Dustin from Jacksonville, FL

Which is a bigger benefit to getting a sack, the loss of yards and the down, or getting inside the QB’s head and letting him know you’re there?

If a sack lets you get inside a quarterback’s head, you were already there before the sack. For quarterbacks, football is first and foremost a game of courage.

Larry from New Richmond, WI

I love your column. My son has Cystic Fibrosis. Next time you pass Coach McCarthy, give him a high five for all he does. Great coach and a better man!

I think you just touched some people. Good.

Jason from Syracuse, NY

If I recall correctly, didn’t Jerry Kramer jump too soon on Starr’s sneak? Imagine what that penalty would have done had it been called.

That’s great. You just ruined the “Ice Bowl” for me.

Wayne from West Bend, WI

It seems the days of the old Black and Blue Division are over. Rarely will we see 7-6 final scores anymore. Why has the NFL changed the game so much?

The casual fan wants points and the NFL wants the casual fan.

Adam from Ixonia, WI

Just read an interview in which Jennings refused to use Rodgers’ name, instead calling him “the guy they have now.” It’s comments like this that reveal a player’s true colors. I’m glad he’s gone.

I’m sorry you feel that way because I know it hurts you to have to part with the love you felt for Greg Jennings. This is why I preach about football being an edge game. Don’t love the love, love the edge. If you do that, you won’t get hurt. I like what Jennings said. It lets me know football is still important to him. It lets me know he’s still competing and that’s what I “pay” to see on Sundays. All of a sudden, the two games against the Vikings this season have a little more edge to them, and I like that. Right away I think to myself, I hope Jennings makes himself available for at least one of the conference calls before that game. He’ll be the player we request; you can count on that. I love all of that, and I love the players that give that to me to witness and write. Love the edge. Without it, there’s no game.

Chris from Voorhout, The Netherlands

Vic, is the NFL in danger of overestimating its popularity and reach and thereby running the risk of damaging the perception of the game? Holding the Super Bowl in New York is almost saying it is about the show and appealing to people who don’t actually want to watch the football.

The NFL IS the game. Once upon a time, football was the college game. Now, football is the NFL. It’s nearly impossible to overestimate its popularity.

John from Lafayette, CA

Vic, I read “Ask Vic” daily and appreciate your humor and calling it like you see it. However, today I was disappointed and offended as a Catholic to read your response likening a sign given by Jesus Christ at Fatima to a Jim Thorpe punt.

As a graduate of the Catholic school system, and having already done the major penance of shining every shoe in the altar boy locker room for a disheveled appearance at 6 a.m. mass, I’m sure it will please you that I am steeped in the art of self-loathing and already consumed by regret.

Chris from Andrews, TX

I was reading your answer about Super Bowl games not being above the weather line. Have football fans lost their love for the cold-weather games? Some of the most memorable games are cold-weather games.

I love cold-weather games, as long as they don’t turn the heat up too high in the press box. I hate it when it gets stuffy in there.

Justin from Blair, NE

Vic, Brett Goode has been our long snapper for five years and I believe he’s very good at it. Would the Packers ever consider having a lineman long snap and play on the line? You would lose the specialization but gain an extra roster spot.

The last guy I covered that did that is Dave Widell. Mike Webster did it, too, and they were both very good at it. The problem is practice. If your center is your long-snapper, then who’s working with the specialists when the long-snapper is working with the offense?

Dan from Saint Peters, MO

Lots of talk lately about sports writers, with mentions of Dan Jenkins. Being in my 30’s, I only really know him from his Golf Digest tenure, when he gave us quotes like this from his 1986 Masters article: “If you want to put golf back on the front pages again and you don’t have a Bobby Jones or a Francis Ouimet handy, here’s what you do: You send an aging Jack Nicklaus out in the last round of the Masters and let him kill more foreigners than a general named Eisenhower.” I know that’s not a football question, but it’s more of a comment on how watered down sports writing has become. It’s now stats, not stories.

Those days are long gone. I wonder what Jenkins would’ve written about a Jim Thorpe punt.

Mark from Hilliard, OH

Vic, past vs. present players makes good conversation, but the game has changed radically over time. Still, in all, good players adjust and I expect that if Sayers, Ditka, Adderley or Robinson showed up at camp, there would be a place for them today.

Every one of those players would be a star in today’s game or in any day’s game. If Herb Adderley played in today’s pass-happy era, he’d be Darrelle Revis. Dave Robinson would be Lawrence Taylor. If Gale Sayers had played in an era when medical science knew how to repair knees, there’s no telling what he would’ve accomplished. He might be the greatest playmaker of all time. Mike Ditka was a two-way end and punter in college. He was so dominant, and he played against Ernie Davis and some of the kings of the game, that following a game against Army the Army coach sought out Ditka to tell him he was the greatest football player he had ever seen. Some of the players from yore wouldn’t fit in today’s game, just as some of the players in today’s game wouldn’t fit in past eras, but the true stars of the game can play in any era.

Jacob from Palembang, Indonesia

I think you hit on something with your rhetorical question about whether we really want to go back and see if the “Ice Bowl” touchdown was legit. People today want perfection. We want to know, for certain, that something was as good as it seemed.

You’re being way too kind. That’s not what we want. We want the controversy because controversy is entertaining. We don’t want the game to end because that’ll be the end of our entertainment. Come on, let’s tell it like it is.

Ryan from Minocqua, WI

Why do you think some people don’t like you?

I can’t figure it out. I think I’m great.

Don from Torrington, CT

It finally dawned on me; Cobb can do everything Jennings can do, plus more, and he’s younger and (for now) cheaper. Plus, it prevents the Vikings from developing a younger guy. I like it.

It’s a game of replacement.

Bill from Tea, SD

Vic, you may have hinted toward it in the past, but do you ever plan on writing a book? I'd love to read it; it would probably make my top 100 list.

I’d like to write something along those lines someday, but it wouldn’t be for the purpose of selling it, it would be for the purpose of leaving it. Maybe I’m being vain, but I don’t think that’s what it is. It’s just that I’ve enjoyed football for so long and I have such love and regard for the experiences the game has afforded, that I’d hate to see those experiences buried with me. I’d like to leave them behind for someone to read. I want them to live on. I’d also like to play some golf, so, we’ll see.

Brian from Shadyside, OH

Which head coach had the most successful/influential coaching tree in your opinion?

Paul Brown.

Travis from Plymouth, MN

What are your thoughts on my favorite quote from McCarthy? “I want to play as fast as we can, throw as many punches as we possibly can and beat you as bad as we can.”

I think those are the words of a truly offensive-minded coach. What I love most about those thoughts is that they come from Coach McCarthy’s soul. That’s how he really feels and it’s clearly reflected by his play calling.

Jay from Minneapolis, MN

Vic, I just started reading Lombardi’s book, “Run to Daylight.” On page 43 he says, “We try to make it as uncomplicated as we can, because I believe that if you block and tackle better than the other team and the breaks are even you’re going to win.”

That was then, when the game was first and foremost a running game. I don’t think blocking and tackling better than the other team will necessarily result in victory in today’s game. I think you can win today if you throw and catch better than the other team.

Bill from Raleigh, NC

Vic, love your work. Don’t you subconsciously become a big fan of your team because if they do well you get to cover a lot more meaningful games, maybe even the Super Bowl, and aren’t players in good moods more fun for you to talk to?

Yes to everything.

Brandon from Morris, IL

What is lame-duck coach syndrome?

It’s players lacking a sense of accountability because the coach is interim. He’s not really their coach because he’s not the guy who’ll decide their fate with the team. One of the most important qualities a coach can have is his ability to make his players be accountable for their performances. He must engender within them a feeling that he is the big boss and they must impress him or else.

Peter from Irvine, CA

Vic, as big a deal as Thorpe’s touchdown off his own kick may have been, was it a bigger deal than the fact that Carlisle snapped Pitt’s streak of 22 straight shutouts?

The 1910 Pitt team was undefeated and unscored upon. It outscored its opponents 282-0 and was generally considered to be the national champion, though there was no such designation back then. It was the most powerful team in the land. It would steal Pop Warner from Carlisle and go on to win eight national championships over a two-and-a-half decade period. It was, by and large, every bit the equivalent then of today’s Alabama team. Into that team’s house a year later, a collection of Native Americans coached by Warner and led by Jim Thorpe would travel and score a 17-0 win. This was not a low-profile event. Even back then, it was big. Imagine if this happened today. Imagine a football team from a school of Native Americans going to Alabama and shutting out the Crimson Tide.

Tony from San Diego, CA

I am only 24 but I have great respect for the older players. I can’t help but think it’s because I grew up watching old NFL Films every morning before school.

NFL Films had a strong and positive impact on the NFL’s rise to popularity. It was one of Pete Rozelle’s best decisions. Team highlight films became staples at community events and at social club meetings from poker parties to Holy Name Society meetings. All you had to do was call the local team and they were happy to send you a copy of their highlights. I can remember watching the nuns squirm as Bill Saul’s every other word was beeped out in an NFL Films venture that made Saul the first-ever NFL player to be wired for sound during a game. The kids were roaring with laughter. You don’t forget things like that because they touch something more than your analytical mind.

Trent from Clinton, UT

Vic, I just found out I leave for Air Force basic training on August 20. That means I’m going to miss the first six games of the season, not to mention dozens of “Ask Vic” columns.

We’ll be here for you when those most important weeks of your life are over. Good luck.


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