"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F during the football season.
Craig from Cedarburg, WI
If you were McCarthy, why did you choose the Cowboys?
I don't know he had his choice but if he had his choice of every job available, I would've told him to take the Cowboys job. Why? Because the Cowboys are ready to go. It's a talented team ranked in the top third of each category of the league's total yardage rankings for offense and defense. He'll have a top quarterback, running back and pass rusher. McCarthy can be a difference maker. He can take the Cowboys from under-achieving to winning it all.
Daniel from Altoona, WI
Vic, I noticed after the Patriots loss Tom Brady exited the field via a staircase by the stands and noticed other players exited through the tunnel. What gives? Is there two ways to their locker room? Does Brady get his own special exit? Does he only go that way after he loses? How do other players feel about it?
Heinz Field has the same set up. There are stairs behind the bench that provide quick and inconspicuous passage to the locker room, which assists injury situations and those times when a player needs to avail himself of the facilities, etc. The behind-the-bench stairs and the tunnel exit lead to the same place, the locker room. What does it matter how a player gets there? In Brady's case, I suspect he wanted to get off the field ASAP. He was probably afraid of TV approaching him for an interview. I admire the man. He's the greatest quarterback of all time. He was totally committed to victory throughout his career. Saturday night, he suffered the inevitable defeat all players experience, to time. Even Tom Brady gets old.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, how did you react when you heard Mike McCarthy is the Cowboys' new head coach?
I said to myself, "Good for you, Mike." It's one of the best jobs in all of sports.
Brian from Madison, WI
Vic, I got the sense at the end of the Patriots game the Titans were playing to not lose. That didn’t work for the Jaguars in the AFC championship game a few years ago. What did the Titans do the Jaguars could not?
The Titans converted a third-and-eight that effectively sealed the win.
Dale from Sebastian, FL
Do you think Mike McCarthy can turn Dak Prescott into a championship QB?
Prescott had a good season statistically but he didn't get it done in the big games. I think McCarthy will take Prescott to the next level.
Nathan from San Diego, CA
What intrigues you most about McCarthy taking the head coaching job in Dallas?
A potential Packers-Cowboys playoff game next season.
John from Windsor, WI
How much of Rodgers' success can be attributed to Mike McCarthy?
They were good for each other because they were opposites. I think we learn and grow from working with those who are of a different personality. Rodgers is from fine wine country. McCarthy's family owned an Imp-and-Iron Pittsburgh bar. Rodgers once said he couldn't understand the play McCarthy was sending into Rodgers' helmet communicator because "Coach McCarthy speaks with that Pittsburgh dialect." The next day, I said to McCarthy, "The quarterback doesn't like the way we talk, Mike." McCarthy said nothing. Rodgers was glib; McCarthy was rough. They were perfect for each other because the other was what each couldn't be. McCarthy was the coach, Rodgers wanted to be the coach. Rodgers got the praise, McCarthy took the blame. Apparently, their relationship became a problem, and that's unfortunate because they were fun to watch. One day, they will be joined again, this time by regret.
Bob from Kennesaw, GA
The running clock loophole, to me, seems to violate the spirit of the game. Do you think the competition committee should close this loophole at season's end?
Yes, and I suspect Belichick will be credited for the action. He knew what he was doing. He was showing off. He's smarter than everyone else.
Justin from Athens, GA
Do you think the refs were right to take the touchdown away from Buffalo recovering the kickoff to Houston in the end zone?
Yes. The returner made an obvious signal of surrender.
Steven from Doctor's Inlet, FL
How important is it to a team and/or a coach to have the owner in the building?
I'm not a fan of absentee ownership. An NFL franchise needs an owner who knows the football business, is deeply involved in it and is in the building every day putting his stamp on his franchise. Dedication is contagious and it spreads from the top down.
Mike from Traverse City, MI
How will Coach McCarthy fare with the Dallas media?
Mike's relationship with the Green Bay media was immediately strained by the Favre debacle. Ted Thompson should've been more of a voice on that issue, insulating his young coach from a matter for which he bore no responsibility or culpability. Dallas is a chance for a fresh start. I hope Mike makes it what he wants it to be.
Darren from Brisbane, Australia
Have you ever written a piece that had unintended consequences? For example, did you write an article on a player and as a result of their answers they got cut the next week?
Going back to my days in Pittsburgh, I did a story on a young tight end that included a quote to which the personnel director took great exception. The player was not re-signed.
Eric from Lansing, MI
Do you have any other handshake stories to share?
It's from a game in the Astrodome when Jerry Glanville was the Oilers' coach. Glanville built the reputation for dirty play. I was down on the field for the final seconds of the game. When the game ended, I saw Coach Noll walking toward Glanville and I thought to myself, "Uh oh." The two coaches shook hands but when Glanville tried to pull away, Chuck pulled him back in. Various stories have speculated what was said. These were the words: "Hey, you're teaching this (poop) and I got news for you: It's gonna be your (butt)." With that, Chuck released Glanville's hand. Glanville appeared as though he had seen a ghost.
Ben from El Paso, TX
Did Mike Vrabel violate the spirit of the rules?
I choose to view what Vrabel did as defending the spirit of the rules.
Matthew from Las Vegas, NV
Vic, the Wentz hit is the play in football that needs to be legislated out of the game. A guy is already down and players hit him one last time because they can. If that isn't removed from the game, the player safety movement is meaningless.
Eloquently said. I await the league's action on this subject, then I will speak.
Braden from Milwaukee, WI
What is one thing you've wanted to do but haven't?
I've wanted to shoot par. Toward the end of my time in Jacksonville, I shot par on the final 17 holes of one round and on the first hole of the next round, which meant I shot part for 18 consecutive holes. That's as close as I'll ever get.
Joe from St. Paul, MN
With Matt Rhule being hired in Carolina, there is once again this assumption a good college coach will be a good NFL coach. It just seems like they are two completely different beasts. What are your thoughts on a coach moving from college to the NFL and the challenges involved?
There's a learning curve. Lou Holtz made the move from college to the NFL and embarrassed himself by not even knowing the rules of waiver claims. He was smart enough to take the next train back to college. Rhule has been given a seven-year contract, which tells me he'll have time to learn the pro game, and the Panthers are gonna tank for Trevor.
Dan from Golden Valley, MN
Must the Packers defeat the Seahawks for LaFleur’s inaugural season to be deemed a success?
That's an intriguing question and I think the answer to it is yes. If the Packers are one and done, the season will end with questions (were the Packers a legitimate playoff team or just a mirage?) and doubts (13-3 was more about good fortune than it was about good playing). A win over the Seahawks legitimizes the season, regardless of what happens in the NFC title game.