"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F through the football season.
Fawaz from DePere, WI
Vic, I'm a bit surprised this is the hill which you choose to die on. You, more than anyone, should be aware every week across multiple games there are calls made or not made which are incorrect and absolutely change the outcome of games. I will not inundate you with a list of other calls past or present which should warrant an asterisk, as I'm sure many other fans are currently doing so. I fear we can no longer go back after this. By the end of the season every team will have an asterisk next to its name.
What was I thinking? I should've ignored those two calls.
Scott from Lincoln City, OR
Come on, Vic, if you're going to put an asterisk on the Lions you have to do it for the Packers as well for the Eagles loss. Derek Barnett should have been ejected for the egregious hit that put Williams in the hospital on the Packers' first offensive play. He should not have been in the game to do the strip-sack that had such a big impact on the outcome of the game. And if you want to talk about hands-to-the-face penalties, what about the non-call and failed challenge on Avonte Maddox's clear and obvious hand-on-the-facemask pass interference? While nothing will ever make up for the "Fail Mary," at least the Lions game makes up for the Eagles game.
That's the kind of logic that was missing in Wednesday's column.
John from Sun Prairie, WI
There's the asterisk man! I knew you would do it before I read it. Never change, Vic.
I've only used the asterisk twice, but both times it has caused outrage. A week or so ago, I wrote I might bring the asterisk back -- I'm telling you, sometimes this column gets spooky. Well, this was the perfect opportunity. When I used it in 2007, it was after the league penalized the Patriots for Spygate in the Jets game. Jokingly, I put an asterisk next to the Patriots in my all-important power rankings for 14 weeks: "Cheated in one game." Hey, they did cheat; the league convicted them of it, right? This time it seemed to jokingly fit what happened to the Lions: "Were cheated in one game." The league confirmed it the day after the game, right? The asterisk is an attempt at humor. I thought it might lighten the column, but I forgot this is serious business. The Packers are a religion. Their fans bleed green. I apologize for the asterisk. It was disrespectful of such an important event as a Packers victory. I will never try to be humorous again.
Matt from Chicago, IL
Vic, you once asked your readers why they read the column. I have my answer after Monday night's game: You provide balanced and rational perspective.
You better put a hold on that, Matt. I've got a lip fungus they ain't identified yet.
Bob from Port St. Lucie, FL
I agree with the bad calls at the end of the game, but what about the phantom TD by the Lions? One ref said short, the other ruled TD, but did he have a better angle? Replay did not unequivocally show the ball over the line. Replay wouldn't change the call. How should those calls be handled?
I thought the Lions reached the ball over the goal line on the previous play and Matt Patricia should've challenged. I don't like the coach's challenge concept. Get rid of it. Get a sky judge and be done with it.
Matt from Minneapolis, MN
Let me get this straight, you devoted most of your comments about the Packers game about the officiating and basically ignored everything else about the game? Two questionable calls and a non-call constitute three plays of the entire game. Booger and the announcers disgraced themselves with their reaction. It's hypocritical to point out how dangerous and fast the game is, then whine about missed calls. I know, "Fail Mary", but that's completely different.
It's completely different.
Tom from Charlottesville, VA
Vic, is it time for the NFL to employ referees on a full-time basis?
Yeah, then they could spend all week obsessing about penalties and how to call more of them. That's just what we need.
John from St. Augustine, FL
How ironic is it that it’s the run defense costing the Jaguars. I would have thought with Jalen on the bench it would be the pass defense. Good riddance!
It's the greatest trade in Jaguars history and the best since they traded Rob Johnson to the Bills for the ninth overall pick of the 1998 draft, which the Jaguars used to select Fred Taylor.
Scott from Sauk City, WI
The asterisk returns! Never change, Vic. Never change! In all seriousness, yes, the officiating was hot garbage, especially at crunch time. But part of me also blames the Lions for not stepping up and finishing the game off. I think Matt Patricia got too conservative after the first quarter. Are my eyes deceiving me? Or did the Packers defense step up and fix their early problems?
I thought Patricia coached a heckuva game to keep it that close. His backs and receivers are ordinary, his offensive line is a sieve, he has no pass rush and his secondary got torched at crunch time. In my opinion, the Lions are not a division title contender. That's why I dropped them so hard in my all-important power rankings.
Brian from Pleasant Prairie, WI
Do you feel the outcome would have remained the same sans the two phantom hands-to-the-face penalties?
I don't think the Packers would've won that game without those penalties being called. The first one gave the Packers a chance to win, the second one clinched the Packers' win. I believe that opinion to be fair and rational. I didn't ignore the "Fail Mary." I ripped it and I was sensitive in helping Packers fans deal with it.
Nicholas from Superior, WI
Your stance on the officiating of the game surprised me, Vic. I get trying to be new, but the call wasn’t a facemask, it was hands to the face (which includes the neck). Apparently, Flowers can grab hold of Bakhtiari’s collar, but he can’t lift it and drive his fist into his throat. Sorry, not sorry. The ref got it right. They also let quite a bit of DB play go both ways. Did the Packers steal the win? You bet! Welcome to Lambeau!
Robert from Chippewa Falls, WI
If a defensive lineman grabs the upper jersey of an offensive lineman and pushes up under the chin causing the offensive lineman's head to go far back, that’s close enough to the face for me.
So, if the circumstances were reversed and the calls had gone against the Packers and the Lions had won the game, you'd be OK with that?
Matt from Verona, WI
Why do people want a 5-1 team to trade for these available-for-a-reason WRs and RBs that will take weeks to learn the offense?
They're bored and football is their No. 1 source of entertainment. The NFL has become a mania. As a nation, we're obsessed with it. We can't wait for Sunday to come. This recent flurry of trading has also made the weekdays entertaining. My concern is for perspective. I fear we've lost it; today's column is an example of it. To be angry at me for expressing an opinion in a blog I pay to produce and publish and for which I charge nothing to read and in which to participate is kind of nuts.
Joshua from Mankato, MN
I can no longer tell when you’re being sincere versus when you’re being sarcastic. Is that intentional?
Am I intentionally attempting to banter with my readers, enjoy their literary company and stimulate it with respectful playfulness? Of course I am. That's always been the foundation of this column. The power rankings are the best example of a mixture of sincerity and sarcasm. That's why I jokingly refer to them as being all-important. They are absolutely of no importance at all. To those who are genuinely offended by the asterisk, you need to check yourself.
Fabrizio from Fossano, Italy
Asterisk is back!
Mike from Charlotte, NC
Vic, the NFL's TV ratings continue to increase, which means they're making more money. Booger's appeal to the NFL was heard by fans and it generated a lot of discussion about the NFL. Hey, they're in the news. If people want the NFL to change, they're going to have to stop watching. They're going to have to stop reading your column. They're going to have to stop engaging in their Sunday ritual and go do something else. Then the NFL will change something.
I implore anyone who experiences anger, anxiety or an ill feeling of any kind as a result of reading this column to stop reading it. Don't sue the column because it has an LLC and the column is absolutely of no material worth. I am sensitive to what reliance on football for entertainment can do to our sense of balance. I'm not enjoying football as I always have and I recently asked myself if I'm watching it because I love it or because I'm addicted to it. It's a question I need to answer. What question would you ask of yourself?