Nathan from Denver, CO

When did the spike play become a legal way to stop the clock, and what was it before?

I can’t find the exact year it began, but I believe it was in the ’80s. Prior to being able to stop the clock by spiking the ball, a quarterback had to throw an incomplete pass by making it appear as though he was attempting to complete a pass. The most common way to do that was by throwing the ball out of bounds over a receiver’s head. It would require a couple of more seconds to execute that play than it does to spike the ball.

Rob from Spring Lake, NJ

I’m a big proponent that every game affects a team’s ability to make the playoffs. The December loss may seem more important, but any loss counts the same. Not many people know “The Miracle in the Meadowlands” in 1978 caused the Packers to miss the playoffs. The victory the Eagles stole from the jaws of defeat vs. the Giants ended up giving the Eagles a final season record of 9-7 and the Packers ended up at 8-7-1. Having said that, the Packers were 6-1 after seven games; quite a dismal finish.

Yes, every win counts the same, but here’s my point: Win your first 13, lose your last three and see how that works for you. You’ll likely have homefield advantage for the playoffs, but you’ll go into the playoffs playing your worst football. That’s what happened to the 1996 Denver Broncos. They won 12 of their first 13 games, clinched homefield advantage for the playoffs, lost two of their final three games, went into the playoffs playing their worst football of the season, and then immediately lost in the playoffs to the Jaguars in the biggest upset in playoff history.

Matt from Winfield, IL

Who have been some of your favorite go-to players to get straight answers?

Joe Greene, Tony Boselli, Fred Taylor and Aaron Rodgers immediately come to mind. Terry Bradshaw was good for straight answers, but in a different way. He’d give you straight answers, and then he’d give the next guy different straight answers. It was great because everybody got a scoop.

Jacob from Houston, TX

If you could change the outcome of one football game in history, which would it be?

The NFC title game in Seattle this past January.

K.J. from Minneapolis, MN

Vic, which would you choose? 1) Being a playoff contender every year but never winning the Super Bowl. 2) Winning the Super Bowl once but most other years being outside of playoff contention.

Define most other years. If it means every year except the Super Bowl year, I don’t want it. The goal heading into every season is to be a playoff contender. Once you make it into the playoffs, the goal changes.

Corey from Allentown, PA

I’m an assistant coach for my local high school. I coach wide receivers and linebackers. What kinds of things would Coach Vic look for and emphasize for those positions at that level?

Teach your linebackers to sink their hips and strike the rising blow, and teach your wide receivers to look fast when they’re running slow. It’s what good route runners do. They know how to set up the move that’ll create separation from the defender.

Rick from Appleton, WI

Vic, Packers fans seem unusually impatient about the coming season. What are you seeing in your inbox?

What would a day be without worry? Now my inbox is worried about the turf at Lambeau Field, as a result of the Kenny Chesney concert. I went out and took a look. Don’t worry. Why are we so bored?

Jay from Sheboygan, WI

How much changes if the Packers lose to the Chiefs in Super Bowl I but still win Super Bowl II? Would it still be the Lombardi Trophy?

Yes, because he died. Nobody seems to be able to understand that it was Lombardi’s passing that was the impetus to the trophy being named in his honor. If he had lived to coach the Redskins another 10 years, the trophy might’ve been named for someone else. It was not going to be named for an active coach. Among the contenders, it was kind of first to die. Lombardi was the perfect choice. He was the greatest coach in history and he coached during and was largely responsible for the greatest explosion in popularity of the game in its history, and his passing was a sad event for all of football. It was a no-brainer.

Justin from Rochester, WI

The NFL is televising the entire Brady appeal hearing, during the “Dead Zone,” no less. Am I crazy for thinking the worst thing to come from “Deflategate” is going to be the NFL seeing just how much money they make off the whole ordeal?

There’s more at stake here than money. This is a big deal. It goes to justice and fan perception. It goes to precedent. It goes to competitive balance in the 2015 season. The irony is this: The NFL is covering an event it would otherwise like media to ignore, except the NFL owns NFL Network, which means the NFL is also media and can profit from covering the event.

Joseph from El Paso, TX

Vic, how good would Jimmy Garoppolo have to play in order to take Tom Brady’s job?

You’re banned.

Chad from Omaha, NE

Vic, I was watching the U.S. Women’s World Cup match and, after a red card, Colombia had to play down a player the rest of the game. Do you think the NFL should adopt this approach after an ejection; the offending team would have to play 10 vs. 11 the rest of the game?

No.

Alan from Sierra Vista, AZ

Vic, love your column! Read that Curtis Dvorak, the man behind Jaxson de Ville, retired. What’s your favorite Jaxson story?

I was writing a story on deadline in my office one day. I get testy when I’m on deadline. Curtis was riding the two-wheel scooter he used in his stunts up and down the hallway, and it would make an annoying whirling sound every time it went past my door. I got up, went to the door and yelled at him; he was dressed in his mascot costume, of course. “Hey, I’m trying to work in here,” I yelled. I went back to my desk, paused and said to myself, “I just yelled at a mascot. What’s wrong with me?”

Kyle from Saint Paul, MN

I loved “times out,” but the “NFL Rules Digest” clearly refers to “time outs.” You made me wish it were elsewise.

The NFL rulebook is a grammatical nightmare, but if people say it wrong long enough, the grammar police will give up trying. How about champ and chomp? When did chomp become a word? I don’t even use times out anymore. I just wanted to do it the right way for a change.

Randy from Sun Prairie, WI

You’re a guy who likes hitting. What did you think of ESPN's “Jacked Up!” segment when it was airing?

I didn’t like it because I don’t like the idea of celebrating another man suffering physical abuse. I think that kind of thing should be enjoyed quietly, respectfully. That’s how I’ve always done it.

Matt from Appleton, WI

In researching “the asterisk,” I stumbled across an article from a Jaguars fan in 2008. They had trouble not seeing you as a Steelers fan, too, so at least it’s not just us. At the end of the article, you had an approval rate of 95 percent, though, which is nice.

Here we go, Steelers, here we go!

Bubba from Pocatello, ID

Vic, which NFL team needs a uniform upgrade? My pick is any of the Florida teams. Miami’s new flying fish looks ridiculous.

If Shad Khan decided to take his yacht on a three-year vacation, and told me to run the Jaguars in his absence and I could do anything I wanted, I would wait for the time to expire on those uniforms and then I’d have a bonfire to say farewell to them and to welcome the Jaguars’ new uniforms, which would be the ones they wore when the franchise was born. Those uniforms were outstanding. They should’ve never been changed.

 

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