Lance from Lincoln, NE
Vic, I've heard all kinds of ideas, including removing the facemask to avoid injury. You have stated removing the facemask would prevent the helmet to helmet hits. Wouldn't removing the facemask be a better idea than making some convoluted rule that will be subject to constant misinterpretation?
The league has done exhaustive research on this subject, led by experts, such as Mark Murphy and Rich McKay, and I respect their attempts to make the game safer, but I can't help but think one act, removing the facemask, would solve the whole problem and would allow the game to evolve naturally without this constant changing-the-rules interference. Nobody uses their face to deliver a blow. It's that simple. If the league were to outlaw the facemask, I think fan interest would explode with curiosity. I think fans would revel in seeing the new Bobby Laynes and Tommy McDonalds play football the old-fashioned way. I believe the facemask is the whole problem and removing it is the fix-all.
Barry from Hayward, WI
Vic, was the acquisition of Jimmy Graham to help an aging and injury-prone Rodgers get the football out of his hands faster a means to address the inability of Packer receivers to get separation from defensive backs, or merely a shrewd pick up in the salary cap era?
Graham was signed to give Mike McCarthy the big receiver in the middle of the field he hasn't really had since Jermichael Finley got hurt. Packers fans lament the loss of Nick Collins, but losing Finley might've been bigger. All these years later, they're still trying to replace him.
Adam from Wausau, WI
I'm looking to improve my business writing skills. Do you have any tips?
Write short sentences. It worked for Steinbeck.
Milan from New York
Vic, I know you've been waiting for my opinion on the anthem thing, since I am 73 years old, a Vietnam vet with 100 percent VA disability and in full get off my lawn mode. I feel the same way about a player kneeling as I do about all the guys hanging by the concession stands knocking down beers so as to avoid having to stand for the anthem, and the ones looking at their cell phones while the anthem is being played. Nothing. Couldn't care less either way. I fly in from New York to see my beloved Packers play and hopefully win. That's all I care about. What does (anger) me is the fake military stuff: fly overs, some fake surprise meeting (baloney). Having been drafted and sent to Nam to be sprayed by agent orange, I know all the military guys on the field as well as every member of the joint chiefs of staff have never been in a war America has won! Talk about losers!
Congratulations, you are the first inductee into the "New Ask Vic" Hall of Fame.
Sean-Luc from Oceanside, CA
Vic, the NFL had a chance to get younger and they botched it. They should have sided with the players and their right to protest. The issue with ratings doesn’t lie, with a bunch of old fuddy duddies that forgot what this country was founded on. It has to do with the medium through which they sell their product. My generation doesn’t own TVs. Why would they when we can stream everything on any device with a WiFi signal?
You make an interesting point. I hadn't considered how the NFL's shift on the anthem position might be received by young fans.
Todd from Milwaukee, WI
Of your departure into retirement you say, "Coach Noll said 'cast no shadows.'" Would you tell us more about what you think this means?
It means when you retire, leave and don't come back. When I knew I was retiring, I knew I would have to be new.
Vicbow from St. Johns, FL
Even in retirement you remain informative, entertaining, provocative and steadfast in your beliefs. Thanks for your years of service to us as readers. Now, I think this topic of freedom of speech/expression is a cherished treasure passed down to us and protected by each generation and strongly held onto by the majority of us. The tricky part is when this privilege comes into conflict with our self-interest. Most reasonable folks can resolve these issues without the spewing of hatred, name-calling and the like, but those with the biggest egos cannot do this unless they find a cause greater than themselves. Will we?
I have a feeling the Supreme Court might settle this issue for us. I'm OK with that.
Dustin from Orlando, FL
Major League Baseball appears to be in trouble. Attendance is trending toward its worst numbers in 15 years. Do you think MLB is dying? What do you think caused it and how can it recover?
I was watching the White Sox at Indians game the other day, and I was stunned by how empty the ballpark was. It was a beautiful day and the sun was glistening off the empty seats. What's this all about, I thought to myself? I guess I'm asking the same questions you are.
Karl from Albuquerque, NM
Vic, "Ask Vic" removed one of my posts from the comments section. I have no idea why and don't know of any way to find out other than through this e-mail. It's your site and you and your surrogates can do with it as you so choose. I'm just wondering why my comment was removed so I can keep from making the same mistake again in the future. Thanks, Karl.
"Ask Vic" has a very small payroll: nobody. I control everything, and I have no idea why your post was removed. I didn't do it and I have no surrogates. Here's my advice: Don't worry about it, especially if it was another one of those mind-numbing anthem posts. I really doubt one of those stupid liberals or conservatives -- take your pick -- found a way to kill your post in an attempt to advance their anti-America agenda. Stuff happens. Maybe the Russians did it.
Zach from Virginia Beach, VA
Vic, about Lewis being a better blocker than receiver, how much of that perception is due to the poor QB play in Jacksonville? How much better might Lewis do with Rodgers at QB?
Your point is valid, but Marcedes wasn't signed to be an impact pass receiver. Graham was signed to be that player. Pro football is a game of specialization. Graham specializes in catching passes and Lewis specializes in blocking. When you think of it in those terms, Graham and Lewis might give the Packers their best one-two punch at tight end in the years since I began covering them.
Tristan from Durham, NC
Your comments on the steel industry made me wonder what advice you would give the people of West Virginia? They were once the heart of the nation's labor movement. Now, they're so desperate for their livelihoods they've given up everything to the coal industry. How can they be new?
Tell them to call Pittsburgh and ask them what they did when big steel left. I can tell you this, buying into campaign baloney about coal making a comeback won't work. Coal is dead and opting out of global warming legislation isn't going to save it.
Jeremy from Lethbridge, Canada
Peter King shared an interesting anecdote last week about Favre’s uncanny memory. I’ve often heard similar things said about Rodgers. Is it a normal quality for elite quarterbacks? Have many succeeded without it?
Every quarterback I've ever covered could tell you where every receiver and defender on the field was positioned during a play. Mark Malone and Byron Leftwich would do it in fine detail, and neither Malone nor Leftwich was an elite quarterback. Terry Bradshaw was so good at it he could tell one reporter one thing and then tell another reporter something completely different. Everybody got a scoop. I loved the Aaron Rodgers postgame interviews because he had perfect recall of the game's events. It amazed me how he would talk about putting the ball in a particular spot because he saw an off defender closing on the play. Rodgers sees everything and, in my mind, that's all about courage. He never drops his eyes. The point is this: You can't play quarterback in the NFL if your eyes aren't pinned downfield. If you look at the rush, you're done.
Ray from Jacksonville, FL
Vic, who was better, Jerome Bettis or Fred Taylor?
If Fred had played for the Steelers, which is to say in an offense that was steadfastly committed to running the ball, he'd be headed to the Hall of Fame. Fred was the more talented player, but Bettis was perfect for the Steelers' pounding, run-the-ball attack. Longtime Steelers running back coach Dick Hoak is a friend of mine, and I remember Dick gushing about Fred during a round of golf.
Russ from Clay City, IN
Why not accept that the league embittered the correct half? I've always enjoyed reading your writing through the years. It took a difference of opinion to submit a question. Openmindedness should be a two-way street.
With its recent shift in position, the league has successfully embittered both halves, and now the players, too. I think this could turn out to be the dumbest thing the league has ever done.
Jerry from Savannah, GA
Vic, do you have any good David Garrard stories?
I think his talent was underrated and the Jaguars might've made a mistake not committing to him earlier in his career. He had a big season in 2007, but the following year the Jaguars began their decline and a few years later it was time to draft a new quarterback and restart the process. David reminded me of Steve McNair. He had that same powerful, heavy-footed scrambling ability. David had a strong arm and he threw a heavy ball that was good in the wind and the cold. I would've liked to have seen what he could've accomplished had a commitment been made to him, as it was to Leftwich.
Roger from Houston, TX
What do you remember about the Dave Meggyesy incident?
I remember reading his book, Out of Their League. I loved it.
Derek from Eau Claire, WI
What is your take on the new kickoff rules? Will they make the play safer? I'm glad we will still get to say the baloney stops now, but we won't say baloney.
The league isn't thinking clearly on the kickoff issue. The fix is easy: Touchbacks result in the offense starting at its 10-yard line. It would leave teams desperate to kick the ball out of the end zone, which would eliminate dangerous kickoff returns but preserve the ceremonial aspect. It might even put some intrigue into the kickoff, since the perceived penalty on the offense would make the play worth watching. In reality, the effect on offenses would be minimal. They'd be out beyond the 20 in two plays.