about predicting a prospect's future. It's about knowing what his ceiling is. You know what he is. The question is what will he become? He must be able to achieve a higher level of performance. If this is as good as he's gonna be, he'll be a bust. How about Baker Mayfield? Does he have the look of a guy with a higher level in him, or is this as good as he's gonna be? I'm not sold on him.
Mike from North Hudson, WI
Vic, in regards to the Packers, what will you be watching for heading into the start of the regular season?
First up, I want to see what they do in free agency. Are they going to be more active in it? Next, I want to see them draft. Will they continue to be a trade-back-and-collect-talent drafter, or might they trade up and swing for the fence? Before I can get a feel for what they'll do on the field, I want to get a feel for any changes in philosophy and operation. They have a new GM. He's going to put his stamp on this team. I want to know what that stamp is going to be.
Mark from Bettendorf, IA
Vic, no more Chief Wahoo? When did we stop having fun?
I don't like fun that causes others misery. I support what baseball did.
Marty from Grafton, WI
Vic, you said the Packers would not be here if it wasn't for Pete and the things he did. What other teams would be gone? How many teams would there be? What would the NFL look like now?
It's difficult for me to imagine the NFL not negotiating a leaguewide TV contract -- that's by far the biggest piece of sharing the revenue -- but I'll give it a whirl. For starters, all of the big-market teams would have major network deals. Before Pete Rozelle delivered the CBS leaguewide deal in 1962, each team negotiated its own TV contract. The Rams had a deal with Admiral TV that was considered cutting edge, and the Steelers and Colts had a two-team deal with NBC, I believe it was. Home markets were blacked out back then, so when the Steelers were at home we saw the Colts and when the Colts were at home Baltimore saw the Steelers. It guaranteed an NFL game in the Pittsburgh and Baltimore markets each Sunday. If there was no leaguewide TV contract, I think you'd see a lot of those combination-type deals. For example, CBS would own the rights to the Giants, Eagles, Bears and Rams, and NBC would own the rights to the Jets, Patriots, Steelers and Chargers. ABC, FOX and ESPN would each have a stable of teams, and TNT would probably get involved, too. The Packers of today would certainly be attractive to a network, but I don't think the franchise would've survived as we know it today without the CBS deal Pete negotiated and his share-the-revenue plan.
Jesse from Bonita Springs, FL
So I flew back to Wisconsin this week for meetings at corporate and had to fill the tank. Every time I do this in the frigid cold I say to myself this is baloney, but I don’t say baloney. Has anyone mentioned it’s balogna and not baloney? Thanks for making me laugh at such a mundane task, Vic.
You need to look up the definition of the word baloney.
Kevin from Kenilworth, UK
When you were in Jacksonville, you often mentioned your two dogs in the "Ask Vic" column. Did either of those friends of yours make it to Edisto Beach, or did you lose them in the move?
Kaylee passed in Jacksonville. It broke my heart. Jake made it to South Carolina. He died last winter at the ripe age of 17. Memories do, indeed, make us rich.
Chase from Madisonville, KY
Vic, who was more intense, Jack Lambert or Joe Greene?
Lambert was more intense, but Joe had that scary look that let you know he was experiencing bad thoughts. After a galling loss in Oakland in the 1976 AFC title game, Lambert said, "Give me a six pack and 20 minutes and I'll go out and play them again." Wonderful words! Those are the moments I remember fondly from my career. Jack truly wanted to do more than just contribute. Joe was an easy-going mean guy. You don't get a lot of that combination. On the final play of the first half of a game in Cleveland, as everyone's eyes were following a rainbow Hail Mary by Brian Sipe fall harmlessly incomplete, Joe used the opportunity to punch Browns center Tom Deleone in the stomach. I just happened to see it because the roof of Cleveland Stadium blocked my view of the ball, so I dropped my eyes in disgust and there was Joe punching Deleone. After the game, I said to Joe, "I saw what you did to Deleone." Joe smiled.
Bill from Sheboygan, WI
What did you think of the SOTU address?
I'm ashamed of our leaders' behavior, going back to the Republican butthead who yelled liar during President Obama's State of the Union address, and including the Democrat cretins who booed at Tuesday night's event. What did this to us? If cable news did this to us, which I think it did, then I'm doubly ashamed because I'm media and it is not the job of the media to prey on the emotions of its readers and viewers.
Justin from Titonka, IA
Who are the winners and losers of the Alex Smith trade?
Smith is the only winner. The Redskins aren't good enough for Smith to make a difference, and the Chiefs didn't get enough in return for Smith to make the trade meaningful.
Jesse from Anaconda, MT
Who wins on Sunday?
I'm picking the Eagles. They have a better roster. If they can make it a three-phases game, they'll win. If it's Brady vs. Foles, the Pats will win.
Stephen from Jacksonville, FL
What Super Bowl do you think has featured the best pair of starting quarterbacks? Bradshaw vs. Staubach, Marino vs. Montana and Brees vs. Manning come to my mind as the most obvious top matchups. Who’s the best quarterback Tom Brady has faced in the Super Bowl?
How about Favre vs. Elway? There have been a lot of great matchups. Manning vs. Grossman? That's probably the worst. Kurt Warner was flying high when Brady faced him. I think the Rams coach lost that game. Why did he stop running Marshall Faulk?
Tim from Lancaster, PA
True or false? If the Jags played at the exact same level versus the Patriots as they did against the Steelers, do they win?
No. They gave up 552 yards and six touchdowns against the Steelers and there was no garbage time. The Jags defense fell in love with itself with its performance against Buffalo. It lost its grit and desperation. Celebration became more important than execution. Never sell, only buy.
Nick from Water Mill, NY
So Tarkenton mentions the obviousness of PED use on the part of the Steelers in the mid seventies. You were there, Vic. What's the scoop and how did it mold your view then of the evolution of the sport?
Did Tarkenton also mention steroids were legal to use back then? I did a story in 1974 on this new drug called steroids. Chuck Noll talked about their miraculous healing powers and Rocky Bleier was the example. It wasn't until a few years later we learned they could be used in a negative way. A rookie named Steve Courson whipped Joe Greene in an Oklahoma drill and we all knew something bad was in the wind. I still think it's a problem. I think players are beating the testing.
Isaac from Nashville, TN
Vic, do you remember what you thought when Blount, then with the Bucs, broke off that big TD run in 2011? That was the first moment I began to worry Green Bay could score lots of points but couldn't impose its will.
You da man, Isaac. You get it. That was pure power and my first thought was the Packers were weak at the point of attack. That's been the bottom line. The Packers defenses have been weak at the point of attack. That's been the No. 1 problem.
Braden from Waukesha, WI
What does a fan do to be new?
Packers fans need to adjust their expectations. Stop with the Super Bowl stuff and grasp the fact this is a franchise in transition.
Adam from Wausau, WI
I've spent a lot of years hating Tom Brady because he's better than Aaron Rodgers. By hating him all these years I haven't truly been able to appreciate his greatness. Something happened to me during last year's Super Bowl that changed that. This Super Bowl I will just sit back and truly appreciate the greatness I will be witnessing.
It's called surrender.
Randy from Billings, MT
Vic, if Josh Allen, the Wyoming QB, is available at pick 14, do you draft him or trade the pick, like the Packers did last year with T.J. Watt?
If you really like him, you pick him. I think the Packers have reached that point.
Bob from Sumter, SC
How do you beat Brady?
You rush him. That's how the Broncos beat him. You make him move his feet. He's beginning to sack himself. It's the first sign of age. As Bill Cowher said, "Rush the quarterback."