Andrew from Jacksonville, FL
"By and large, football is being played by the poor for the entertainment of the rich." There is a lot of wisdom on this site, but that insight is the first one in a while that stopped me in my tracks, jaw dropped. Should watching football leave a sour taste in our mouths? Does the ethical football fan exist?
It is what it is. It's a tough game for tough guys and, by and large, the game is too physically demanding for the mainstream of our culture to master. The mainstream is too soft. Mothers and fathers fear injury. The majority of the players in the game are products of backgrounds that match football in desperation. The CTE scare that's diminishing the ranks of participation on the amateur level isn't hurting the game in terms of shrinking the talent pool, it's hurting the game by shrinking its future fan base. As young people turn away from playing football and turn toward playing soccer and lacrosse, they also turn away from being fans of football.
Stephen from Jacksonville, FL
What are your thoughts on the new Blake Bortles deal? How will his re-signing impact the Jaguars in free agency, the draft and whether or not they can contend for a Super Bowl next season?
The Bortles deal sends a strong message: He's not "The Man" but he'll do until "The Man" gets here. Bortles' acceptance of the contract also sends a strong message: He's going to continue his pursuit of becoming "The Man" and is willing to compete for the distinction. It's a good situation for the Jaguars as they head into free agency and the draft, and I think it says a lot about Bortles' integrity as a professional athlete.
Tom from Elkhorn, WI
I noticed your house is up on stilts and I'm sure many of them on the island are. What's the highest you have ever seen the water? Ever wish the stilts were higher?
They're more significant than stilts. They're pressure-treated pilings and thicker than telephone poles. They go down 30 feet into the ground and they are many. My house is 13 feet off the ground. Most of the homes have elevators; mine doesn't. Matthew and Irma each brought two feet of water under the house. I had a one-man hurricane party on my steps as I watched the water rise and then quickly recede. Once the power came back on, the cleanup began. It's how we live.
Zahir from London, UK
Tell us the story of that day back in January of 2016. Did you look at the stadium in your rearview? Did you smile knowing that would be the last time you pumped petrol in those temperatures? What route did you take home? Where did you stop for lunch? I want to know it all.
I stopped to take one more look at my office before I closed the door. At that point, all of the looks were forward. I went home, caught a few hours sleep and then pulled away from Green Bay in the middle of the night: Milwaukee, Chicago, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Lexington, Knoxville (stopped for dinner), a brutal snow storm through the Smokies, Asheville, Columbia, Walterboro, Edisto. I think I arrived at two in the morning. I went to bed, got up early the next day, took a cup of coffee out onto the front porch and said hello to retirement. It felt wonderful.
Tim from Sun Prairie, WI
Vic, your blog brightens my day; thank you for that. I humbly ask you to consider refraining from politics. You have every right to speak on political subjects. I'm pleading with you to abstain because political venom is everywhere and your blog is a sweet refuge from that. Also, people lose their minds in the comments section and all community is lost. Thanks again, Vic.
I'm going to decline your request because I answer questions I consider to be representative of the broad spectrum I receive. That's why I say the readers write the column. I want to adhere to that philosophy. As for the comments section, I am thoroughly impressed at how it evolved and used this platform to unite in thought.
John from Sioux Falls, SD
I value reading your column because it makes me think. I thank you for that. We all need our thinking challenged from time to time. Do you think a young GM like Gutekunst trusts his gut on the initial tough decisions he must make, or is he more likely to listen to his team of advisors?
I have no doubt Brian will trust and process all of the information provided to him by his scouts but, when he goes on the clock, it becomes his decision only and he'll be judged by it. He's made it to the top because of his ability to judge talent. It would be a mistake to let someone else make his picks. I gave an example of this not too long ago. It was an example of a young GM who wanted to be a consensus builder, so he trusted an opinion on LeSean McCoy that didn't reflect his own, and it was a mistake. I doubt Brian will make that mistake. I really like him and he would've been my choice for the job.
Dustin from Orlando, FL
Who is your hero and have you ever gotten to meet him or her?
I don't have a hero, but I have several people I admire and who've made major impacts on my life, including my father (the best newspaperman in the history of the world) and Chuck Noll (the most intelligent and measured man I've ever known).
Ben from El Paso, TX
Do you think football will become what boxing is today?
The NFL won't make the same pay-per-view mistake boxing did. I watched boxing as a kid. The Friday night fights TV show was the best thing boxing had going for it. Then boxing went pay-per-view with its big fights, the Friday night fights left the air and boxing was toast. it happened very quickly.
David from Capitol Heights, MD
Vic, as a journalist, why do you suppose some people don't actually like real journalism? Why is there a segment of the population that would choose to have their opinions parroted back at them rather than understand the truth?
The truth is opinion's greatest enemy.
Johan from Pembroke, ON
Vic, I'm interested if you think the train ever came for the Denver Broncos that won the Super Bowl a couple of years back.
The train had two engines: old players and a fat cap. The combination got them.
William from Salt Lake, UT
Two GOATs from opposite sides of the ball. Fourth and goal at the 2-yard line and a touchdown wins the game. Jim Brown against Lawrence Taylor. Who are you taking? Hey, it’s the off-season.
Cary from Sioux Falls, SD
Vic, just curious, what kind of music do you like to listen to?
I like a wide variety of music. I like the Drifters, Sam Cooke and beach music, the Italian masters (Sinatra, Bennett and Martin), the narcotics music of my college days (Grateful Dead, Moody Blues, etc.), Simon and Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, John Denver, George Benson and more. I'm not a connoisseur of music, but I know what I like when I hear it. I've recently been introduced to an even wider variety of artists, and I like everything I've heard. I've become especially fond of Randy Newman. I need a music mentor or valet. I need someone who knows what I like and matches it to what's out there. Clearly, there's a whole lot more out there than there was when I was young. Music is an explosive industry. I think it's a major threat to football's TV ratings.
Joe from Milwaukee, WI
Vic, I’m not alone when I say you have taught me many life lessons, free of charge. Researching your name, others share the same thoughts. Do you ever try and reflect on how many people you have impacted through your writing?
I hope it's the equal of the number of people who've impacted me. That's the goal, right? Take a bite and pass it on; that's what I try to do with this column.
Michal from Sacramento, CA
Are there any crows in Edisto Beach?
You don't ever have to fight crows in Edisto, as you might going to a Jaguars game.
Sean from North Fond du Lac, WI
Vic, are you a fan of the Olympics? What's your favorite winter sport?
I haven't watched any of it. I respect the athletes and their dedication to their disciplines, but it all looks the same to me. Flying on skis and sled riding might as well be a series of instant replays.
Mike from North Hudson, WI
In review of the Packers roster, it's clear the No. 1 need is for pass rushers. With the current number of draft picks and salary cap, how aggressive would GM Vic be to achieve this?
GM Vic would sit tight at 14 and pick. Drafting pass rushers is even riskier than drafting quarterbacks. The Packers have multiple needs. They are not one player away.
Daniel from Richmond, TX
Vic, are there any good thumpers in this draft class?
I like Jason Cabinda. He reminds me of NaVorro Bowman.
Billy from Tuscaloosa, AL
How do you establish the run in your everyday life? And how has it changed compared to years past?
Biking and kayaking are the run. Riding around in a golf cart and hitting a ball, followed by time in the grill room, is the pass. I bike and/or kayak every day; golf is something I do on special days. In the past, going to work was the run and everything else was the pass. A balanced life needs more run than pass.