"Ask Vic" will publish on Mondays and Thursdays through the offseason.
Ty from Milwaukee, WI
I love your column. Can you tell us more about when you found out you had colon cancer?
It was after covering a Redskins-Jaguars game in 2002. I ate a lot of popcorn in the press box and began having abdominal pains in the evening. I thought I might be having an appendicitis attack and pushed down hard on my right side. That's when I felt the hard ball that would be diagnosed as a tumor. Colon cancer is largely asymptomatic and everyone, especially those with colon cancer in their family history, should undergo a colonoscopy as they get older. It might've saved Vince Lombardi's life. Popcorn and a colonoscopy saved mine.
Josh from Madison, WI
What can college football do to re-establish its relevance? It's so top heavy. The vast majority of the season seems like a formality, outside of a few key contests to determine which of the handful of heavyweights is left out of the playoffs.
How about a draft? I bet that would work. Of course, college football would have to acquire some kind of legal protection or it couldn't happen; an agreement with a players union would do it. Maybe college football needs a player's union more than its players need a union. Recruiting is the problem. It's the reason for the divide between the haves and the have-nots. The cheating is outrageous.
Braden from Milwaukee, WI
So, you've notoriously given (bleep) to Packers fans for having a Super Bowl or bust mentality, saying it's unfair and leaves a fan disappointed. I come saying I'm excited to watch the team with no expectations and essentially ask what should I expect/ look for from a team that hasn't had a new head coach/staff and GM in over a decade. You come back with a smart (bleep) answer that it's Super Bowl or bust. I'm all for sarcastic and smart (bleep) comments to stupid questions. I guess I didn't feel my question fell in that category. Thanks for taking me as seriously as I take you.
I apologize, Braden. Vic to Braden: If you're excited to watch a team with no expectations, why have any?
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, how long is a new head coach given to prove himself by the fans?
If the fans are dissatisfied after year three, he must be fired.
Bill from Sheboygan, WI
Bag of poop? I like that.
I was just trying to capture the spirit of the thing.
Chris from Winston-Salem, NC
What’s your take on the current Florida/Georgia rivalry? It is said Smart is a great recruiter but a so-so coach, and Mullen is a so-so recruiter but a great developer of talent and play-caller. Thoughts?
Georgia is competing for a national title. Florida will lose at South Carolina this year.
John from Jacksonville Beach, FL
What are your thoughts on Neil O’Donnell? He played pretty well at times in his career. I miss quarterbacks like him; not everyone has to throw for 5,000 yards.
I think Neil made a mistake going to the Jets. The Steelers were perfect for him. Run the ball, convert third down, manage the game and play to the strength of a very good defense. Kordell Stewart would've made Neil even more effective because Stewart would've helped convert third down. I spoke to Neil a few times while covering games in Nashville, where his career ended. I always liked him. He was smart and tough.
Adam from Chicago, IL
I was taking a look at the Packers cap this year and was appalled to see Za'darius Smith with the second-highest cap hit of the entire team. This is what Packers fans wanted?
Fans want to win and they want to win now. They don't care much about the cap and they care even less about the franchise's bottom line. If fans were allowed to run the team, it would be capped out and in debt within a few years, and losing. A pro football franchise doesn't run on emotion.
Ben from Hilo, HI
Vic, my boss is in town this week for the Edisto Invitational Billfish Tournament. Any recommendations for him if he gets some time away from the tournament?
Other than enjoy the beach, the natural beauty or play golf, I can't offer a suggestion. We have neither a hotel nor a traffic light. There's one road in and the same road out. There are no fast food joints and our most popular restaurant has his and hers outhouses. I love this place.
Jason from Austin, TX
Vic, I imagine most of the time the reporter approaches a player and asks him to do a one-on-one interview. How often does a coach or player approach the reporter so they can clear the air or set a tone?
It happens. I can remember being in the locker room and getting the look that said "I have something to tell you." I've had coaches take me aside and educate me. That kind of stuff happened a lot less often late in my career and that's when I realized the game had changed for me. Chuck Noll didn't like a game with a graduating class every year and I didn't like a game that was separating the media from the players and coaches more every year.
Justin from Delray Beach, FL
Two clubs at a time or the same two clubs?
Always different clubs. Yesterday, it was driver and four iron. Our driving range is on the honor system; five dollars a bucket, just slide the money through the pay slot.
Brandon from St. Paul, MN
I couldn't help but notice there weren't any Packers in your list of go-to guys. Why is that?
Ted Thompson discouraged his players from getting too close to the media. I think it's that way in most franchises now; the media is feared. I was raised on the five o'clock club and the PR mantra "write anything you want, just spell the name right." I'm blessed to have covered the game when I did. A piece of paper with the players' names and their dormitory room numbers was taped to the press room wall, and reporters were encouraged to seek player interviews as they wished. Between the morning and afternoon practices, I'd begin knocking on doors. If I did that today, I'd be escorted out of the dorm by security.
Nick from Owego, NY
Who is/was the most punishing runner you've seen.
It's Earl Campbell. I watched "A Football Life" show featuring Earl on Tuesday. That was the game and the guys I loved.
John from Topeka, KS
Vic, I was wondering what it was like pumping gas in the temperatures there, but then I figured the better question is how much fuel do you actually use anymore? I bet the mileage in the kayak is pretty good.
The last time I filled up was on June 25, which was the last time I was off the island. Need to buy a pair of underwear? Go to Amazon and they'll hang it on your door knob. Last week, I was at the driving range when an emergency vehicle arrived and asked me to stop hitting balls for a while because a helicopter was coming to pick up someone. I couldn't help but think back a few years when I was the guy getting the ride. I have helicopter insurance now, so I have that going for me, which is nice.
John from Garnet Valley, PA
The passing of Jim Bouton led me to reflect on watershed insider sports books like Ball Four. Do you think there was a football equivalent. Instant Replay, perhaps? Thoughts on About Three Bricks Shy of a Load?
Yeah, Instant Replay, Paper Lion, Even Big Guys Cry. Three Bricks was special because Roy Blount is an especially good writer. Football doesn't make for great movies, but I think it's the best sport for writing.
Dave from Savage, MN
Still the coolest thing ever. Where were you?
Are you referring to the evening of July 20, 1969? I was playing a baseball game. I got home just in time to see the moon landing. It's the greatest sense of pride I have ever felt for my country. War doesn't do it for me. One of the history-type channels has been airing shows commemorating the moon landing. They've brought back great memories and a tear to my eye. "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" are great words, much better than the words dominating the news this week.