"Ask Vic" will publish on Mondays and Thursdays through the offseason.
Eric from Seattle, WA
I know you are not much of a hockey fan, but Monday night in the Stanley Cup finals a helmetless Bruins player laid a huge (but clean) full-speed check on a Blues player. It got me out of my seat. It was old-school hockey and I think anyone who likes old-school football would also appreciate it. Are there any helmetless NFL plays that stick out in your mind?
Marion Motley's run down the sideline.
Michael from Fort Wayne, IN
How do the pros deal with fear? The fear of losing; not making the team; letting teammates down; the fear of failure? Do they learn lessons along the way or is there something in their DNA?
Years ago, I had a player tell me his training camp roommate was up all night worrying about being cut. Veterans learn they have to put football into perspective or worry will paralyze them. I encourage fans to do the same. Put the game into its proper perspective or your fear of losing will overwhelm your ability to enjoy the game. What's the proper perspective for fans: There's nothing they can do but watch.
John from Brandon, SD
Regarding the significance of the sneak in the "Ice Bowl," I had the privilege of spending time with Bart Starr twice, the second time along with his wife Cherry. She told me that play changed their lives!
That play changed all of our lives. One play, one moment can do that. The "Immaculate Reception" changed the course of history for the Steelers. I consider myself to be a man of rational thought, but I believe in fate.
Alex from Orlando, FL
Vic, who are some sportwriters you recommend I start reading? I'm struggling to find good content and I've searched a lot of websites.
I'm best friends with long-time Steelers beat writer Ed Bouchette. We grew up in the sportswriting business together. I love Ed's work. He's a scoop reporter from the days when sportswriters prided themselves on their ability to frame a story. Nobody's better at it than Ed. He broke the Antonio Brown story. Bleacher Report wrote the daily, two-month re-writes that offered no new information but got all the clicks; Ed got the story. Recently, Ed moved from his long-time position with the Post-Gazette to a job writing for The Athletic. If you're a fan of the Steelers and you're not reading Ed, you're reading the wrong story.
Derek from Eau Claire, WI
Aaron Jones' 5.5 ypc average is the highest mark in NFL history for backs with a minimum 200 carries. What should one do with this information?
It tells me either Mike McCarthy's use of Jones was strategical genius, or he didn't use Jones enough. Which one is it? I think we're going to find out.
Jored from Wisconsin
Dedicating the Memorial Day blog to a football player. Someone's out of touch.
Mike from Charlotte, NC
My friend Erik and I were playing soccer in the driveway. We were about 11-12 years old or so. He deflected a shot and then kicked it clear to the road. I could have stopped it, but hesitated. The game was over seconds later with a loud pop. The car that ran over the ball didn't stop. Erik chirped a bit over my failure to stop the ball, but we had no choice but to move on to something else. There was no immediate procurement of a new soccer ball to calm a devastated alpha child. I still chuckle when I remember that day. It's the popping of the soccer ball that acts as the association.
It was one small pop for man, one large pop for mankind.
Steve from Lake Stevens, WA
Fake grass, domed stadiums, in the grasp, no Oklahoma, no half-line drills and no more hot dogs! What's getting better, Vic?
TV's getting better. I still think it's a positive. TV gave birth to the rise in the NFL's popularity, and nearly 60 years later TV is still driving the NFL's hold on American sports fans.
Jonathan from Hednesford, England
Do you have a Bart Starr story?
I've told it before but it bears repeating. I bought a house in Green Bay across the street from what was Bart Starr's house late in his playing career and during his days as Packers coach. The first day I lived in my new house I couldn't find its mailbox. I called the realtor, he called the former owners and they said my mailbox was on the other side of the street, but there was more to the story. My home's mailbox once stood next to Bart's mailbox, but when Bart was Packers coach and the Packers would lose, angry fans would knock down Bart's mailbox and my mailbox would suffer collateral damage. Bart felt so bad about my mailbox getting knocked down he built a big, brick mailbox holder that included a two-sided mailbox. The left side was for him and the right side was for my house. Nobody knocked that mailbox down, and I got a great story to tell. Vic to fans who knocked down Bart's mailbox: Repent!
Pete from Chapel Hill, NC
Vic, do the Packers now have enough jars on the shelf? At this point, who do you think is the heir apparent at right tackle?
I don't think the heir is apparent. I think the Packers have a plan for right tackle, but I'm not as confident in their options as they might be.
Steven from Phoenix, AZ
So, Vic, the women's World Cup starts next week. Are you ready?
Thanks for the heads up. I'll close the blinds.
Tyler from Augusta, GA
If you could have Brady quarterback your team for 10 years or Belichick coach/GM your team for 15 years, one without the other, which would you chose?
I'd choose Brady. Belichick was 5-13 and on his way to being fired when he made Brady his starting quarterback. Be that as it may, Belichick has my full respect for sticking with Brady once Belichick made the choice. Belichick is a great evaluator of talent and he makes bold personnel decisions. He made a bold decision as Browns coach to bench Bernie Kosar.
John from Benoit, WI
Do you see in Starr a representation of that generation of players who never took their popularity for granted? All these stories about the things he did for people who reached out to him strike me as very different from the way players interact with the public today. Was he an exception or the rule?
Starr is an exception in any generation.