"Ask Vic" will publish on Mondays and Thursdays through the offseason.
Ben from El Paso, TX
Happy Black History Month, Vic! Who is on your Mt. Rushmore of black coaches?
Eddie Robinson, Art Shell, Tony Dungy and Mike Tomlin.
Rick from Pine Mountain, GA
Should the NFL return the hash marks to their original width? Do you remember why they were narrowed?
They were moved toward the center of the field in 1972 to help promote the passing game, but they had a completely opposite impact, as they produced an explosion of thousand-yard rushers. I see no reason to widen the hash marks, though I think the effect of doing it would further stimulate the passing game. Boundary corners would become plentiful, but the wide-side shutdown corners would become even more difficult to find and doubly expensive. I think there would be an immediate shift in strategy. Passing offenses would live on the wide side of the field, and defenses would have to flood that side of the field with coverage defenders. Kickers would have to deal with sharper angles on chip-shot kicks.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, while it may not have ben a great season or a great Super Bowl, what did you enjoy most about writing "Ask Vic" during the past year?
I didn't enjoy writing about Mike McCarthy's fall, the Le'Veon Bell drama or the childish antics of the Jaguars. This season was a disappointment in nearly every way for me, except for one: I always love reading and exchanging thoughts with the column's readers.
Barry from Hayward, WI
Vic, which teams are going to win the next five Super Bowls?
The Rams, Chiefs, Bears and Browns are best positioned going forward. I liked the Jets' future until they hired Adam Gase. I hope I'm missing something but I just don't get that hire.
Will from Salt Lake City, UT
I do believe Brady is the greatest QB ever, even though Rodgers is my favorite player. I think if it wasn't for Belichick he would have maybe 1-2 titles fewer than the six and I would still view him as the GOAT. Too much credit to their system. How do you think Brady would do with McCarthy or Tomlin as his coach?
He would've flourished because they are proven championship coaches. Brady is perfect for McCarthy's offense and Tomlin would've surrounded him with top defensive personnel until the last few years.
Dan from Sebastopol, CA
Vic, what are the top three positions Green Bay, Jacksonville and Pittsburgh each need to fill in the draft or free agency?
The Packers need a premier pass rusher, a guy who is disruptive and demands extra attention from the offense. The Jaguars need a quarterback, a guy who can win at crunch time. The Steelers need corners.
Dave from Jacksonville, FL
Vic, I’ve been retired for a couple of years. I believe I’ve watched every televised sporting event in its entirety at least once in my lifetime. I think the Masters is the best television sporting event. What do you think?
I enjoy it, but sometimes I feel as though I'm watching the same golfers hit the same shots every year. I like the variety the two Opens offer. The Masters' advantage is it's the only thing going on. Baseball has just begun and football is a distant memory.
Mike from Fort Wayne, IN
Do you think football, both college and pro, needs to be saved? If so, what needs to happen?
If the facemask had never been invented, you wouldn't be asking this question. Think about that. How do we turn the clock back? There's no chance the facemask will be taken off the helmet, so we continue to work around that fact by creating rules that are changing the game more quickly and radically than we can digest. The answer lies in changing the culture, but at this point it might be more about changing the fans' culture than it is about changing the players' culture.
Kirsten from Madison, WI
In defense of Chatty: I didn't grow up playing football or Madden, but I'm a long-time Packers fan who wants to learn more about the game, the same way I would about any other hobby I pursue. There are 22 men on the field and the game moves fast. Without any personal history in playing the game or seeing it coached, it's hard to sort through who is doing what and why. I can call an offsides penalty from my living room. Romo's insights give more clarity to the game itself.
I agree, he offers insight, but I think for those who know the game a lot of his comments come off as self-serving baloney, except I wouldn't say baloney. In my opinion, a fan such as yourself would be better served by a TV guy who gives you feel for what's it like to be playing in that game. Yes, I'm talking about the human confrontation. Imagine breaking the huddle for a goal-line play that'll determine the outcome of the game, knowing you're getting the ball and those 11 men on defense are looking right at you. I'd like for TV to give us an analyst who can capture that moment and that feeling. Cosell could do it.
Paul from McLeansville, NC
Much has been written about Rodgers changing the plays that McCarthy called. I'm guessing this happened in prior years, too. Have read a couple of articles of former players noting the change in Rodgers over the years. Now, with a new coach, how do you see this playing out if he continues changing the plays that are called in by the coach?
I think a quarterback of Aaron Rodgers' esteem should be granted the right to change the play, but there are times when a coach will call a play to set up another play. When those times occur, I think the coach should include the words "and run it" following his play call, which would be code for don't change it. A coach has to be allowed to call plays that dovetail with his game plan. Sometimes you have to run against an eight-man box to sell the play-action pass you have planned for the following play. If you're just calling plays randomly, you don't have a game plan.
Joel from Laramie, WI
Vic, I'll just ask it since I suspect a lot of Packers fans and others wonder or want to ask. Does Rodgers already have more Super Bowl appearances and victories under his belt with Belichick as his coach?
I have no reason to believe Belichick could've done a better or even as good a job with the 2010 team. It was superbly coached and McCarthy's stamp was all over it. The 2011 team suffered the same fate against the Giants Belichick did twice. The '12 team was garbage on defense. Maybe Belichick could've worked his magic on that team, but it would've begun with replacing the personnel. The '13 team had momentum and would've beaten the 49ers had Micah Hyde (I think it was Hyde) intercepted that pass. Maybe Hyde would've caught the ball had Belichick been the coach. The meltdown in Seattle the following year is germane to your question. I can't see a Belichick defense dissolving as the Packers' did. That's when the music ended for the McCarthy era teams. They were never the same following the meltdown in Seattle. Frankly, I think McCarthy got more out of the '15 and '16 teams than should've been expected of their weak rosters. Final tally: With Belichick, I'll give the Packers a Super Bowl title in '14.
Justin from Dacula, GA
I was wondering if you had any memories or thoughts regarding the Lou Holtz "era" with the Jets. Has there ever been a greater example of the massive gap between college and pro football?
He didn't even know the waiver rules and ended up painting the Jets into a corner by repeatedly claiming players off waivers. Holtz was smart enough to get out of the NFL and go back to college football. Spurrier did the same thing. He was a disaster, too.
Koko from New York City
In the Super Bowl, you mentioned the Rams offensive line performed poorly. Others have said the Pats defensive line dominated. Those two aren’t mutually exclusive, but what did you see and look for to arrive at your conclusion?
The Rams whiffed too many times. Getting bulled and walked back to the quarterback is one thing, but an NFL-caliber offensive linemen should never whiff. The Rams did a lousy job of preparation on offense.
Brooks from Moore, OK
Vic, I know the Packers had problems last year, but I was surprised complacency was on the list. Were you? I always thought Mike McCarthy ran a tighter ship.
I can think of another problem the Packers had: whiney players.
Gordon from Jacksonville Beach, FL
Can you write a bit about Noll's and Bradshaw's relationship? You wrote Noll is the most honorable man you've ever known, but I feel like I've heard some accounts of those early days with Bradshaw that didn't sound so great. Did Bradshaw get his feelings hurt too easily? Was Noll still coming into his own? I know you were there and I'd love to hear your summary and thoughts about it.
They won four Super Bowls together. What's not great about that? The intent is to win championships, not fall in love. Brown and Graham had a contentious relationship. So did Landy and Staubach. Starr drew a line in the sand with Lombardi about criticism in front of the rest of the team. Unitas called time out and told Shula, the Colts' new coach, to never, ever send a play into Unitas' huddle again. Bradshaw needed attention. He wanted to be pampered; don't we all? Coach Noll kept a distance from his players; that's how he achieved accountability in his team. He wanted no excuses. If Noll had babied his quarterback, it would've sent a wrong message to the rest of the team and it might've estranged the team from its quarterback. Someone once said Bradshaw wanted love and Noll didn't know how to give it. Noll knew how to win. Would you rather love and lose?
Nathan from New York, NY
Vic, what do you mean when you say a coach has his team prepared to play?
A team is prepared to play when every member of it knows its role and is completely focused without distraction on executing that role. Belichick is a master at preparing his team to play.