Dan from Houston, TX
Are you still predicting the next CBA will be easy to negotiate? I can't imagine the players are supportive of this action or how it was accomplished.
What I wrote is the league gave the players the game in the last CBA, what are they going to give in the next negotiations? Maybe we just found out: The right to free speech.
Blaine from Menomonie, WI
Vic, I was thrilled when I happened upon your (blog) in December, and quickly read the entire archives. Thanks for this labor of love. It is appreciated. Do you think the NFL's announcement of imposing fines on teams who have players not standing during the anthem, but leaving it up to teams and players whether players leave the locker rooms, settles this issue?
Settled? This is just beginning. Now the NFL has a problem with its players as well as with its fans, and I think the teams are going to balk at being the whipping boy for this issue. The NFL wimped out. It needed to stand for something other than for appeasing the fans and ringing the cash register. The correct stand, in my opinion, is for our right to dissent. It's the big picture in this issue. After all of the petty opinions and bitterness have been voiced, the bottom line is our most precious freedom has been denied. If the right to free speech is punishable, we no longer have the right to speak freely. It now comes at a cost.
Christine from Rocky Mount, NC
At my office, I'm not allowed to put up any political signs whatsoever. Doesn't matter if it's Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. It's against the company's policy and if I refused to follow my employer's rules, I would be fired. Plain and simple. I have no problem with the NFL incorporating a similar rule at their place of business, with regard to their employees. Do you agree, Vic?
No, and here's why: Your company doesn't conduct its business in front of 70,000 spectators and televise its employees as they're working to millions of people across the country. No one is sitting in a press box writing stories about your company's employees as they work. Christine, the NFL is high profile, and what happens in the NFL has a huge impact on the social consciousness of this country. It says much about our culture. The world will now know we are no longer free. This is going to please a lot of countries that don't like us.
Jason from Menomonee Falls, WI
As we gain some clarity around how the helmet rule will be implemented, did we just witness the death of three and four-point stances?
I've been predicting it for a long time. It's happening.
Mark from Eau Claire, WI
What was the closest to a great team you have seen in the salary cap era?
The salary cap era began in 1993 with an eight-player draft, but teams weren't forced to comply with a dollar-amount cap until the following season. The Cowboys of the first couple of cap seasons were a great team, but they were built in the pre-cap era and quickly began to lose players in free agency and weaken in the cap era. The 2004 Patriots would be my next choice. I think it was the best of all the Patriots' cap-era teams.
Matt from Verona, WI
So the NFL wants to fix the anthem problem by forcing teams to alienate a bunch of fans, alienate their players, or take a penalty. Cool.
I think the POTUS is still stinging from that one dollar damages award he and the USFL "won" against the NFL. I think he still sees the NFL's executives laughing as they left the courthouse. Well, he got his revenge.
Bob from St. Charles, IL
Please tell me you don't kayak down the Edisto River, where rattlesnakes fall out of trees and bite people. At least the cold in Green Bay has no venom.
It's all part of the experience, Bob.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, who had a fairy tale ending to his career?
John Elway certainly did. How about Jerome Bettis winning a Super Bowl in his hometown in his last game?
Jim from Maple Grove, MN
Vic, the 2011 Packers team doesn't get a lot of accolades from you. Was it a flawed group hiding behind a stellar record, or were they possibly one injured player away from going deep in the playoffs? Nick Collins vs. Ryan Shazier?
A healthy Collins would've made a difference on defense, for sure, but the lack of a running game is what betrayed the Packers in the playoff loss to the Giants. The Giants were able to drop seven into the passing lanes and put their four down linemen into rush mode without any fear of getting gashed by the run. The 2011 team was a one-trick pony. That was its fatal flaw.
Ryan from Noblesville, IN
Holy cow! I've been reading your (column) for seven years, and I never read your disdain for Penn State vs. Pitt! Such fire! Tell me more.
One man's vendetta should not have been allowed to end something of such historical and social importance; the Penn State fight song once included the words, "Beat Pitt." Joe Paterno used his and Penn State's powerful position to drop Pitt from the schedule because Pitt wouldn't agree to join Paterno's East Coast conference idea. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. I think we're seeing an example of that in the anthem issue.
Nate from New Berlin, WI
Vic, I respect your love for a power running game, but you're talking about one of the top three running backs in the game in Le'Veon Bell. Yards are yards, no matter how you get them, and he gets more than almost anyone. Teams simply aren't going to fear James Conner.
When asked about Franco Harris when Harris held out, Chuck Noll said, "Franco who?" Coach Noll's point was he would only concern himself with players who were in training camp. The next time Mike Tomlin is asked about Bell's absence, I think Tomlin should answer, "Le'Veon who?" I liked the Steelers a lot more when they were tough.
Brian from Kingston, NY
Is there a hierarchy among football beat writers, and those that write for team websites? Would covering the Packers be considered a step up from a team like the Browns, for example?
Covering a team that plays in big games provides a stage for writers to be recognized for their work. One of the reasons I came to Green Bay was to be able to cover big games again in what I knew would be the final few years of my career. Be that as it may, the team doesn't write your story for you. The good writers distinguish themselves with their words and their ability to interview.
Nic from Milwaukee, WI
Vic, would you expand on what you meant about working under guidelines during your time with the Packers?
I wasn't permitted to release the names of new signings until the deal was done, which meant the contract had to be signed and the player had to have passed his physical. I thought it was a ridiculous policy that denied information to fans and compromised the site's credibility and appeal. I suggested we write the player and team had reached agreement on a contract, contingent on the player's signature and passing a physical. That idea was rejected. I remember the Sam Shields deal being reported by media on a Saturday, but we didn't run the story until Tuesday. I was embarrassed. The undrafted free agents list was held back for a week. What I came to understand is this was the new NFL. Football was in charge and providing information was of no benefit to them. The days of the owners wanting to get the information out quickly and with fanfare were over because the game was so popular it didn't need the publicity anymore. The owners had turned the game over to their football fiefdoms. That's what I came to appreciate, that it was no longer the game I grew up covering. It was time for me to go.
Dave from Savage, MN
Do you think the smaller shoulder pads and (overall) less padding has an impact on the quality of tackling?
Without question. It's become an excuse, along with the rules that have caused the game to be played more with the hands and feet, instead of with the hips and shoulders.
Eric from Greenville, WI
Declining youth participation, worried parents, concussion, issues to tackle, but very surmountable. Gambling, corruption and eroding the integrity of the game in the fans' eyes? I think we just saw the door swing wide open and in 30 years or fewer, we'll look back to this time as the decision that killed the NFL. Some guys will get rich, and America will have lost its sport.
States with budget shortfalls are going to see an opportunity to balance those budgets, hold the line on taxes and curry political favor. Look out!
James from Columbia, MD
What was the NFL community's reaction when the Colts left Baltimore? What was your take on it and why did it happen?
It happened because one man didn't get what he wanted, causing him to act with vengeance that ended something of great historical and social importance. Sound familiar? The Baltimore Colts were one of the NFL flagship franchises. There was outrage within the old-guard community. My reaction? I covered a Steelers at Indianapolis Colts game the year after the Colts left Baltimore. The week of the game, I received an invitation from the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce to a night-before-the-game reception that welcomed visiting media to the NFL's newest city. I did not attend.