"Ask Vic" will publish on Monday and Thursday through the offseason.
Alex from Racine, WI
What is your favorite game memory from each team you've covered over the years?
I can't restrict myself to game memories. "Immaculate Reception," Jagwads in Denver, Cobb's touchdown in Chicago? All wins; happy happy. My mind doesn't work that way. For me, great memories are happy, sad and for purely personal reasons. I covered the Steelers for 23 years, which included a lot of big games, but my most lasting memory is of covering training camp in Latrobe. Looking across those fields down in the bowl and seeing the mountains in the distance is the most beautiful football scene I've ever experienced. It was my Iowa. In Jacksonville, it was the middle-of-the-night pep rally following the playoff win in Denver. It was the fly-by on the team charter, and the pilot dipping the wing to let everyone in the stadium know it was the Jaguars and they'll be right back to party with you. It was just the second year in the franchise's history. It was all new and it was a whirlwind that swept me away. With the Packers, the lasting memory is the most hurtful memory of my reporting career. It's of sitting in the media room in Seattle preparing to interview Mike McCarthy following a win that would put the Packers in the Super Bowl, and then watching it all fall apart. "What am I going to tell those poor people? This isn't fair. This is wrong." I can remember mumbling those words inside my head.
Mark from Yucaipa, CA
The second thing I do after getting my coffee on Mondays and Thursdays is read your column. Haven’t missed one since you introduced yourself in 2011. Thanks for doing this, Vic. Looks like we are possibly going back to the old days of the league just announcing who is being picked. What did you reporters do between picks in the old days? What was it like in those rooms?
We interviewed coaches and scouts. The environment wasn't as antiseptic and confining as it is today. The coaches and scouts would wander down to the lunch room between picks, and that's where we'd go to engage them in conversation. That kind of cooperation and interaction doesn't exist today. It made covering the draft fun. Nowadays, covering the draft is like covering a press conference at the Pentagon.
Mike from Milwaukee, WI
Vic, a few years ago we made those lists of the rankings of the teams with the best combination of the four premium positions. It was kind of fun to think about. Are quarterback, left tackle, pass rusher and cornerback still the four premium positions, and which team do you think has the best set of premium position players (prior to free agency)?
Those are still the four premium positions, at least they are for 31 teams in the league. In Green Bay, the four premium positions are quarterback, wide receiver, tight end and inside linebacker. As for the best combination, I'll go with the Ravens: Jackson, Stanley, Judon and Humphrey.
Raymond from Jacksonville, FL
If the NFL decides 2020 games will be played in empty stadiums, wouldn't it be beneficial to the Jaguars in that the other teams will also have no fans left?
Yeah, get ready for the jokes. If the NFL decides games will be played in empty stadiums, how will they know in Jacksonville? Ha ha.
Adam from Denver, CO
Have you seen anything like this?
Google polio, and I'm not talking about canceling sporting events or running out of toilet paper, I'm talking about real fear.
Leo from Madison, WI
Has the draft always been after free agency? Teams would benefit more if the draft was before free agency, so why won't the league change it?
The players want it this way. They're afraid of teams getting what they need in the draft and then avoiding free agency. What if the draft came first and teams didn't get what they needed in the draft? They'd be desperate to get what they need in free agency and prices would go up.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, why were you drawn to the game of football?
The spectacle and the confrontation touched a nerve inside me. Again, it's the story of a young boy stumbling upon a high school football practice on a hot August day and being mesmerized by what he was seeing. I remember the feeling of excitement and how I couldn't wait to go back there the next day. I began hanging around, trying to get close to it, talk to the players and coaches. I wanted to be part of it. I guess that never changed. Maybe that moment was so intense it caused me arrested behavior and I stayed a child the rest of my life. I can tell you this, football appeals to the savage inside us. Maybe that's what it is.
Justin from Milton, WI
Vic, I love your memories from the years you covered the Steelers. The story you told about your interview with Terry Bradshaw in his training camp dormitory room sticks in my mind, how you asked about his relationship with Coach Noll. Do you have any other funny Terry Bradshaw stories?
Brad had a little dog he loved and he'd even bring it on the plane on the trip back to Pittsburgh following the annual preseason finale in Dallas. One day, I was walking across the locker room and he called to me. "I wanna show you a picture of my new dog," he said. He opened his wallet and showed me the picture. "What happened to the other dog?" I asked. I was afraid it might've died. Now, at the time, Brad was going through a divorce from skater JoJo Starbuck. "She even took the dog," Brad said.
Steven from Pampa, TX
I just now discovered this new blog! It made my day. It’s good to find something lighthearted in the wake of all the issues.
We're all in this together. You know, that might make for a winning campaign slogan.
Barry from Portage, WI
A thinker you are, yet, also a bereft moral deficient. And a covetous boob, as you've dutifully taken as much of my future as you can. Don't get eaten by an alligator on a lazy river, for your beautiful life deserves to witness the precipitates and suffering caused by its scornful industry. Loon.
Dan from Milwaukee, WI
I'd love to see Brian Gutekunst pull off one of these pennies-on-the-dollar trades for a player from a team in rebuilding mode, such as a two or a three for Myles Jack. Do any ideas jump out to you?
Yeah, don't make you my GM when I buy a team. Jack is coming off a bad season, he has knee issues and his salary explodes to $12.75 million this year. A two or a three? You might be able to get him for a six-pack and it wouldn't have to be cold.
Bill from Edisto Beach, SC
If the season is canceled in the fall, who gets paid what?
I have to believe there's language in the CBA to cover cancelation of games or the season. I vaguely remember it being described to me once as a "war clause."
Eric from Minneapolis, MN
If COVID-19 impacts the NFL season, will it also impact the salary cap?
Great question. If the season was to be canceled, revenues would dip dramatically and that would go directly to the 2021 salary cap. There would have to be some kind of new plan or dispensation that would allow teams to get under the cap. I suspect 2021 would become an uncapped year.
David from Madison, WI
Has COVID-19 breached the island? How close is it?
A neighbor's son has returned from France and the family has announced it's self-quarantining itself. It's a selfless act considerate of others and dedicated to the task of defeating this disease. It's what good people do.
Matthew from Madison, WI
How would you fix the franchise tags so both parties would be happy?
The tags are turf for the owners in negotiations. Otherwise, I think the tags are useless. They delay the inevitable and breed enmity between the parties. I don't think they can be fixed in a meaningful way and I'd like to see them go away. The key to making free agency more affordable is making the supply of players equal or exceed the demand for them. The tags are ultimately hurting the teams by reducing supply and driving prices up. Imagine a free-agent crop loaded with affordable talent. Imagine a free agency auction, a draft-like event played out over two weekends. It would get bigger TV ratings than the draft. America would be glued to the TV to see teams bid on Tom Brady. It might get Super Bowl-like ratings.