"Ask Vic" is published on M-W-F through the regular season.
Chris from Bozeman, MT
Curious why you rarely speak of Bill Cowher? Seems like he’d be your kind of guy. Lots of ink for Noll, even some for Tomlin.
I only covered Coach Cowher for three years before I went to Jacksonville. I think Bill is one of the most underrated and underappreciated strategists in NFL history. He has an amazing record when leading by 10 or more points to begin the fourth quarter. I did a video with him when I was in Green Bay. If you can find it, you might enjoy it.
John from Brookfield, WI
What's wrong with the team in Kansas City? How do they fix it?
They're soft. That's a trademark of Andy Reid's teams. How do you fix it? Change it. Soft doesn't even feel good when you win the Super Bowl.
Rob from Superior, WI
Did we learn anything or do we wait for Thursday night?
We wait. Thursday night will give us a feel for what the Packers are. It won't be definitive, but we'll get a sense of what this team might achieve.
Greg from Danbury, CT
The Packers lost time of possession, couldn’t rush and couldn't defend the rush. Somehow, they managed to win. What does Coach LaFleur -- excuse me, Coach Rodgers -- emphasize in a short week?
Hyrdration. The Packers must hydrate.
Douglas from Binghamton, NY
What is the worst fan base in pro football?
It's Atlanta. A market that size and that rabid about football should not underperform the way it has. One day, pro football is going to capture the heartbeat of that market, and then look out.
Anthony from Jamestown, ND
Vic, is there a distinction between cover two and Tampa two?
The linebackers take a deep drop in Tampa two. Tony Dungy played for Bud Carson, the father of cover two. Tony took it to Tampa when he was the coach of the Bucs and he added a wrinkle on passing downs. He made a point of acknowledging Bud as the creator of cover two and minimizing the wrinkle. Tampa two had a good sound to it.
Dalton from Medford, WI
Seems as though the Packers' incredible streak of good luck continues. I can't tell if Heinecke is brave or dumb.
He didn't know the rule on diving head first.
Bruce from San Antonio, TX
I thought Matt LaFleur was hired to be the head coach. He’s doing more cheerleading trying to get the crowd fired up and fist-pumping the players than being the man in charge. I find it hard to respect him as the head coach. I never witnessed Lombardi or even Chuck Noll trying to entice the fans into making noise or trying to be a friend of the players. LaFleur is a coordinator, not a head coach.
I'm not a fan of coaches coaching the crowd, but you're being ridiculously harsh on Coach LaFleur. As far as "even Chuck Noll," Lombardi was more likely to do a striptease than Noll cheerlead the crowd. Chuck is the most reserved and measured person I have ever known. His wife, Marianne, said she once asked Chuck why he never told her he loved her. She said he said, "I told you when I married you I love you. I'll let you know if that changes." I have no doubt he said it with a smile. Chuck played for Paul Brown, who wasn't one for heaping praise on his players. "I pay you to do it right. I'll tell you when you do it wrong," Brown said.
Justin from Delavan, WI
I'm stunned at how different the Chiefs are this year. I planned to ask you if the Chiefs made the mistake of not having young jars on the shelf, but decided to investigate. Sure enough, the Chiefs picked only two tackles and one guard in the draft since 2016. None between 2017-19. Once again, your wisdom prevails.
Gotta get the big guys.
Jon from Green Bay, WI
Uniforms were fantastic.
They looked like janitors. If you're gonna do it, do it. Get wild!
Eric from Raeford, NC
Does modern football still bring you joy?
Yes, it does. What we're currently experiencing isn't new. Prior to the emergence of bump-and-run coverage, pass attempts and points increased yearly. I'm talking about those early years of the AFL. The 1962 Packers, a team dedicated to running the ball, averaged nearly 30 points a game, and pass attempts increased throughout the '60's, until topping out in 1970. Then everything changed and I think it was the result of Lem Barney's impact. Everybody, including the AFL teams joining the NFL in the merger, were playing bump-and-run coverage. Pass attempts and points declined dramatically. The Dolphins threw only seven passes in winning Super Bowl VIII 24-7, and the Steelers won Super Bowl IX 16-6 and threw only 14 passes. My point is this: Throughout my life watching football, I've seen the personality of the game see-saw. There are only two things you can do with the ball, run or pass. I enjoy both. Will we see another run-the-ball era? If defenses overplay the pass, we might.
Kevin from Janesville, WI
What era do you view as the golden age of football and why?
The golden age began on Dec. 23, 1972, and we're still in it. I've written on this subject several times. That was the day of the "Immaculate Reception" and the Cowboys' fourth-quarter rally to beat the 49ers, and I believe it was over that long Christmas weekend football became America's favorite pastime. It has grown into an obsession, and I don't see it changing.
Bill from Pittsburgh, PA
With the Steelers struggling to run the ball the past few seasons, I can't help but think back to the days of Chuck Noll's trapping system and the success they had with it. Is that a system that could work in today's NFL?
Teams still trap and pull, but not with the emphasis Coach Noll's teams did. Walling up and moving laterally is the new rage. It's a good scheme. The runner cuts back behind it and if the backside of the defense doesn't stay home, it's Katy bar the door, as my high school coach was fond of saying. What does a trapping system require? Smaller, quicker guards and centers. Today's penetrate-and-disrupt defensive schemes invite trapping, but smaller and quicker interior linemen would get bull-rushed in pass-blocking and coaches aren't going to invite injury to their quarterback.
Steven from Jacksonville, FL
What’s the thing about retirement that surprised you the most?
I didn't think it would be this wonderful.
Sal from Mullica Hill, NJ
Philadelphia fans are great fans but get a bad name for that one incident. I'm not condoning throwing snowballs at Santa, but let's not condemn an entire fan base for a singular action that happened 50 years ago. Curious, do you have any good stories about old Veterans Stadium?
I made a stupid mistake late one night after covering a Pirates-Phillies game. It was after filing my story so it was long after everyone was gone from the ballpark. I walked out of the stadium, saw in the distance the Hilton Hotel where I was staying and began walking through the dark parking lot in a straight line toward the hotel. What I didn't realize was the parking lot had a fence around it. I was standing directly across from the hotel when stupidity got the better of me; it's a common theme. Instead of walking back to the stadium and exiting as an intelligent person would, I began to climb the fence, typewriter in tow. I also didn't realize the sidewalk was considerably lower than the level of the parking lot. I made a thud but I saved the typewriter.
Tom from Mt. Juliet, TN
Have you played any tracks in Myrtle Beach? If so, which one did you enjoy most?
In central Myrtle Beach, Grande Dunes or Heathland. In the north, Thistle or Tidewater. In the south, Caledonia.
Darren from Brisbane, Australia
They've got to stick with the name Washington Football Team now, right? It's so unique it works.
Yeah, but it could limit marketing potential.
Scott from Melbourne, Australia
I'm interested in your perspective on the role of journalists, fans and the sport. Say there's an important issue that, if reported comprehensively, could meaningfully damage the reputation of many people and the sport itself. This may lead to decreased interest/investment, slow the gravy train and ultimately threaten journalists' own livelihood. Head injuries and PEDs come to mind as issues that were/are downplayed by a collective refusal to confront inconvenient truths. In your opinion, who shoulders the responsibility?
It's the responsibility of media with the assets and capability to investigate and verify those kinds of issues to report those issues.
Michael from Plano, TX
With Dallas playing so well, it brings up a lot of talk about their last Super Bowl, in which they beat Pittsburgh. After the butterflies wore off, Pittsburgh was dominant; bad start. Anyway, have we ever gotten confirmation as to who was at fault for those two infamous interceptions? It seemed pretty clear Pitt was going to win that game.
The interception that sealed the Steelers' fate was the result of the receiver turning the wrong way.