"Ask Vic" will publish on Mondays and Thursdays through the offseason.
Dan from Torrance, CA
You were asked how to write a story. Which story you have told is your favorite?
It would be the story of training camp, before it became the impostor it is today. The real training camp was where unknowns chased their dream and the greats of the game tried to hold on for one more year. It was a test of toughness, will and determination. Back then, training camp began shortly after the Fourth of July and lasted until Labor Day. It was two-a-days every day, full pads, the Oklahoma, nine-on-sevens, blocking sleds, searing heat, six preseason games, unlimited roster sizes and players being cut from the roster almost daily. It was hope arriving and despair leaving. I loved telling its stories, from the grit of the undrafted free agents trying to dodge "The Turk," to the guile of the veterans trying to hold off the charge of the young lions. It was paradise for a reporter. It was a time when a reporter could sit in a player's dorm room and ask him what he thought, and he'd tell you. The young would humbly beat their chest and send the message "I'm here," and the grizzled veteran would reflect on a career he knew was nearing its end. Training camp was a rite of passage and it's the best story I've ever written.
Jim from Maple Grove, MN
What do you make of the league's proposal to incentivize minority hires for GM and head coach via boosting a team's third-round draft order?
I don't like it because I think it interferes with competitive balance and the intent of the inverted draft order. I say find another way to promote minority hires. How about a fund for paying a portion of minority hires' salaries? They don't count against the cap, so it wouldn't create a competitive imbalance.
Daniel from Arizona
Vic, do you really think we are so slow on the uptick we’d believe you have all of your money in stocks? You’re 60-plus years old; you shouldn’t have all of your assets in stocks. Teenagers know this. You didn’t lose 40 percent of your money. That isn’t believable.
Bonds are for sissies. You have to buy them in huge amounts and their reward is miniscule. They move in drips and drops. If you're lucky, they'll pay the fees. When the market is going good, bonds are the red number that makes you feel bad. When the market is going bad, bonds are the green number that's too small to make a difference. I rode the elevator all the way down, I'll ride it all the way back up, and along the way I'll collect my dividends. Move to cash? If you don't have a crystal ball, you might not know when to get back in and, of course, you won't receive dividends while you're on the sideline. In my mind, the best philosophy during a drop is to put your hands in your pockets.
Daniel from Richmond, TX
Vic, did you know if you get hit by a bus as an asymptomatic carrier of Covid-19 that would be considered a Covid death? No credibility in the data. We're going back to work. Feel free to stay inside.
OK, Dan, thanks.
Bob from Kennesaw, GA
At what point did you realize the Steelers of the '70's were going to be special?
It was easy to see as early as Coach Noll's second year. The spike in talent was significant. The first two drafts brought Joe Greene, Jon Kolb, L.C. Greenwood, Terry Bradshaw and Mel Blount. Year three was the big leap: Jack Ham, Gerry Mullins, Dwight White, Larry Brown, Ernie Holmes and Mike Wagner. It could be argued the Steelers' '71 draft class is the equal of the '74 class, considered to be the greatest of all time. In his first three seasons, Coach Noll was 1-13, 5-9 and 6-8. That would get most coaches fired in today's game, but the Steelers were widely considered to be on the rise and about to become dominant. Greatness is like pornography: You'll know it when you see it.
Barry from Hayward, WI
Vic, are the charges against Deandre Baker and Quinton Dunbar just business as usual among high paid athletes of the NFL or an indicator of a deeper problem in the league?
It's a deep problem and for socioeconomic reasons obvious to us.
Duff from Longmont, CO
To be retired and still have a mortgage and car payment must be very stressful.
With money as cheap as it is, it would be stupid to use your own. Plus, when you live in hurricane country, you limit your exposure as much as possible. If this baby blows down, the bank is the one on the hook. I buy insurance for the bank; I buy my insurance at the bank. I'll take what insurance gives me, move to higher ground and consider the money I lost a minor cost for having lived in a place of such rare beauty.
Scott from Hamlin, NY
Dr. Fauci is one of the biggest culprits of improper data analysis. I'm sure he's a great medical doctor, but he's incredibly ignorant to data.
That's good to know, Scott.
Joe from Bloomington, IN
If the NFL argues no salary if no games played, it seems the players association could argue the players are effectively released from their contract, thus becoming free agents. Do you think for once the players have the upper hand in this negotiation?
The NFLPA has Judge Doty on speed dial.
Vincent from Seattle, WA
It was great to see pro golf back on TV. What did you think of them carrying their own clubs, and in shorts, too?
It was just OK. The golf wasn't very good.
Dan from Golden Valley, MN
I was wondering what football books you recommend for a narrative on the development of the sport, pro or college. Any period, I would like to add to my bookshelf.
The first football book I ever read was a paperback I bought in the Bookmobile for a few cents. The name of the book is "Fullback For Sale." I heartily recommend it.
Jon from Bloomfield, NJ
I don't think I've read any mention of Qualcomm Stadium from you. Was it really so bad? Did you like it?
I've written about it. It was previously named Jack Murphy Stadium -- named for a San Diego sportswriter -- and it was the last open-air press box in an outdoor stadium in the league. It gave me a sense of sitting with the fans. Most of all, I loved the view down the valley before they closed in the open end. One of the Chargers' minority owners owned a pizza restaurant, so for halftime in the press box pizzas were delivered to the press lounge. Pizza boxes were strewn all over the press lounge. It was a unique environment and I liked it. Jack Murphy was a tough place to play during the Dan Fouts years.
Terry from Jacksonville, FL
It's been over 40 years and no one has answered the question yet. Can Terry Bradshaw spell "cat" if you spot him the c and the t?
You don't have to spell cat when you can spell MVP.