John from Vacaville, CA
Vic, I’m curious about your take on the Phil Mickelson putting drama on the 13th hole Saturday. His comments immediately afterward indicated he intentionally broke the rule because in his mind the two-stroke penalty was a better outcome than the likely result if the ball rolled off the green. The commentators seemed particularly distressed about Phil’s reputation and the integrity of the game, however, I don’t see his actions any differently than a cornerback grabbing a receiver when he knows he has been beaten for a touchdown. Your thoughts?
I'm not buying his explanation. I think he just lost his cool. I think he tried to embarrass a course that was embarrassing him. He made himself look foolish. That's his penalty.
Dave from Madison, WI
Vic, do you feel optimistic for the future of football?
I love football and I worry about its future. I think the CTE thing is real and I don't think football as I've known the game can survive. I think it has to undergo radical change, and I'm not sure its popularity can endure much more softening. What worries me most about the future of football is the potential for it to become the sport of gambling. It would be a perfect fit and the money would flow like water. Gambling could save football, and that's what worries me most, because gambling would surely destroy whatever remained of the most meaningful game I've ever known.
Matt from Eau Claire, WI
Vic, what are your thoughts on Blake Martinez? Opinions on his play seem to vary considerably.
Martinez and Jake Ryan are the same guy. They need to play next to a thumper. They need a big guy next to them who would jam the inside running lanes and allow them to chase the ball.
Nathan from Prague, Czech Republic
If a team from this decade played a team from the '70s that was of equal standing in the league, which team would win?
If the game was played according to today's rules, the team from this decade would win by a lopsided margin. If the game was played according to pre-1978 rules changes, the team of the '70s would win, 10-7, or something like that. The big corners of that decade would get up on the receivers, jam them, force the quarterback to hold the ball and take deep drops, which would allow the rush to take the quarterback down and take the quarterback down hard. Neither team is built to play in an era other than the one they're in.
Ben from El Paso, TX
Why do you enjoy golf?
I like hitting a ball with a stick. I especially enjoy being able to do it at my age. Golf is a game played in beautiful surroundings. I enjoy its rules and its code of honor. I enjoy its rub-of-the-green mentality. As a spectator, I enjoy its travelogue quality.
David from Hilliard, OH
Is it fair to say if the Rodgers era ends with only one Super Bowl trophy in Green Bay, it indicates Mike McCarthy was overrated as a head coach?
Only someone who lacks a feel for the game and whose sensitivity to it has been dulled by the mania to be No. 1 would make such a ridiculous claim. McCarthy is a great coach. In my opinion, he's one Super Bowl win away from the Hall of Fame.
Jeremy from Lethbridge, Canada
Vic, I'm a viewer who largely missed the Marino era. Given his stats and highlight reels, it seems he should have had more playoff success. What happened to him and the Dolphins during his run to hold him back?
The Dolphins lacked defense and a running game. They were a one-trick pony. Sound familiar? I guess Don Shula is an overrated coach.
Greg from Cuenca, Ecuador
Vic, I agree division games in September don't sit right. Still, here we are. So isn't it incumbent on the coaching staffs to change their preseason routines? I would think the veterans would be required to take more snaps in the preseason. This, of course, would come at the expense of giving the new guys more opportunities.
Coach McCarthy will find ways to get his team ready to open the regular season, but I don't think increasing play time in the preseason for his frontline players will be one of those ways. The risk of injury is too great. Coaches just aren't willing to accept that risk.
David from Jacksonville, FL
Vic, how are you feeling about the situation between Rob Rogers and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette?
The newspaper is shifting its editorial position to the right. Rogers' cartoons have been critical of the current POTUS. Cartoons are editorials. Rogers and the newspaper are a bad fit. This isn't something new.
Kal from Redondo Beach, CA
Do many South Carolinians identify with the Carolina Panthers as their team?
South Carolina is college football country. Frankly, there's not much identity left beyond Clemson and South Carolina.
Mike from McFarland, WI
If the players saluted a North Korean soldier instead of kneeling, would the NFL fine them?
The outrage would know no bounds. Left and right would finally agree on something. I'm sad for Otto Warmbier’s parents.
Steve from New Britain, CT
An op ed writer thinks fantasy football has hurt NFL team loyalty since it promotes viewing players as individuals rather than as team members. He also claimed this leads many fans to not really appreciate watching a football game as intended, since it was meant to be a team sport. Does fantasy football rub you the wrong way?
I think fantasy football has desensitized fans to what football is, which is to say a human confrontation. Fantasy football has turned the game into love of stats. Similarly, video football has turned football into love of strategy. It's turned football for video game lovers into plays, not players. I think it ultimately hurts the game because it depersonalizes it.
John from Philadelphia, PA
Have you ever seen the movie The Program?
Yes, it's the worst football movie ever made. About halfway through the movie, I was hoping James Caan was going to get gunned down, again, at the New Jersey Turnpike entrance.
Matt from Madison, WI
I recently read an article about Big Daddy Lipscomb. It made it sound like some details of his death were very sketchy. Did you ever hear anything about him possibly being murdered? It sounds like some of his teammates thought that was the case.
There was a feeling Big Daddy was murdered. Here's what I believe to be true: He was one of the three or four best defensive linemen I've ever seen; he might be the best ever. He could take over a game like no player I had seen until Joe Greene came along. Reggie White possessed that same quality. Now, we're seeing Aaron Donald do it.
Scott from Milwaukee, WI
Vic, reading that you are considering having more content on your site made my week. I don't ask a lot of questions, but I read everything you write because I appreciate your honesty and factuality. Will writing more cramp your style during your retirement?
I don't think it would because writing this column is an early-morning activity for me, and that's what I enjoy most about this column. I like getting up early and feeling my fingers on the keyboard as a fresh cup of coffee sits comfortably to my right. I like having done something before the rest of the world wakes up.
Matt from Oshkosh, WI
Vic, do you ever spend time upstate? I loved road tripping to the Atlantic as a kid (Savannah and Tybee Island being my favorites, by far), but the Greenville/Asheville area is easily one of the most beautiful slices of the country, with a great mix of hip and history.
I'm vacationing at Lake Lure, NC, this week. I live in the low country and I love spending time in the high country. It's the best of both worlds.
Dave from Chippewa Falls, WI
If you were growing up today, what would your first tattoo be?
I don't like tattoos. I think they're ugly and I don't understand the concept of using one's skin to make a statement. What if your opinion or taste changes? There would be no first tattoo.