Today’s column begins a twice-a-week “Ask Vic.” I’ll post columns on Mondays and Thursdays, and as the volume of questions increase, so will the number of days this column is posted. Simply put, I hate wasting good questions. That’s why I’ve always contended the reader writes this column. So, let’s see what the reader has written for today.
Tom from Pine River, WI
I truly believe if TV cameras focused on the flag during our national anthem instead of players on the sidelines (and fans in the stands), no one would ever have noticed Colin Kaepernick. Now it's become our country's biggest stage for protest. Our need for constant entertainment is the real issue, in my opinion.
The media doesn’t hide the news, it reports the news. In my opinion, it’s what makes our country great. Kaepernick has done us a service, at a great cost to him. He has made us think.
Gary from Murietta, CA
Vic, you stated you were angry about the protest issue. As a veteran, I appreciate your comment about the first amendment, which I totally support. I'm not happy the players have chosen to use the national anthem as their soapbox. I believe that is what is hurting their cause and message the most. Now the commissioner is asking them to stand, and the owners may create a rule requiring them to. Where do you see this divisive issue going, and for how long?
I’m not an attorney, so I asked my friend, a southern-justice judge who considers spitting on the sidewalk to be the limit of peaceful protest, what his thoughts are on this subject. He said there isn’t a court in the land that’ll rule against first amendment rights. I respect the commissioner’s appeal, and I agree with it. I also think the owners should be very, very careful in how far they take this. If they end up in court, they will lose, or we will all lose. I think they should ask themselves: Do we really want to draw battle lines against players with whom we will be attempting to negotiate a new CBA in a few years?
Kenny from Anderson, IN
I'm so glad Vito shared your new column. This year, more than ever, I wanted to hear your thoughts. Thank you for sharing them with us.
There is no sportswriter I respect more than Vito Stellino. You can find him in two places: the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and at vitostellino.com. I love his blog. Vito was covering the Steelers as a veteran reporter when I was a young reporter trying to find my way. I watched Vito closely; I still do.
Karl from Albuquerque, NM
Vic, since retiring, do you think you will ever go watch a pro football game as a fan in the stands. I don't think it would be easy to do.
I went to a sports bar during a bye week a few years ago. It was an awful experience. The people were insufferable. It really bothered me, and that’s when I began my campaign for fans to seek the proper perspective. I can tell you taunting fellow patrons in a sports bar is not the proper perspective. I prefer the press box because I enjoy civility.
Duval from Jacksonville, FL
When are you coming back to Jacksonville? We’ll welcome you back with open arms.
After Coach Noll retired, he was asked when he was coming back to visit. He said, “Cast no shadows.” Be that as it may, I watch with great interest what the Jaguars do.
Tim from Jacksonville, FL
Now that you're not affiliated with a team, can you redeem yourself and post a power ranking with the asterisk?
1. Chiefs – Why did they draft a quarterback? 2. Falcons – I’ll overlook that loss to Buffalo. 3. Packers – Best quarterback in the game. 4. Eagles – Team on the rise. 5. Panthers – Newton rose above his critics. 6. *Patriots – They still have Brady. 7. Broncos – Cap beaters. 8. Lions – Better than their record. 9. Jaguars – I’m partial. 10. Bills – Play hard but not for real. 11. Steelers – Fate is in Big Ben’s hands. 12. Ravens – Not much here to see. 13. Bengals – Don’t count them out. 14. Raiders – Not a contender without Carr. 15. Seahawks – Yesterday’s team. 16. Saints – I see some things I like. 17. Rams – Who are you? 18. Jets – Not for long. 19. Bucs – Arrow pointing up. 20. Texans – Losing Watt hurts. 21. Titans – Any time, now. 22. Redskins – Middle of the road. 23. Cowboys – Terrible defense. 24. Vikings – Terrible offense. 25. Dolphins – I’ve barely noticed. 26. Colts – Will Luck ever recover? 27. Chargers – Could make a move. 28. Cardinals – Greatly disappointing. 29. Bears – They better hope Trubisky is the guy. 30. 49ers – Long way to go. 31. Giants – Rebuilding has begun. 32. Browns – A quarterback would make all the difference. * Cheated in many games but none this year, we think.
Sam from Jacksonville, FL
Do you think the Jaguars can continue winning despite not having “The Man?”
Yeah, but where are they going without him?
Dustin from Orlando, FL
Do you still read every question sent in?
Every one of them.
Evan from Rochester, NY
The other day you mentioned Rodgers needs two more Super Bowls to cement his legacy. My question is do you think he will get them?
Yes, if one of them is this season. The years are beginning to pile up.
Andrew from St. Augustine, FL
Those oaks off the porch sure look familiarly peaceful. What do you think of these millennial players compared to football players you have covered over your career?
They’re bigger, stronger, faster, but not as tough.
Jeff from Chatsworth, CA
When people talk about the NFL Mount Rushmore, why does Teddy Roosevelt never make the list? He is the reason football is even still played.
His impact was mostly on college football. He invented the NCAA. Teddy, please come back, we need another invention.
Ronnie from Jacksonville, FL
It's been a while since I've read your column and I find out you retired to the beach? The beach? Back in Jax, you made me fall in love with the idea of finding my mountain, which I did; it is near Max Patch, NC. What happened to your mountain?
I found it at sea level.
Tony from Colorado Springs, CO
You've mentioned previously that when watching the 2007 preseason game against Jacksonville, you knew Rodgers was ready. What made you think that? Have you ever called it so well on other players? How about any big misses you've had on thinking a player was going to be the next big thing?
Rodgers made it look easy. That was the tip. I missed on Chad Henne.
Bill from Edisto Beach, SC
It was announced viewership for the Packers-Cowboys game was down 14 percent from last year. Some say anthem issue. Others say safety issues. What do you say is the cause?
Ratings were down seven percent in the first four weeks of last season. It’s just a trend. There are so many games on TV fans don’t feel compelled to see them all. As evidence, “Sunday Ticket” is great if you want to see the games nobody else wants to see. Don’t think pro football’s arrow is pointing down. America couldn’t live without it. College football? I watch too much of it. The majority of games are a waste of time.
Randy from Aurora, CO
Welcome back, Vic. Good to hear your opinions again. Can the Packers afford to keep Davante Adams? Love how he plays and glad he came out of that hit with no serious issues. But like you've said, you can't keep them all. He likely will command big money the way he has played the last couple of years. They already have Nelsen and Cobb making $10 million per year.
Young players on the rise always win out.
Gavin from Saint Paul, MN
What was your relationship like with former Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writer Bob McGinn? I always saw him as sort of the antithesis to your reporting style.
There’s no better reporter than Bob.
Andrew from Grand Cayman
Just back from first-ever trip to Dallas. Is Jerry’s World (mega TV screens, roof and glass walls, 20,000 fans standing, etc.) the model for future NFL stadiums, or just a Texas-sized outlier?
It’s the exception. It’s an event stadium. I think the future is for smaller, more intimate stadiums. I believe we’ve hit the saturation point in stadium size. TV continues to be the future of pro football. I see the few paying much so the many can watch for free.
Luke from Aiken, SC
Grits or hashbrowns?
I try not to eat grits in restaurants because they put milk in them, and milk doesn’t agree with me. I make my grits in water and prefer them to hashbrowns, but one of the restaurants near where I live serves hashbrowns on a bed of green peppers and onions. That’s a different ballgame.