Rocco from Green Bay, WI
Vic, I'm torn about this upcoming season. I'm fed up with all the boneheaded malarkey in regards to the sport and politics and no longer wish to support the NFL. However, I grew up very close to Lambeau Field, and grilling out and watching the game has become a family tradition. I'm not going to say who I'm for or against on the issue, because my question is likely relevant to people on both sides of the aisle. How can a person reconcile taking a stand in the only way they're able, by not being a consumer of the product while still following the team that's so near and dear to their heart? Is such a thing even possible?
I don't fault you for the way you feel. The NFL should've stayed out of this fight. Let the POTUS fight with the players. Allowing itself to be drawn into this drama has worsened the situation. If I'm a fan, I want to know where the players stand or kneel. I want to know how and to whom I should cast my support. Freedom is always a better way.
Jesse from Akaska, SD
The NFL needs more characters like Boss Hog. Maybe Aaron Rodgers will ride in like John Wayne, if and when he signs? John Travolta with paint cans? We need more meaningless funny.
Marty from Grafton, WI
Vic, this is not directed at any one coach or coordinator, but do you think one's message or message delivery can get stale? And if so, do you think a new coach is needed?
You don't win with messages, you win with talent. The Packers added a lot of talent on defense this year. Clearly, they believed they lacked talent on that side of the ball.
Kevin from Silverdale, WA
Vic, I know you feel teams fire coaches too fast (and) it doesn't give them time to acquire and install the proper players for their style, but how do you justify retaining a coach who is 1-31 in his first two years?
If you believe in him, you stick with him. Are we above belief?
Eric from Wausau, WI
Vic, if you were to list the three most impressive rookies you've covered in your three-plus decades as a journalist, who stands out to you, and what qualities (other than being professionals) did they share?
Actually, it's five decades. The three rookies are Franco Harris, Tony Boselli and Fred Taylor. They're all good guys.
Colin from Milwaukee, WI
Vic, digging the new porch picture. I was reading Rob Demovsky's analysis on Brian Gutekunst's press conference and he said, "You can't leave here and not have a banner hung because that's what this place expects." It really rung with me because he said "that's what this place expects." Now, I know winning isn't everything, but man this really struck a chord with me. What are your thoughts on this quote? And do you think championship football resonates within the halls of Lambeau?
Actually, I find those words kind of smug and I've tired of that kind of rhetoric. I think the Packers need to stop playing the it-means-more-to-us card and start playing some defense. Coach Noll said "losing has nothing to do with geography." In my opinion, winning has nothing to do with geography, either. You win with talent and toughness, not with tradition.
Brad from Basalt, CO
Vic, several owners now own pro soccer teams and I see the new owner of the Panthers is looking to create a team, as well. While I can see how this helps the already wealthy owners make more money, doesn’t this seem bad for the NFL in the long run?
I don't like it. I think it's disloyal. Are you a football man or are you a soccer man? You can't be both.
Jared from Rigby, ID
What do Super Bowl teams look like in training camp?
They come in three varieties: 1) on the verge, 2) in their prime, 3) hanging on. If you have a choice, pick on the verge. It's a beautiful thing to watch.
Kevin from New Orleans, LA
Vic, given your history with the Jaguars and their fabled cap disaster, what are your thoughts on their current cap situation? To me it looks as though they may be sitting in the toughest situation in the league.
The Jaguars were unfairly and nearsightedly awarded an advantage the other teams don't possess. The Jaguars are playing with a bigger cap than the other teams, as a result of the uncapped year. Hey, the other teams stupidly allowed it. I'm glad the Jaguars are making them pay the price.
Matt from West Allis, WI
Vic, I read Mike Pettine gave a great speech at the start of training camp. Who are some of the greatest speakers you have heard and what kind of impact does that have on a team?
Great speeches last until the first time you get knocked on your butt. Coach Noll didn't believe in pep talks, and his team seldom got knocked on its butt. Bill Cowher was big on pep talks, and when his team got knocked on its butt, he would give it another pep talk. Coach Cowher was also blessed with a lot of really good players. Check out this All-Cowher defensive team: NT, Joel Steed and Casey Hampton; DE, Aaron Smith and Kimo von Oelhoffen; LB, Levon Kirkland, Greg Lloyd, Kevin Greene, James Farrior, James Harrison (I'll stop there); CB, Rod Woodson and Ike Taylor; S, Troy Polamalu and Carnell Lake. It's been my experience teams with great talent either don't need pep talks, or respond well to them.
John from Jacksonville, FL
Vic, years ago, I watched an NFL Films segment about the occupations of football players during the offseason. I'm not sure of the date the film was produced, but the mid to late '60s seems accurate. They mentioned there were a multitude of master's degree holders and a few PhDs. When did playing professional football become a viable means to earn a living?
Coach Noll didn't like the word retirement. Instead, he would refer to a player leaving football as "moving on to his life's work." The advent of free agency made football a player's life's work.
Patrick from Ashland, WI
It's sad I have never heard of those three nose tackles, with as much football as I have watched. When I watch a game, what specifics should I look for in a nose tackle?
He must hold the point of attack. In other words, he must refuse to be moved. He doesn't have to defeat the block, just resist it, and that often means resisting the combined force of two men. Nose tackle is a grunt position. Its demands define how a real man plays the game.
Craig from Cedarburg, WI
Is there any drill in training camp that is an indicator of live-game success?
Half-line drills are as good as it gets. I applaud Coach McCarthy for being committed to them. A strong running game begins in training camp in half-line drills.
Dave from Chippewa Falls, WI
Does the NFL Network have any redeeming qualities? I consider it to be a huge opportunity wasted. What do you think?
I think it does a fantastic job with the Indianapolis scouting combine, and I love NFL Network's game coverage during the season. "A Football Life" is NFL Network's best artistic work, and occasionally I'll stop and watch some old videos. At all other times, the programming is meaningless. The ex-playerspeak is laughable. It's welfare for the washed up.
Abhi from Rockville, MD
Vic, what is the story behind orange juice and your formal attire?
It's mimosa. It was Easter Sunday.
I'm sorry I deleted the name from I don't know, either
Vic, what is your favorite sports-related gift you have ever received? Do you still have it?
During the last game ever played at Three Rivers Stadium, on Dec. 16, 2000, my reporter friends walked down to my old press box seat and peeled the seat number off the position at which I sat for a long time and sent it to me. I had it framed within a picture from that game. It's sitting on the wall in front of me as I answer your question, as if I was looking out the press box window.
Samuel from Jacksonville, FL
Is David Garrard better than Blake Bortles?
If Bortles had Garrard's arm, you wouldn't be asking me this question.
David from Ashwaubenon, WI
But, Vic, the asterisk!
It was wonderful. The whole thing was beautiful. It's an example of how much fun sports can be if we don't take ourselves too seriously. I am so proud to have been a sports writer.