"Ask Vic" will publish on Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the football season.
Gabor from Budapest, Hungary
Vic, Rodgers' passer rating dropped significantly, meanwhile, Wilson's rose through the match. What were the reasons behind it?
Russell Wilson won the human confrontation. Real football is not a video game. It's a human confrontation with real-life human drama that tests a man's resolve. Wilson has crunch-time grit. He's proven it time and time again. He faced a deficit early in the game and led his offense on touchdown drives of 77, 70 and 75 yards, each time to take the lead, the last one being the game-winner. Then, needing to expire 4:11 from the clock to win the game, he carved out two first downs and won kneeling down. He wasn't the best quarterback on the field last night, but he had what it took to get it done. That's not something you analyze, it's something you appreciate and respect.
Brian from Red Wing, MN
In what was essentially a must-win game, what do you think about McCarthy’s decision to not go for it on fourth-and-2 and down by three in the fourth quarter with just over four minutes to go and only having one time out?
I would've been OK with whatever he decided; I could make a case for punting or going for it. He believed his defense would get the ball back. His defense let him down. Look at it this way: What had the Packers offense done to earn Mike McCarthy's confidence? They had scored 10 points in the last three quarters of the game, only three points in the second half.
Vincent from Seattle, WA
What did your eyes tell you about the Packers during the Seattle game?
They're finding young players. They're progressing faster than I expected.
Oscar from Orange County, CA
I understand one play does not define the game, but why didn’t the Packers coaching staff challenge Lockett’s catch?
They had plenty of time to review the play and discuss it, and it was obvious the ball came loose from the receiver's grasp and touched the ground. The Packers should've challenged the call. This is another example of why I have long believed the challenge process should be eliminated. Coaches should not be responsible for officiating the game, especially now that we have eyes in New York ruling on games being played 3,000 miles away. If the intent is to get it right, then stop the game and get it right. Last night, they got it wrong, and the impact of that play on this year's NFC playoffs race is greater than the infamous "Fail Mary" was on the 2012 season.
Dustin from Orlando, FL
I searched all of the Internet but could not find the meaning of “Kire Pire.” Could you enlighten me please?
It's Pittsburghese for Cowher Power. The Pittsburghese.com translator says it should be pronounced Cahr Pahr, but I think the translator has a sahside accent. I come from the norside.
Ben from Columbus, OH
Vic, are you still going to the Jags/Steelers game this weekend with it being moved out of the night time slot?
No, I was in Jax two weeks ago and on the way home I decided I didn't want to make this drive again just two weeks later. The spirit is willing but the body is not. Plus, it's Thanksgiving week and I've got to prepare the house for kith and kin. Drum roll!
Jonathan from Sun Prairie, WI
It seems the Packers can hang with anybody in the league but consistently fall one or two plays short. Do you think Green Bay looks like a team that could turn the corner and make a run (say, after a win in Minnesota)? Or more like a team that needs another draft or two to really compete?
We're going to know the answer to your question soon because the game in Minnesota is a true must win. The Packers' wild-card chances were on the line last night. In Minnesota, any chance the Packers have of winning the division will be at stake. I don't want to give up on this team too early -- I see reasons for hope -- but my expectations are built on patience and optimism for the future.
Dave from Franklin, WI
Vic, what has been the greatest disappointment in your career.
Nothing about my career has been a disappointment, unless you consider the outcomes of two games to be a personal disappointment. They would be the 1999 AFC title game and the 2014 NFC title game. My heart ached for the Jaguars and Packers fan bases. I had an AFC title game clock bearing the date Jan. 23, 2000, on my desk until not too long ago. It broke and I threw it away. It felt good to get rid of it. Because of the way the 2014 NFC title game ended, it was especially hurtful. I could feel Packers fans' pain. I didn't know what I could write to ease their hurt. The following day's "Ask Vic" was written in tear-stained ink. Nearly four years later, it still hurts. I'm sorry for you all. You didn't deserve what happened.
Wesley from Market Weighton, East Yorkshire
I like throwback uniforms, but I'd like to propose a change: Make both teams in a game throw back to appropriate era throwbacks.
I like that idea. I'd like the see the Steelers play the Eagles in Bobby Layne vs. Chuck Bednarik uniforms, which is to say a yellow helmet vs. the Eagles' old-green uniforms. I loved Washington's Norm Snead feather helmets, the Chargers' powder blues and the Rams' Roman Gabriel all-whites. The NFL needs to do more with throwbacks.
John from Austin, TX
Love the game? It's professional football. I thought it was always about the money.
Yes, it's about the money, but it's also play for pay, and you can't play if you don't love the game.
Jack from Jacksonville, FL
What's your prediction for the Jags-Steelers game this weekend?
The Jags own the Steelers. I predict a Jaguars win.
Robert from Dresden, Germany
Vic on the Packers-Seahawks game, 10/26: "I don't see anything especially daunting about the game in Seattle." 11/14: "This game is a daunting challenge for the Packers." What happened?
I watched the Seahawks lose to the Bears and they looked ordinary. Then I watched the Seahawks lose at home to the Rams and I thought they might've lost their homefield advantage, a fact that was confirmed two weeks later when they lost at home to the Chargers. Last Sunday, I watched them nearly beat the Rams and I thought to myself, "Uh, oh." The Seahawks didn't sneak up on the Rams, who were coming off a loss and ready to play against an opponent they don't like. The Seahawks ran the ball and played with an edge in that game. Teams change. Opinions change. The Packers caught the Seahawks at a bad time.
Josh from Dayton, OH
Vic, curious about your thoughts on Marrone and how much of the Jags' hapless five-game stretch reflects on him. Obviously, the blame isn't all on him, lots of things going on here, but just looking for your perspective.
Doug Marrone is a good coach who knows how to win. As the Jaguars were applauding themselves last season, Marrone understood his team was limited in what it could do and its margin for winning was very slim. He remained humble and focused; I thought he provided great leadership for a team that desperately needed it. He understood his team had to win by playing a particular way, and he coached his team to win in that specific way: attacking defense, conservative offense, hardnosed attitude. What's happened since then is Jalen Ramsey has destroyed much of the chemistry for winning the Jaguars built last season. His rants have become a distraction for the Jaguars and a motivator for opponents, and I get the sense Ramsey has infected his teammates. I kept waiting for Marrone to reel Ramsey in, but he never did. That's the only criticism I have of Marrone.
Dan from Grand Rapids, MI
Vic, why the negativity towards Le’Veon Bell wanting to be paid what he feels he is worth? I don’t understand the questioning of his love of the game. Every single NFL player is in the sport for the money. No one would play for free.
For free? How about for $14.5 million? How about for a contract his agent told him to sign, a contract the Steelers are lucky Bell didn't sign? I don't get it. Something's not right about all of this.
Nick from Owego, NY
Which player is your favorite to watch this season?
I love running backs and three of them jump out at me. Adrian Peterson, Todd Gurley and James Conner are my kinds of backs. Peterson is special; it's wonderful to see him running like he did in his prime. He's one of the few backs in NFL history I believe is worthy of being compared to Jim Brown. Gurley is a true downhill runner, and when those guys break the line of scrimmage in full stride, defensive backs begin looking for ways to hide. He's a stylish runner. Conner is not only a heartwarming story for a cancer survivor, which I am, he's a delight to watch run through tacklers with his upper legs and hips. He's pure power as a runner, but he catches the ball with the grace of a wide receiver. Quarterbacks are the stars of today's game, but I still believe running backs define the game.
Richard from St. Augustine, FL
What is your recollection of the early Steelers-Jaguars rivalry, in light of stories of a groin kick and a mystery phone call?
I remember the heat in Jacksonville causing Chad Brown to pass out in the huddle and fall face-first to the ground. That was in the first-ever game between the two teams, in 1995. I remember the Jaguars and Steelers playing arguably the best two-game season series I've ever seen. It was in 1997 and both games ended on a touchdown. Mystery call? Oh, yeah, I remember the mystery call. It was in '97. The Jaguars claimed Jim Miller, who had been cut by the Steelers, before the Jaguars played the Steelers. The day after the game, the Jaguars cut him, which suggested Tom Coughlin had used Miller to acquire information about the Steelers. That's common practice nowadays, but back then it was considered dirty pool and I remember telling a then-member of the Jaguars personnel department cutting Miller will result in payback. Hey, I knew the Steelers; I covered them for 23 years. Early in the second game between the two teams, Keenan McCardell had to crawl on his hands and knees to the sideline following a play. No one knew what happened until we saw the replay. Away from the ball, Greg Lloyd decked McCardell with a vicious head shot. After the game, Lloyd accused McCardell of calling Lloyd's house and threatening his wife. It was a ridiculous accusation. I knew what it was all about, payback. It was a message. The Jaguars and Steelers had a true rivalry and it was great for Jacksonville, where pro football was new and in need of a flavorful rivalry. I hated to see the two teams part ways in realignment. I felt strongly Jacksonville could be to the AFC North what Miami is to the AFC East, which is to say a late-season retreat. Steelers fans came to Jacksonville in droves. They loved making that trip, and I began to sense a migration of Jaguars fans to Pittsburgh. The Colts, Texans and Titans are the Jaguars' new division rivals, but the Steelers will always be the Jaguars' true rival. Games against the Steelers represent the Jaguars franchise's finest hours, and some of mine, too.