"Ask Vic" will publish on Mondays and Thursdays through the offseason.
Eric from Greenville, WI
Expanded replay, huh? Pass Interference in super slow-mo? Are these changes for the betterment of the game or to create more controversy? I wonder how long until we have our first replay official gambling scandal? I know it's about the money, but I'm really starting to dislike just how little the NFL seems to care about the actual fans of the game.
Huh? The NFL did this to please the fans. It was the fans who tried to use the courts to make the NFL change the call. There was public outrage, including media outrage, because the NFL wasn't voiding the outcome, as ridiculous as that sounds. Last year, it was the Jesse James non-catch. This year, it's the Rams-Saints non-pass interference. It'll always be something and that pleases the NFL because it means football is of critical importance to the fans, and that's what rings the cash register. The fans are in control because they have what the NFL wants: the money.
Mike from North Hudson, WI
Vic, what is your position on replay being used for pass interference? Could we be looking at four-hour games?
TV won't allow that to happen on a regular basis. Time is money and "60 Minutes" rings the cash register. TV is also in control because it also has what the NFL wants: the money. My position on the replay experiment is the more we try to fix the rules, the more we cause problems that have to be fixed.
Kelvin from Kenilworth, UK
Vic, do you think owners should be held to a higher standard than players when it comes to their behavior? We know this is not a game for the well-adjusted, but should that only be a consideration for those on the field or should the same rules apply to all? It seems the NFL is going to find it difficult to punish Kraft to the degree you suggested, when it has been somewhat lenient on perpetrators of domestic violence.
I think we all should be held to the same standard, but it's just not that way. Circumstances alter the standards. The players are protected by a powerful union with which the NFL must negotiate a new CBA in a year. It'll be interesting to see how Kraft's punishment by law enforcement compares to the punishment of the others caught in the sting, the ones who aren't as high profile and as financially able to defend themselves. One of my interests in all of this is the collective opinion of the fans. Are they going to take a hard line against Kraft, or let him off with a suspension? This is going to say as much about us as it'll say about Kraft. What exactly is our standard?
Bob from Australia
Vic, we might call baloney on the goody-two-shoes stuff, but it seems the Packers organization is saying character was a significant consideration in their free-agent signings. What can we read into this?
Have you ever known a coach or GM to say character wasn't a consideration in a free-agent signing?
Stephen from Jacksonville, FL
Is Rob Gronkowski really the best tight end of all time, as many have asserted, or is he simply one of the many players who've benefitted from playing for Bill Belichick and catching passes from Tom Brady? Who do you consider to be the best?
Gronkowski has the ingredients I consider most important when considering a player for the Hall of Fame: body of work, dominance at his position and defining postseason moment. I consider Mike Ditka to be the greatest tight end of all time because he invented the position and his toughness defines it, but Gronkowski is certainly in the conversation. Here's what I would ask: Could each have starred in the other's era? I think the answer is yes.
Thomas from Elkhorn, WI
When you were a student at Kent State, did you protest the war? Sorry if this is too personal of a question.
I was too young and stupid to involve myself in something politically meaningful. I'll tell you how stupid I was: My draft lottery number was 15, my student deferment was running out and I didn't even give it much thought. I should've grown my hair down to my shoes and spent every day carrying a sign, but I was too busy being young and stupid and enjoying the best four years of my life. Be that as it may, I was devastated that four of my classmates were killed on that campus.
Oscar from Sharpsburg, GA
Vic, as a writer who covered the Packers, Jaguars and Steelers, I assume they are among your favorite teams from a fan perspective. From your fan perspective, what are some of your least favorite NFL teams and why?
Yeah, those are my favorite teams. I don't have a team I root against, although I've developed an edge for the Patriots; spygate, deflategate, headsetgate, murdergate and now solicitationgate have caused me to dislike that franchise. I am in awe of what the Patriots have done on the field, but they have a haughty and dirty feel I dislike.
Dave from Chippewa Falls, WI
I saw it again today; someone writes what an advantage it is for a player to learn behind a great player. It seems like a bunch of hogwash to me, but I thought I'd ask someone who has been much closer to those situations. Is there much to that old chestnut?
As Coach Noll would say, "Whatever it takes." Some guys need warm and fuzzy; some guys don't. I like the ones who don't. I remember a press conference announcing Torry Holt being signed by the Jaguars. Holt was at the end of his career; he was trying to get one more payday. He was asked if he would mentor the Jaguars' young receivers. Holt said, "Yeah, I'll mentor them. I'll mentor them all the way back to the bench." I loved it. Holt saw me smile. We bonded at that moment. A few years ago, at the Senior Bowl, I was walking into the stadium and I heard someone yell, "Vic." It was Torry. I love the tough guys.
John from St. Augustine, FL
Do you think the Jaguars share your opinion of the upcoming quarterback class? Maybe that’s why they signed Foles.
Matt from Georgetown, TX
Vic, I like your take on the Kraft situation. Do you think the NFL will actually make one of its most powerful and well-known owners sell the team?
Apparently he's worried it could happen. In his veiled apology, he made a point of appealing for leniency.
Dave from Jacksonville
You’ve piqued my interest about this Bigfoot fellow. I know he’s got good size, length and elusiveness, but does he have enough bend to turn the corner and get to the quarterback?
He's more of a bull rusher. The thing I don't like about him is he tends to disappear at key moments.
Jamie from Brooklyn, NY
Where can we read your article on the Kent shooting? If it's not available on the web, would you be able to make it available?
You can probably find it on microfilm in the Irwin (Pa.) library. I'll tell you how stupid I was: I didn't save it.
James from Toronto, Ontario
You wonder why readers "don't get it" about your journalistic integrity and independence when working for an NFL team. How can you credibly claim that when you were reporting on an organization that was paying you?
You can write for the people inside the building or you can write for the people outside the building. If you write for the people inside the building, you won't be writing for long. Now do you get it?
Jon from Cedar Rapids, IA
Are there any good power backs in this year's NFL draft?
I don't like the crop of running backs in this year's draft. I was also thinking of this position when I commented on this draft having a lot of manufactured prospects. I think it's a good year not to need a running back. In my opinion, the Packers, Jaguars and Steelers aren't real needy at running back.
Jared from Rigby, ID
Vic, what are the attributes of your ideal fan? What would the NFL be like with this fan? What is the NFL's ideal fan?
My ideal fan is a connoisseur of football. He or she places measured thought above emotional display. With this type of fan, the game would be boring. The NFL's ideal fan is the kind of nut job that wants to sue the NFL because it allowed a bad call to stand. With that type of fan, the game is exciting and opinion columns such as "Ask Vic" never lack for debate. On the negative side, as the ranks of that type of fan increase, our culture slides deeper into a social malaise.