"Ask Vic" will publish on Mondays and Thursdays through the offseason.
Mike from Kalamazoo, MI
A few years ago, you answered a question about what makes you comfortable and/or happy. Your answer was “I like when the bills are paid." My youngest son just graduated from high school and will be off to college in a couple of months. The quieter the house gets, the more I think of the accuracy of that answer. Thank you.
Money can't buy happiness, but I'm happy when I have more of it than I need.
David from Fleetwood, PA
Who would be at the top of your list of all-time greatest Packers? Where would Rodgers be on your list?
In my opinion, Starr is No. 1 and Lombardi is No. 2. Then it's Favre and Rodgers or Rodgers and Favre; take your pick. No. 5 is up for grabs. Hutson? White?
Gregory from Milwaukee, WI
Vic, in the 20th century, the title of Greatest Sportsman was bestowed upon either Ruth, Ali or Jordan. Who do you think it is in the 21st century?
Brady is the obvious answer, as it stands right now, but by the time the century ends, the voters won't be old enough to have seen Brady play, and the tapes of his games will be comical looking to a generation of young fans who'll claim the athletes of their generation are bigger, stronger and faster, and Brady wouldn't have been able to play in that era. Sound familiar?
Ross from Milwaukee, WI
You've mentioned several times the head coach is responsible for setting the culture of the team. After the Chiefs lost to the Patriots in the AFC Championship, you mentioned Andy Reid teams have always been soft on defense. A few days after the loss, the Chiefs hired a new defensive coordinator. Is it possible for a coordinator to create a culture within their unit that offsets the culture coming from the head coach? Or do you think that as long as Andy Reid is the head coach, the Chiefs will be softer on the defensive side of the ball, regardless of who the defensive coordinator is?
Are you talking about Buddy Ryan? I think that's an exception and I don't think it's sustainable. The personality of the team is the result of the personality of the head coach. Chuck Noll and Vince Lombardi were offensive guys, but their defenses were dominant because Noll and Lombardi had tough-guy personalities and they focused a lot of their attention, which includes acquisition of top personnel, on the defensive side of the ball. Reid has always struck me as a play-caller who didn't want to be bothered by defense. One more thing: Noll and Lombardi played to the strength of their defense with the style of offense they played. They ran the ball, dominated time of possession and didn't leave their defenses with short fields to defend. Racehorse offense isn't a defense's friend. In my opinion, Reid is an offensive coordinator, not a head coach.
Alex from Shishmaref, AR
While covering football, did you enjoy traveling to away games, or did it grow to become a monotonous chore that disrupted your life at home? I've learned that some travel is fun but lots becomes tiresome.
Football travel is in on Saturday, out on Sunday, so it's not a big deal. When I was young, it was a chance to get away from crying babies and get a full night's sleep.
Bob from Green Bay, WI
Have sports become too important in some peoples' lives?
When sports becomes painful, it's too important in someone's life. Even the most passionate fan should be able to transition seamlessly from the conclusion of a game back into real life. If the opposite is true, you've lost perspective. Yes, I think a large segment of the population has lost perspective, as evidenced by the ridiculous reaction to the non-call in the Rams-Saints playoff game.
Neil from Cheddar, UK
If sports journalism had not worked out for you, which other specialism would have appealed to you?
I don't think I could've been successful at anything else. I'm fortunate to have come from a newspaper family. I owe everything to my father.
John from Sioux Falls, SD
Every season is a new chapter for every franchise. What are you looking forward to seeing from the Packers, Jags and Steelers this season? By the way, following you has allowed me to embrace leaguethink and be more interested in the other teams in the NFL universe. Thank you.
I'm looking forward to seeing how the Packers will turn the page. This is a big deal. They're transitioning from the second-winningest coach in their history to a young man with a limited coaching background. The Jags' season will be defined by Nick Foles. Did the Jags make the right decision in signing him? They could've drafted Haskins or Lock. For a franchise that passed on Roethlisberger and Rodgers, the Foles instead of Haskins/Lock issue is huge. The Steelers are plunging into a rebuilding phase. To what degree can Ben Roethlisberger soften the effects of roster turnover?
Paul from Hartland, WI
Vic, I've seen Marion Motley's name surface on your column a couple of times and really enjoy learning about special players like him I probably wouldn't know about otherwise. Can you share some names of other dominant players time has largely forgotten?
Hugh McElhenny, Tommy McDonald, Dick Bass, John Henry Johnson, Bobby Mitchell, Charlie Conerly, Cookie Gilchrist, Joe Schmidt and Bill George are just some of the names from my youth that immediately come to mind. They're great players with interesting stories. Dick Butkus? George created the middle linebacker position.
Sam from Tahunanui, New Zealand
You've lived and worked in at least four distinct communities. How have you been able to take the best elements from these places?
Growing up in Pittsburgh taught me to love football. It also taught me how to write about it. Jacksonville allowed me to find football in a new place and establish a new identity and new regard for the game and my career covering it. Most of all, Jacksonville launched me into a new career, website reporter. Green Bay allowed me to achieve perspective. It bookended my career and defined its worth. Living in South Carolina has allowed me to love professional football from afar. I've learned how to stay close to the game without being where the games are played. Thank you for your question.
David from Rochester, MN
You said "good teams still have a trademark, an identity on which they can rely." What is the Patriots' trademark and identity?
Execution. They do their job.
Justin from Athens, GA
It’s peach season, Vic. What’s your favorite way to eat a peach?
I like freestone peaches, which is a special kind of peach. It has to be ripe enough to "spit" the stone, but fresh enough to maintain the fruit's shape and consistency. I'm describing a peach from Chambersburg, Pa., which is famous for its peaches. South Carolina is No. 2 in the country in peach production.
Derek from Eau Claire, WI
How many pass attempts would be a healthy number for the Packers' offense this season?
I think a 60-40 pass-run ratio is perfect balance in today's game. I think it plays to the defense but still opens the playbook. The number of pass attempts, of course, will be dictated largely by the Packers defense. If the Packers can play from ahead, the number of pass attempts will be fewer than if the Packers have to play from behind. Balance is the real issue. Good offenses achieve balance. Good defenses allow for it to happen.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, Jordy Nelson is going to return to Green Bay on a one-day contract so he can retire as a Packer. Do many players take this kind of action? What does this communicate to you about Jordy, the Packers and the fans?
It tells me Jordy's career as a player is over and he's ready to embark on a career marketing his fame as a player. One-day contracts have become a common mareting tool. A one-day contract says "I'm done and I'm yours." Fans love it.